This Saturday is Make a Difference Day in San Luis Obispo County. It is a national day of service that encourages community members to get out and volunteer for a day.

The Cal Poly Community Center, United Way of San Luis Obispo County, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and City of San Luis Obispo are involved in the organization of the day.

“People can see a part of their community that they don’t normally see,” said Harmony Quismundo-Newman, the Cal Poly Community Center student coordinator.

Volunteers can choose from 30 different projects scheduled around the county. Some involve hands-on labor such as gardening, tree planting and painting. Others are geared towards human interaction, such as spending time with seniors, said Joy Pedersen, Cal Poly Community Center program coordinator.

The Cal Poly Community Center estimates that nearly 500 volunteers will be involved with the day, with 200 to 300 of those being students.

“This is a cool way to bridge the gap between our school and the community,” said Silvana Vetere, Cal Poly Community Center student coordinator and nutrition senior.

Projects are scheduled at the Prado Day Center, YMCA, Sexual Assault Recovery and Prevention Center and the Hospice Partners among many others as stated in a press release.

“A lot of times, especially students, get wrapped up with everything else,” Quismundo-Newman said. “It’s really great to get out there and do something with community service.”

The day begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Veterans Hall off Grand Avenue in San Luis Obispo. Volunteers can sign up and are given a free breakfast, after which they will disperse to the project sites and work from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free lunches will also be provided at those sites.

Although it is strongly encouraged to volunteer the entire four hours, participants can leave early if necessary.

“In classes we talk about what is wrong with our society and what’s going on in our community,” Vetere said. “This is a way for students to actually get out there and do something about it.”

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