ServiceWorks Participants – AmeriCorps Members, Volunteers, Underserved Young Adults in 10 Cities – Join Make A Difference Day Service Events on Oct. 25

The nation’s largest day of doing good and caring for others sponsored by Gannett’s USA WEEKEND and Points of Light, with support from the Citi Foundation and the makers of Advil®

ATLANTA, Oct. 23, 2014 — ServiceWorks, a national college and career readiness program powered by AmeriCorps, the Citi Foundation and Points of Light, will join Gannett’s USA WEEKEND Magazine to participate in Make A Difference Day, the nation’s largest day of doing good for local communities on Sat. Oct. 25. ServiceWorks uses volunteer service as a strategy towards developing the college and career readiness of low-income youth, and is implemented in 10 cities nationwide. The program uses a service-based model to provide 21st century leadership skills to underserved young adults, age 16-24, to create inroads to college and careers. ServiceWorks participants, also known as Service Scholars, will lead and participate in service projects like Make A Difference Day as a part of the ServiceWorks curriculum to help build leadership and project management skills.

Service Scholars and AmeriCorps VISTAs will take part in a range of volunteer service activities for Make A Difference Day, representing the first occasion where ServiceWorks participants at all 11 sites nationwide will engage in service activities in their respective communities on one particular day. Planned ServiceWorks volunteer and community service activities around the country include:

  • Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative (Boston) – Volunteers will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s efforts by joining in a 3-5 mile walk together in hundreds of communities across the nation to prevent suicide, raise awareness, and end the stigma that surrounds depression and other mental disorders.
  • Casa Central (Chicago) – ServiceWorks participants will join in a park beautification and environmentalism day to engage 50-60 community members around Humboldt Park.
  • CitySquare (Dallas) – ServiceWorks AmeriCorps VISTAs will volunteer with Voice of Hope Fall Festival. 
  • Volunteer Center of North Texas (Dallas) – Service Scholars and AmeriCorps VISTAs will take part in a community gardening project to help the scholars learn about and get involved in harvesting and healthy eating.
  • CD Tech/Public Allies (Los Angeles) – Program participants will volunteer at a fall festival, leading activities including pumpkin carving, a costume drive, face painting and a raffle for an expected audience of approximately 200 community members.
  • Greater Miami Service Corps (Miami) – ServiceWorks participants at this site will collaborate with Children's Trust, Miami Children's Initiative and Bridges for a reading-themed day that aims to engage more than 200 participants.  Organizations and community members will donate books that will in turn be donated to the Children’s Trust for further distribution.
  • Jersey Cares (Newark, N.J.) – ServiceWorks volunteers will mobilized across two service sites including a beautification project at Earth Keepers in Newark where volunteers will support an environmental restoration project that will continue to beautify this local treasure by removing invasive species, clearing general debris and maintaining trails when needed. Volunteers will also lead a tree planting project at Tree Treasures in Newark.
  • The Door (New York) – Through collaboration with the Million Trees Stewardship Project, AmeriCorps VISTAs and Service Scholars will spend the day at Inwood Hill Park in Upper Manhattan clearing the forest of harmful and suppressive vegetation. Service Scholars will learn the importance of maintaining a healthy environment, even in big cities such as New York City. At a second service site, volunteers will work in the soup kitchen at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.
  • United Way of Greater St. Louis (St. Louis) – AmeriCorps VISTAs at this site are partnering with St. Louis University to participate in a range of opportunities including gardening, working with children, helping the elderly, and working at a local food bank. St. Louis University hosts a Make A Difference Day project annually, and engages several hundred people in organized projects across the city each year.
  • Public Allies San Francisco (San Francisco) – In partnership with the City of Richmond and Richmond Trees, volunteers will participate in a planting project contributing to the healthy urban canopy throughout the Richmond community. Public Allies and ServiceWorks will also join the Parchester Village neighborhood in rebuilding the community’s playground and providing a safe and positive play environment for families. 
  • Covenant House Washington (Washington, D.C.) – ServiceWorks participants will lead and participate in “Beyond Success,” a full-scale day of community service including toiletry kit assembly and local area clean-up activities. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn about resources and tools available to them through ServiceWorks and Covenant House. The event’s aim is to uplift young adults and community members so that they become change agents in their own lives.

“Make A Difference Day provides a unique opportunity for ServiceWorks program participants at all levels to engage in service to their local communities, while also underscoring the power of volunteerism and service to change lives and positively impact communities,” said Delores Morton, President of Programs for Points of Light. “Volunteer service is very much a part of the core mission of the ServiceWorks program, so we are excited that the AmeriCorps VISTAs and Service Scholars can take part in this day during their ServiceWorks experience.”

“The ServiceWorks program gives low-income young people the chance to engage with their community and develop crucial leadership skills that help lead to college and career success,” said Brandee McHale, Chief Operating Officer of the Citi Foundation. “As such, we are proud to support Make A Difference Day and give Service Scholars another opportunity to be part of a large-scale nationwide volunteer service effort.”

Beyond volunteer activities mobilized by ServiceWorks program participants, Points of Light will also be joined by the makers of Advil® for Make A Difference Day activities. Advil® Relief in Action will be a site sponsor at the Sandy Hook Beach Sweep location and support an expected 1,000 volunteers while they collect trash/debris from the surrounding beaches. The team will be handing out product samples, branded premiums, and will be inviting volunteers to share their stories and sign up for future efforts in the area.

Those looking to start a Make A Difference Day project or join an existing one can do so at makeadifferenceday.com. The site gathers plans from project leaders across the country detailing how they will help others on Oct. 25. The interactive database also allows visitors to search for events in their community. Toolkits, a marketing guide and other resources are available to help project planners.

Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is an international media and marketing solutions company that informs and engages more than 100 million people every month through its powerful network of broadcast, digital, mobile and publishing properties. Our portfolio of trusted brands offers marketers unmatched local-to-national reach and customizable, innovative marketing solutions across any platform. Gannett is committed to connecting people – and the companies who want to reach them – with their interests and communities. For more information, visit gannett.com.

USA WEEKEND Magazine is a national weekly magazine, distributed through nearly 800 newspapers in the United States. It created Make A Difference Day in 1992. Awarded for its journalism and design, USA WEEKEND focuses on social issues, entertainment, health, food and travel. USA WEEKEND is a Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) publication. For more information, visit usaweekend.com.

Points of Light is the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service – mobilizes millions of people to take action that is changing the world. Through affiliates in 250 cities and partnerships with thousands of nonprofits and corporations, Points of Light engages 4 million volunteers in 30 million hours of service each year. We bring the power of people where it’s needed most. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org.

ServiceWorks – powered by the Citi Foundation, AmeriCorps and Points of Light – is a groundbreaking, national program that uses structured volunteer service as the primary strategy to help 25,000 low-income youth and young adults in 10 cities develop the skills they need to prepare for college and careers. Over three years, the program will deploy 225 AmeriCorps members and engage youth, age 16-24, in service, while building a large-scale volunteer response to the crisis of low college and career attainment. For more information, go to www.pointsoflight.org/serviceworks.