FGCU and Wells Fargo will team up Saturday, Oct. 22 to complete more than a dozen Make a Difference Day projects for nonprofit organizations throughout Southwest Florida.
About 400 students, alumni, faculty and staff members and Well Fargo representatives will gather on campus at 8 a.m. and fan out across the region to do volunteer work in Fort Myers, Bonita Springs and Naples on this annual national day of service. Registration through the Office of Civic Engagement and Service-Learning is now closed.
The projects scheduled are:
- Sorting fresh produce and food to be distributed in Southwest Florida as well as some indoor and outdoor beautification projects at the Harry Chapin Food Bank in Fort Myers.
- Painting and preparing a new home site for families at Valerie’s House in Fort Myers, which helps children and families heal and work through grief over the loss of a loved one.
- Planting flowerbeds, building seating for an outdoor classroom and painting and setting up the new teen room at the Quality Life Center in Fort Myers.
- Constructing and refurbishing sensory-trail activity stations and assisting in outdoor beautification projects at Special Equestrians in Fort Myers.
- Cleaning up trash and debris along mangroves in Fish Trap Bay adjacent to FGCU’s Vester Marine and Environmental Science Research Field Station in Bonita Springs.
- Engaging in activities with residents and participating in an indoor beautification/organization project at Cypress Cove Retirement Center in Fort Myers.
- Assisting in meal preparation and large-scale event preparation at Community Cooperative soup kitchen in Fort Myers.
- Mulching flowerbeds and completing other indoor and outdoor beautification projects at the Bonita Springs YMCA.
- Assisting with registration of families for the holiday program and assembling hygiene kits for the Salvation Army in Fort Myers.
- Planting a community garden at PACE Center for Girls in Immokalee.
- Planting trees and assisting with outdoor beautification on the FGCU campus.
- Painting FGCU’s Family Resource Center and repairing flower and vegetable beds.
- Gardening maintenance at FGCU’s Food Forest.
FGCU Alumni Association chapters also will participate in volunteer work in Fort Myers, Sarasota, Denver, Hillsborough County, Atlanta, Austin and Los Angeles.
“Make a Difference Day is one of the best activities on campus,” said Christopher Simoneau, FGCU Foundation Executive Director and Vice President for University Advancement. “In these days of debate and divisiveness, it’s a great opportunity to step back and help our neighbors and the outstanding charitable organizations of our region achieve their goals. On this day, students, alumni, faculty, parents, community members and more set aside their differences and instead, make a difference. This is at the core of what Florida Gulf Coast University does every day – The FGCU Effect. We are grateful to all of our community partners for joining with us.”
This is the fifth year FGCU and Wells Fargo have worked together for Make a Difference Day, an event created by USA Weekend Magazine in 1992 to encourage volunteerism and demonstrate the impact it can have. Millions of people around the country are expected to participate in the annual event. FGCU encourages its participants to post on social media Saturday using #FGCUgoMAD.