SANTA CRUZ COUNTY — Volunteers across the county are invited to participate in Make a Difference Day 2017 on Oct. 28.

The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County, in partnership with fellow community organizations, is offering nine service projects throughout the county. Projects include revitalizing community spaces, beautifying neighborhoods, cleaning up local parks and providing support for special events.  

According to the Volunteer Center, Make a Difference Day is one of the largest days of national service in the United States, attracting millions of Americans to participate. Each year, 300-500 volunteers from Santa Cruz County volunteer for projects on this day. 

“Make a Difference Day provides an opportunity for us to connect with the parks and community programs we love,” said Volunteer Center Mobilization Coordinator Christina Thurston. “You can volunteer with your friends and family or join a project where you will meet new people. As we do each year we have incorporated a number of family-, teen- and senior-friendly projects to ensure that individuals of all ages can participate in the day.”

Teens in particular are invited to join with YouthServe and Neighborhood Pride for a Graffiti Paint-Out along the rail trail in Aptos from 10 a.m. to noon. 

“This project provides an excellent opportunity for teens to work with their peers in partnership with the community. We are excited to support a local project and provide valuable leadership skills to teens at the same time,” said YouthServe Program Coordinator Desiree Farnal. 

For those who want to get their hands dirty, four projects this year focus on local restoration opportunities. Volunteer activities will include painting, planting, weeding, trash pick up or removal of invasive species. Project sites include Evergreen Historical Cemetery, Fitz Wetland Center, the Museum of Natural History and Quail Hollow Ranch.   

Make a Difference Day project times and length vary throughout the day with most projects happening sometime between 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Individuals can register online now through Oct. 27 while space is available.

For information, visit or call Thurston at 427-5070. 

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