More than 800 student volunteers from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University and Milwaukee Area Technical College will come together Saturday, Nov. 9, to help older adults across Milwaukee County get ready for Wisconsin’s winter.
The event, coordinated by UWM and cohosted by all three institutions, is part of “Make a Difference Day,” an annual nationwide event in which organizations join forces to elevate community service.
This year, student volunteers will visit more than 150 homes throughout Milwaukee County to assist older adults with raking leaves, cleaning yards and providing a friendly visitor, ensuring they are able to stay safe, warm and independent in their homes this winter.
One-third of older adults live alone, and many cannot complete the outdoor tasks required as the winter months approach. In addition, according to the Milwaukee County Department on Aging Area Plan for 2019-21, when compared to the state of Wisconsin as a whole, Milwaukee has a higher percentage of people age 65 years and over living alone.
The Make a Difference Day event is also in partnership with organizations Eras Senior Network Inc., a nonprofit organization aimed at engaging and supporting seniors in leading meaningful lives.
“Every year, seniors look forward to students arriving to help with home projects. Without help, seniors may try to do the work themselves and be at risk of falls in their homes,” said Kathy Gale, executive director of Eras Senior Network. “Falls can be devastating for seniors, resulting in hospitalization and loss of independence. The students’ hours of service are making an appreciable difference for vulnerable neighborhoods.”
Make a Difference Day is a collaboration among UWM’s Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership, and Research; Marquette’s Sorority and Fraternity Life and the Center for Community Service; and MATC’s Center for Engaged and Service-Learning.