For the past 19 years, United Way of Northwest Georgia has celebrated Make a Difference Day on the fourth Friday and Saturday in October. This year was no exception, with $10,000 in grant funding provided by Brown Industries and Phenix Flooring, and a total of nine projects.
United Way of Northwest Georgia is honored to participate in Make a Difference Day each year.
"We are committed to building better futures within our community," United Way President Amanda Burt said. "Brown Industries and Phenix Flooring's sponsorship has ensured that countless lives will be improved through these volunteer projects."
Brown Industries and Phenix Flooring have partnered with United Way to install a Born Learning Trail at the Dalton Civitan Park. The Born Learning Trail consists of activities to promote early learning and advocating for family health. Due to rainy weather, this project was rescheduled to Nov. 1.
The Born Learning Trail is a series of 10 interactive signs that offer fun, active learning activities for young children and their families. Signs are available in English and Spanish and feature activities that engage early childhood developmental skills. Activities along this trail work alongside United Way's strategic guideline of getting kids ready for kindergarten, reading at grade level by third grade and graduating on time with skills to be career and life-ready.
The trail helps parents, caregivers and community members create quality engagement opportunities when out on a stroll or visiting the local playground.
"We are very excited to be a part of Make a Difference Day," said Stuart Nelson, president of Brown Industries. "We love being a part of benefitting our whole community through the Born Learning Trails project. Our team at Brown Industries looks forward to seeing the lives impacted through the educational opportunities this project will provide."
"The Phenix Make A Difference Day volunteers are excited about the educational value the Born Learning Trail brings to children and their families who frequent Civitan Park," said Amy Bradford, human resources at Phenix Flooring. "We also look forward to the chance to work alongside our fellow Make A Difference Day sponsor, Brown Industries on such a meaningful project."
Other projects completed for United Way of Northwest Georgia's Make A Difference Day included:
• The United Way Young Leaders Society spread gravel, put a fresh coat of paint on two sets of stairs along with an office, and Morris Innovative High School students painted flower pots for United Way community partner Carter Hope Center.
• The United Way Women's Leadership Council worked to assemble housewarming gifts for homeowners of community partner Habitat for Humanity.
• Volunteers and fire departments along with community partner American Red Cross canvassed at-risk neighborhoods in Murray County to install smoke alarms, replace batteries in existing alarms and provide fire prevention and safety education.
• Dalton State College School of Social Work students landscaped a playground and installed new equipment at the Compassion House.
• A group of volunteers spent the day painting the lobby and reapplied vinyl decals at United Way community partner Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Georgia Mountains.
• Dalton High School student volunteers constructed a closet to store clothing for victims of sexual assault served by United Way community partner The GreenHouse.
• Shaw Industries volunteers painted encouraging messages on bathroom stalls, assembled teacher appreciation boxes, built a small food pantry, planted flowers and installed new flooring in the lobby of Eastbrook Middle School.
• This year was also the 25th annual event of the Conasauga River Watershed Clean-up where volunteers cleaned up trash from the river and banks at seven locations in Whitfield and Murray counties.