Make a Difference in the new year

Event next weekend presents 34 local volunteer opportunities

The Make a Difference for Pleasanton Festival has been an annual event since the 1990s to help residents become familiar with community organizations. (Photo by Michelle Suski)

If your New Year's resolution is to volunteer more, you are in luck.

Local volunteer opportunities can be explored all under one roof at the Make a Difference for Pleasanton Festival taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 13, in the community room at the library. "Get Connected and Stay Connected" is the theme of the day.

From helping puppies to preparing meals for those in need, volunteer opportunities will be shared by 34 Tri-Valley nonprofit organizations. Adults, families and teenagers can learn more about their community and how they can help -- including driving elderly neighbors to appointments, assisting newcomers in learning English, helping visitors learn about local history, and beautifying public gardens.

Help is also needed to organize Pleasanton's annual Special Olympics sporting events, and its volunteer chairman Ken Mano is a member of the Make a Difference committee.

"Last year we had 50 people sign up on the Special Olympics sheet, to volunteer for our basketball and track tournaments, which are held at Amador Valley High School in the spring," Mano said.

The Make a Difference in Pleasanton Festival is produced by Make a Difference, Today & Always, a registered nonprofit group.

"We used to try to tie in with the national Make A Difference Day, which is held in October, 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," said W. Ron Sutton, founder of Make A Difference, Today & Always.

Of course the January date makes it perfect for people pumped with their New Year's resolutions to do more to help others. Pledge cards will be available that state: "I pledge to spend at least 50 hours in community service, and to spend 50 more hours with my family in the next year."

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

The event is co-sponsored by the city of Pleasanton, the Community of Character Coalition, Tri-Valley Y, ACCUSPLIT Make a Difference Programs and Karlsson & Lane Accounting Services.

Originally the Pleasanton Unified School District was a key sponsor of the event, and visitors can sign the historic banner from the first festival in the 1990s.

For more information, visit To learn more about the groups who will be at the volunteer day, visit

Make a Difference exhibitors

ACCUSPLIT Make A Difference Programs

Alviso Adobe Community Park

Amador Valley Quilters -- Quilts of Valor Project

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

American Cancer Society -- Discovery Shop & Relay for Life

Asian-American Donor Program

Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs

Assistance League of Amador Valley

Axis Community Health

Boy Scouts of America

Child Care Links

City of Pleasanton -- Library & Community Services

Community of Character Coalition

Hope Hospice

Livermore-Amador Valley Garden Club

Lynnewood United Methodist Church

Museum On Main

Open Heart Kitchen

Paws in Need

Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council

Pleasanton Lions Club

Pleasanton North Rotary

Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE)

Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation

Senior Support Services of the Tri-Valley

Special Olympics

Spectrum Community Services

Stanford Health Care/Valley Care Auxiliary

Sunflower Hill/Sunflower Gardens

Tri-Valley Guide Dog Puppy Raisers

Tri-Valley Haven

Tri-Valley One-Stop Career Center

Valley Children's Museum


1 person likes this
Posted by Ken Mano
a resident of Willow West
on Jan 5, 2018 at 10:35 am

Thank you for the nicely written article, Thishas been a fun and very worthwhile event.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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