Pleasanton's annual Make a Difference Festival opens at 10 a.m. today

Annual festival event at Pleasanton Library offers opportunity to explore how everyone can help in community

More than two dozen nonprofit groups will set up booths in the community room of the library from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today for Pleasanton's annual Make a Difference for Day festival.

The event offers the public an opportunity to explore with interested adults, families and teenagers how everyone can offer their services to help others.

Some of the opportunities include helping prepare and serve meals to neighbors in need, tending public gardens and driving elderly neighbors to medical appointments. Others are comforting dogs and cats awaiting adoption, assisting someone in learning the English language or helping visitors learn about local history.

The event is produced by Make a Difference, Today & Always; the Pleasanton Public Library; the Community of Character Coalition and ACCUSPLIT Make A Difference Programs.

Visitors also will be encouraged to sign the 50/50 Pledge:

"I pledge to spend at least 50 hours in community service, and to spend 50 more hours with my family in the next year."

They can also sign the historic banner from the first local Make a Difference Festivals, which were sponsored in the 1990s by the Pleasanton Unified School District.

"We used to try to tie in with the national Make a Difference Day, which is held in October," recalled W. Ron Sutton, founder of Make a Difference, Today & Always. "But here in Pleasanton that date has long been reserved for the Foothill High School Band Review, so we changed to the date closest to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which has become a global service day."

"Also, we felt that people should make a commitment to community service on more than one day per year. That is why we came up with the 50/50 Pledge and the slogan, 'Get Connected, Stay Connected,'" Sutton added.

For more information or an updated list of participants, go to

Make a difference

The following is a partial list of tomorrow's exhibitors who will be at the Make a Difference for Pleasanton Festival to talk about their volunteer opportunities:

* ACCUSPLIT Make A Difference Programs

* Alameda County CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates)

* Alviso Adobe Community Park

* Amador Valley Quilters -- Quilts of Valor Project

* Boy Scouts of America

* CityServe of the Tri-Valley

* Community of Character Coalition

* Hope Hospice


* Livermore-Amador Valley Garden Club

* Lynnewood United Methodist Church

* Make A Difference, Today & Always

* Museum On Main

* Open Heart Kitchen

* Paws in Need

* Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE)

* Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation

* Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley

* Special Olympics

* Sunflower Hill/Sunflower Gardens

* Tri-Valley Conservancy

* Tri-Valley Haven

* Tri-Valley Rotary Club

* Tri-Valley YMCA

* Valley Children's Museum

* Valley Humane Society

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