Make a Difference Day has been observed on the 4th Saturday of October since 1992. It is a national service day, created to encourage people to spend the day volunteering in their communities.
As AmeriCorps members committed to full-time community service, we want every day to be a “make a difference” day! The 4th weekend of October happened to be a weekend when two major events to benefit the HIV+ community of Indianapolis were taking place. So Team Indy decided to celebrate Make a Difference WEEKEND, offering service at both the Grande Masquerade benefit for the Damien Center on Saturday, and the AIDS Quilt Memorial service on Sunday.
The Grande Masquerade is an annual event held by the Damien Center, which is the largest organization serving HIV/AIDS infected and affected persons in Indianapolis and is the service agency where 2 of our members are placed. Over 600 guests were expected, each paying $135-175 for their ticket. A silent auction is held, as well as a costume contest, and of course food, drinks, and dancing. We had our work cut out for us!
The team met up at the downtown Marriott bright and early Saturday morning, where we were joined by an eager group of staff and volunteers all psyched to set up for this event. It’s so exciting how many people are willing to give their time to an event like this just because they CARE so much! We had fun setting up decorations, matching auction items with bidding sheets, and getting everything ready for the big event.
Hard at work!
Around 3pm, we broke to go home and get dressed up. We re-convened at the Marriott a few hours later, having changed out of our AmeriCorps gear and into our finest formal-wear!
All dressed up.
After a wonderful time Saturday night, the team pressed on for another day of service on Sunday. We met up Sunday morning at the Indiana AIDS Fund building to haul out the memorial quilts and transport them to the Crown Hill Cemetary. The weather was beautiful, which we were thrilled about. We set up the quilts for display on the cemetary grounds. We carefully laid each quilt upon a tarp, reflecting as we did this on the lives of those memorialized on the quilts. The rest of the day was spent directing traffic, offering information and support to those attending the event, and cleaning up afterward.The team then took some photos of ourselves enjoying the beautiful fall day.
Setting up the memorial quilts.
The team stands together at Crown Hill Cemetery, atop the highest point in Indianapolis with our city skyline behind us.
Playing in the leaves!
We had a wonderful time making a difference this weekend, and are excited to continue making a difference every day by serving others and inspiring others to serve too.