Make a Difference Day Saturday

More than 20 projects, from seeding flower beds and sprucing up graveyards to clearing debris from Marietta’s River Trail, organizing a book giveaway, and helping build a home, are on the agenda for Saturday’s Make A Difference Day in the Marietta area.

The national event, which takes place the fourth Saturday of October each year, encourages communities to work together on projects that help others.

Marietta Councilman Roger Kalter, who has participated in the local Make A Difference Days for many years, is helping coordinate three projects on Saturday.

“We have a major Marietta in Bloom project at the sandstone planter on Fort Harmar Drive near the brick entry sign to Marietta,” he said. “We’ll be putting in flowers and other vegetation there, and we’ll be working on four other planters located under the Washington Street Bridge near the Valley Gem.”

Another planting project will take place at the Campus Martius Museum on Second Street.

Kalter said volunteers will also meet at the Washington and Eighth streets entrance to Oak Grove Cemetery to do some gravestone cleaning, clearing of debris from drainage areas, and possibly rebuilding portions of the graveyard’s 150-year-old brick drains.

In addition, Kalter hopes to have a good turnout of Marietta College students from the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity to help clear and do some maintenance on about a half-mile segment of the city’s River Trail.

Anyone interested in helping with the projects mentioned above is welcome, but Kalter asks that they contact him prior to Saturday to get an idea of how many people can be expected at each of the sites. His home phone is 373-1784, or email

“Volunteers should wear closed-toed shoes, no flip-flops, and bring gloves and a bottle of water,” he said.

The Marietta College McDonough Center’s Office of Civic Engagement expects more than 300 volunteers to participate in this year’s Make A Difference Day.

“We’re projecting between 300 and 400 volunteers, a mix of students and community members, to take part in Make A Difference Day,” said office director Maribeth Saleem-Tanner.

She said as of Wednesday at least 200 students, including some from Marietta Middle School, members of the Marietta morning and noon Rotary clubs, and other community members had already committed to help on a variety of projects.

“Some are big, ‘public’ projects like the flower planting, and others are more helping behind-the-scenes, like a group of students helping update a database system or going to organize books for the upcoming book giveaway at Ely Chapman,” Saleem-Tanner said.

There are other ways community members and students can also participate if they’re unable to volunteer during the day, she added.

“For example, students will be set up with a table and baked goods at East Muskingum Park on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., taking donations of baby items (or money) to help stock the Community Resources Diaper Closet,” Saleem-Tanner said. “Another group will be at the Washington County Health Department’s Make A Difference Day for Autism event, which has family activities and a Chili Cook Off from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.”

While she hopes the turnout will be good for Saturday’s event, Saleem-Tanner said one reason for Make A Difference Day is to introduce people to volunteer opportunities in which they can participate all year long.

“Almost all of these organizations need volunteers throughout the year, not just on Make A Difference Day,” she said.