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'Make a Difference Day' starts at 10 a.m. today in Pleasanton Library

Theme is 'Get Connected and Stay Connected;' It's informative, it's fun

Is one of your new year's resolutions to give back? Then check out the Make a Difference for Pleasanton Festival 2015, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the Pleasanton Public Library.

The festival matches people with volunteer opportunities and helps them discover the joy of helping others. More than two dozen nonprofit organizations will have booths set up with information on how folks can "Get Connected and Stay Connected" with their community through volunteer service for adults, families and teens.

"We used to try to tie in with the national Make A Difference Day, which is held in October, but here in Pleasanton that date has long been reserved for the Foothill High School Band Review, so we changed to the date closest to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which has become a global service day," said W. Ron Sutton, founder of Make A Difference, Today & Always.

"Also, we felt that people should make a commitment to community service on more than one day per year," he added. "That is why we came up with the '50/50 Pledge' and the slogan, 'Get Connected, Stay Connected.'"

Visitors will have a chance to sign the 50/50 Pledge: "I pledge to spend at least 50 hours in community service, and to spend 50 more hours with my family in the next year."

They can also sign a banner from the first local Make a Difference Festivals, which were sponsored by the Pleasanton Unified School District in the 1990s.

Now the festival is produced by the nonprofit group Make A Difference, Today & Always; the event is co-sponsored by the city of Pleasanton, the Community of Character Coalition and ACCUSPLIT Make A Difference Programs.

Besides the co-sponsors, the following groups will have exhibits:

* Alameda County CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocates)

* Alviso Adobe Community Park

* Amador Valley Quilters

* American Cancer Society -- Pleasanton Relay for Life

* American Red Cross

* Boy Scouts of America -- Twin Valley District

* CityServe of the Tri-Valley

* Eden Information & Referral (Alameda County 211)

* Hope Hospice

* JustServe.org

* KIVA.org

* Livermore-Amador Valley Garden Club

* Lynnewood Methodist Church

* Meals on Wheels (Spectrum Community Services)

* Museum On Main

* Northern California Special Olympics

* Open Heart Kitchen

* Paws in Need

* Pleasanton Lions Club

* Rotary -- Celebrating 50 years in Pleasanton, as of 2015 -- Downtown, Pleasanton North and Tri-Valley clubs working together

* Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation

* Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation

* Senior Support Program of the Tri-Valley

* Tri-Valley SOCKS

* Tri-Valley YMCA

Pleasanton Weekly's "Man of the Year" Ken Mano has created the website www.MakeADifferenceForPleasanton.org/

It lists the growing number of organizations that will be at the festival. At this site, people can learn more in advance of the festival about where they may want to donate their time and energy.

The festival is free of charge, as is the parking at the city library, 400 Old Bernal Ave.

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