Local schools, home schoolers, 4-H Clubs and others believe that children can make a difference in their community. National "Make A Difference Day," on Saturday, will give them the chance to prove it.
School grounds beautification is the focus at Inverness Middle School, where faculty, staff and pupils have formed teams to perform different projects and activities for Make a Difference Day.
On Saturday, the school Parent Teacher Student Association and the Dad's Club volunteers will construct an irrigation system for the Agricultural Department's plant-growing area and the Environmental Center. More than 2,000 feet of pipe will be installed. Also, a post and rail fence and other projects are planned.
While the saws and hammers are hot, both large and small wooden planters will be built. The planting of trees, shrubs and flowers on the school grounds will be part of the "Adopt-A-Campus" project, to combat litter at the school.
An aluminum can scavenger hunt also will be held for volunteers. The cans will be deposited in two aluminum can recycling bins that will be constructed. A Memorial Garden also will be built in remembrance of former pupils and staff.
Across the county, the Citrus County Homeschoolers and the Nature Coast 4-H Club members will set up a display and bake sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wal-Mart in Homosassa. The purpose of the project is to raise public awareness of the three R's involved with wildlife: rescue, rehabilitation and release.
"Our focus is making people more aware of the Nature World Wildlife Sanctuary and knowing who to call if a wild animal needs assistance," said Joanne Bartell of the home school group. "We want them to know what to do, and more important, what not to do, especially at night or on a weekend."
A screech owl and possums from the sanctuary, headed by Dr. K. C. Nayfield, will attend to underscore the message.
Pupils at Crystal River Primary School have adopted the Citrus County Abuse Shelter Association for Make a Difference Day. They have collected housing supplies, such as bathroom tissue and cleaning supplies. Children's clothing, diapers and toys also were brought in by pupils and teachers. They were picked up by a CASA representative Thursday.
At Pleasant Grove Elementary School, pupils have chosen to extend a helping hand to other children.
Guidance counselor Doris McKinlay read a newspaper notice explaining that CASA needs clean, usable toys for children who come to the shelter. McKinlay asked the pupils if they could "make a difference" in the lives of these children. She explained that because of problems in the home, they were forced to leave, sometimes in the middle of the night, with nothing more than the clothes on their backs.
The CASA Kids project was born. Pupils have been bringing in toys and books for children at the shelter. "I told them that if they brought in something they liked, it might be something another child would like to play with," McKinlay said. "The response has been wonderful."
On Saturday, members of the PGE Enhancement Council will make a difference we all can see with their "Jab and Gab" project. They will meet at 9 a.m. in front of the school, don their work gloves and then clean up a 2-mile stretch of County Road 581. Normally an activity reserved for adults because of traffic dangers, this year fifth grade pupils, who are accompanied by parents, are being invited to participate in the cleanup. Other interested adults also may join the group.