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AID PROJECTS WILL DOUBLE MAKE A DIFFERENCE DAY SET.

Byline: Sharon Cotal Staff Writer

SANTA CLARITA - The mentally disabled residents of LARC Ranch are living in spruced-up cottages, students at Newhall Elementary are plucking vegetables from their planter boxes and the horses at Carousel Ranch are being corralled by a new fence - all thanks to the volunteers who participated in last year's Make A Difference Day.

This year, the Santa Clarita Resource Center, in cooperation with the United Way and the city of Santa Clarita, will once again host the event, and will more than double their efforts by taking on 15 community projects, compared with last year's seven.

Residents who have always wanted to do something to help the community, but didn't know where to start, can join volunteers in communities across the nation Oct. 26 to make a difference.

``It's very rewarding and you can see what you have accomplished in one day,'' said Susana Campbell, volunteer coordinator for the city of Santa Clarita. ``It just feels really good to help, and to know that other groups are helping across the nation on the same day - that you're part of something bigger.''

Community groups that submitted proposals for Make A Difference Day had to meet certain criteria to be considered. The project must be ``hands-on'' with visible results in one day and must have a long-term, positive impact on the agency and the community.

This year's projects include painting and landscaping the home of a single mother of two children with disabilities for Single Mothers Outreach; restoring 30-year-old murals in the hallways at Newhall Elementary School; and painting fences around the ranch house and barnyard area at William S. Hart Park.

Opportunities for young children to volunteer are limited, but Campbell encourages families to help out with the painting at Hart Park, where any dripped paint will simply end up on the grass. If the fence is completed, the volunteers can also do some raking and general cleaning.

``It's right out in the middle of the park where there is a lot of traffic, so this will really brighten up the place,'' said Norm Phillips, regional park superintendent, of the fence, which has not been painted in four or five years.

Other opportunities for children include collecting used eyeglasses for the Pinetree School Eyeglass Drive, or collecting and delivering food to the Santa Clarita Food Pantry to help kick-start the pantry's holiday food drive.

Make A Difference Day is coming just in time for the Food Pantry, where a lack of donations has forced director Diane Quinlan to make food purchases in order to stock the shelves.

``We are at a very low spot. Our cupboards are bare right now,'' Quinlan said. ``This day is coming when we really need it.''

According to Campbell, about 300 volunteers are needed to complete all of the projects scheduled for Make A Difference Day. Volunteers make a commitment to stay on the job that day until it is completed.

``Last year everybody worked really hard and most projects were completed early,'' Campbell said. ``We were tired, but everybody felt really good about what we had accomplished.''

Volunteers must preregister and can do so by calling Campbell at (661) 286-4165.

PROJECTS FOR A DIFFERENCE

The following projects are scheduled for Make A Difference Day, Oct. 26:

--Collect and deliver food to the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry to kick- start the pantry's collections for the holidays.

--Paint and landscape the home of a single mother who has two children with disabilities for Single Mothers Outreach.

--Dismantle a horse corral and refurbish an office trailer at Carousel Ranch.

--Housecleaning of the offices at the Samuel Dixon Family Health Center as well as the Health on Wheels van.

--Clean toys and playground and do general landscaping at the Child and Family Center.

--Design and paint an ocean-scene mural for the Behavioral Health Unit at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital.

--Restore 30-year-old murals, clean walls and touch up paint at Newhall Elementary School.

--Paint the thrift store and business offices of the Domestic Violence Center.

--Scrub and paint the offices, shampoo rugs, install screen doors and ceiling fans, and collate booklets and presentation materials at the SCV Pregnancy Center.

--Prime and paint the interior walls of the Meadows YMCA Child Care Program modular unit.

--Paint the Adult Development Center building and classroom walls of LARC Ranch.

--Collect eyeglasses to be cleaned, repaired and delivered to underdeveloped nations through the Pinetree School Eyeglass Drive.

--Plant shrubs and plants in front of the Theatre Arts for Children Foundation.

--Build four raised garden beds, prepare soil for planting and create walkways at Wiley Canyon Elementary School.

--Prepare and paint fences around the ranch house and barnyard area at William S. Hart Park.

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PROJECTS FOR A DIFFERENCE (see text)
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 5, 2002
Words:795
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