Make a Difference Day brings out best of Franklin Regional students
By Daveen Rae Kurutz
Published: Friday, Oct. 29, 2010,
As toe-tapping tunes filled the dining room at Golden Living Nursing Home during a Steelers pep rally, residents clapped their hands and smiled.
But their grins had little to do with the anticipation for Sunday's game -- it was because they were spending time with a group of 40 teens from Franklin Regional Middle School.
"They love seeing younger people come visit," said Lynn DeFalco, activities director at the Murrysville nursing home. "One gentleman was even crying as he heard their music. The residents love the inter-generational contact."
The visit was part of Franklin Regional's Make a Difference Day activities. In its 20th year, Make a Difference Day is the largest national day of community service. Typically held the fourth Saturday in October, the event is sponsored by USA Weekend and HandsOn Network.
The idea is simple - create a project that makes a difference in the community. At Sloan Elementary that means reaching out overseas. The school's Kid Kouncil is sponsoring a collection of items to send in stockings to soldiers serving overseas. The project is being held in collaboration with the American Sewing Guild. The group, in collaboration with Military Connections in Penn Hills, is finishing a "stockings for soldiers" program.
Students at the school were asked to donate various toiletries and stationery items. They also will design cards and write letters to send to the soldiers, said Becky Vincent, a second-grade teacher at the school and sponsor of the Kid Kouncil.
"It (Make a Difference Day) shows them there's a lot more to life than just themselves," Vincent said.
"It allows them to see that the world is a big place. When people come together to help out, it makes the world a better place."
Students also learn about giving and charity as well, Vincent said.
That's what Larry Silvestri, the middle school band director, hoped his students would walk away with from their nursing-home visit. When officials at Golden Living asked him if one of his bands would like to perform at a Steelers' pep rally, he hoped they would learn the importance of doing a good deed.
Alto saxophone player Nick Nutter enjoyed playing for the seniors.
"It's nice to be able to share our music," said Nutter, 14, of Export. "I liked seeing their expressions as we played and their appreciation."
Phyllis Shutterly, whose son Patrick plays the trumpet in the eighth-grade band, wishes her son and his classmates had more opportunities to play for shut-ins and others in the community.
"It's wonderful," said Shutterly of Murrysville. "They get an appreciation for people of different ages. He can use his music to brighten someone's day."
That's just what the students did, DeFalco said. About 35 residents took part in the pep rally, clapping and cheering with the band members.
"They respond better to younger people than those they see every day," DeFalco said. "Things like this get them out of their routine and let them enjoy the energy the younger people bring. It really sparks excitement."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Early-morning snowstorm hampers Western Pa. commuters
- Host of Steelers veterans look toward career survival mode
- Steelers film session: Polamalu not at fault on long run
- UPMC doctor killed trying to help at 50-vehicle pileup
- Pirates notebook: Huntington narrows team’s offseason targets
- Young defensemen lift Penguins to win
- Penguins’ Neal suspended five games for Marchand hit
- Expert: KO doesn’t mean ‘worst’ concussion for Pens’ Orpik
- Pirates will shop while starting pitcher Burnett makes his decision
- One dead in officer-involved shooting in Monroeville
- City calls UPMC’s claim of no employees a ‘charade’