Making a Difference in the Tri-Valley

There are many ways to contribute to the community that you work or live in but sometimes it can be a challenge just seeking out the organizations you want to support. In Pleasanton, however, it's not hard to locate and support these groups, thanks in part to a special opportunity get acquainted with local community organizations in the area. "To promote the idea that people in the area can make a difference by choosing to participate in community service, we instated a local 'Make a Difference Day Festival' here in Pleasanton, where people can get to know local service organizations and those same organizations can get together to discuss projects that they can collaborate on," says Jerri Long, public information officer for the City of Pleasanton Unified School District. The festival itself happens on the fourth Saturday in October every year, but even if you missed this years' festival it's easy to find out about how you can make a difference in your community.

This years' Make a Difference Festival was held at the Pleasanton City Library between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 18, and featured dozens of booths that showcased local non-profit organizations and offered ways that individuals could volunteer. Nearly three dozen organizations were represented.

Visitors to the Festival had the opportunity to make a difference by bringing along items to donate to local charities that included toiletries, blankets and pillows, jackets and raingear, and art supplies. While some groups didn't have booths at the festival, they accepted a range of donated items. Groups seeking donated funds for their community service projects included Open Heart Kitchen, VNHELP, Leap for Liberia, and Assistance League of Amador Valley.

Information on services and volunteer projects was distributed by Family Night, Pleasanton Public Library, City of Pleasanton, Kiwanis Key Club, Abbie 4-H, Alameda County Home Composting, Community Resources for Independent Living, Citizens for a Caring Community, PUSD Barton Reading Tutors, Operation Dignity, Tri-Valley Cares, ValleyCare Health Library, Pleasanton Jaycees, Save Our Rights, Museum On Main Street, Green Dog Rangers, American Veterans' Coalition, and Volunteer Center of Alameda County.

While you'll have to wait until next year to attend the Make a Difference Day Festival, you can contact Jerri Long, public information officer for the City of Pleasanton Unified School District at 925-426-4304 or email her at to obtain information on how you can make a difference in your community.

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