National Make a Difference Day – Engaging Students in Service

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success. “

— Henry Ford

For those of you who do not know, National Make A Difference Day is a community service event held on the fourth Saturday in October every year. Since its initial founding, millions of people have united in a collaborative mission to improve the lives of others. Our students were eager to volunteer in their community and excited for the opportunity to give back.

On our National Make a Difference Day, we spent the day at the Salvation Army West Philadelphia Corps at the Corner of 55th and Arch. Run by Salvation Army Officers, Pastor Tony Lewis and Sister Laverna Lewis, they focus on engaging the surrounding area with everything from gardening to Martial Arts. As community leaders, their focus is to empower their neighbors through charitable sustainable services and counseling.

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With all of the events the Salvation Army holds, they really needed help cleaning and organizing their event spaces. The students and CCAs of Promise Corps at West Philadelphia High School were happy to help! We split up into groups to cover more ground: sweeping and mopping floors, dusting windows, wiping down tables, vacuuming the chapel, organizing the music and equipment room, and reorganizing a children’s reading corner.

We asked our students to reflect on the services that the Salvation Army gave and the community service they provided that day. Our discussion was very meaningful and even opened up another conversation about the National Service that we as Promise Corps members are completing. My student’s input was that, “People don’t always stay in Philadelphia but, I don’t mind staying here to help and show others that they can make a difference.” After hearing this I want to give more opportunities to the students to see how they can better their communities.

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– Kaitlin Dugan-Murrell, College and Career Ambassador at West Philadelphia High School

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