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‘Make a Difference Day’ service projects save JBSA thousands of dollars; now accepting applications

By Kali L. Seydo | JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Readiness | Sept. 10, 2018


In a single day, Joint Base San Antonio benefited from approximately $22,000 worth of volunteer service during the 2017 Make a Difference Day. Volunteers cleaned headstones as part of an historic preservation project at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery and gardened at the JBSA-Lackland Fisher House.


Last year, leadership and staff of the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Readiness Center had a goal of creating an appropriate space for parents with infants seeking family support and readiness services.


“We wanted to make the best use of limited resources, and Make a Difference Day provided the perfect opportunity,” said Frances Anderson, supervisory community readiness consultant. “With a small investment in furniture, some no-cost materials from U-Fix-It and the help of a great crew of volunteers, we transformed an unused office into a beautiful space for parents with infants. I'd estimate we saved at least 50 to 60 percent on what we would have paid a contractor. We had fun and are proud to offer an enhanced customer experience for parents with infants who need our services.”


Make a Difference Day is the nation’s largest single day of volunteerism. Millions of people come together with the common goal of investing in their personal community to help improve their own lives and the lives of others.


JBSA mission partners, units, agencies and organizations have the opportunity to save money and improve its members’ work lives by hosting a community service project for the 2018 event.


Participating organizations gain free support from volunteers, exposure and awareness of its service or mission, and build a stronger connected community by providing a platform to network, learn new skills, enhance resumes, collect volunteer hours and discover possible careers.


Projects can be skilled or unskilled, and organizations can describe the type of help that is needed. "Be creative and think outside the box," said Sally Gonzalez, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Military & Family Readiness volunteer coordinator. "If a unit is deploying, volunteers can create care packages. Projects may include anything from manual labor like landscaping to clerical work like entering data into spreadsheets. All ideas are welcomed."


With busy work weeks, volunteers can offer an extra hand to help complete projects or goals that always seem to move to the back of the priority list.


All JBSA entities are welcomed to submit projects. "We hope to have at least 12 service projects: four at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, four at JBSA-Lackland and four at JBSA-Randolph," Gonzalez said.


To host a community service project, brainstorm what tasks could be completed to benefit your organization and the JBSA community. Download the JBSA Organization Application form from http://www.jbsa.mil/Resources/Military-Family-Readiness/Volunteer-Resources and submit it to usaf.jbsa.502-abw.mbx.502-fss-volunteer@mail.mil by Sept. 28. There is no cost to host a service project.


Volunteers may view and select a service project beginning Oct. 5. JBSA is participating in Make a Difference Day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 27. Service projects are not required to last the entire eight hours. For more information or guidance, call 210-221-2705.