Cleveland may be in running for Make A Difference award
by JOYANNA LOVE Banner Senior Staff Writer
Jan 02, 2014 | 971 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HC Make A Difference
RIDERS participating in the 20K bicycle course for People for Care and Learning’s Bike 2 Build ride peddle away from the starting line with the cheers of volunteers urging them on. The event was one of many held throughout Cleveland as part of Make a Difference Day 2013. Banner photo, DELANEY WALKER
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Cleveland may be one step closer to USA Weekend’s Make A Difference $10,000 city award.

Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland said the city had been contacted by contest representatives asking for more information about events Cleveland residents participated in on or near Oct. 26.

The email states, “We think you could be a really strong candidate for one of our City Awards of $10,000.”

City award winners will be announced Jan. 31.

“They’ve received it and were obviously impressed with something that was done. We just need to more specific (in telling them what happened),” Rowland said.

Rowland said his office would supply the detailed information by the end of the week.

“We’ve always got a certificate from them for participation, but we have never come close to the cash award. This is the closest we have come to the cash award,” Rowland said.

The Paul Newman Foundation makes the cash prizes possible. Many cities highlight community projects on their application. Cleveland has always had multiple events going on in connection with the day.

“I think the best thing we had going were two job fairs that were very important to our citizens,” Rowland said.

One job fair was held at the YMCA while another was held at The Refuge.

People for Care and Learning’s Bike 2 Build charity bicycle ride was also held in connection with the day.

Walks were held by New Hope Pregnancy Care Center and CASA of Bradley County to raise money for their respective organizations. New Hope Pregnancy Care Center helps women and families facing unplanned pregnancy. CASA of Bradley County provides Court Appointed Special Advocates to speak for the best interests of children of abuse or related cases that come through the Bradley County courts.

The Great Pumpkin Run was held to raise money for the 40&8 Society programs including nurse training, child welfare, POW/MIA, youth sports and veterans assistance.

Many local residents also organized their own ways of giving back to the community and making a difference in someone’s life. Some visited nursing home residents. Others helped with home repairs, packing up food for hungry children or getting shelter animals adopted. Many called Rowland’s office to let him know of their activities for possible inclusion in the contest application.

Applications are submitted within two weeks of the event.

“We estimated about 800 people were involved, not including the job fairs,” Rowland said.

Along with the official application, Rowland said, his office also includes any photos or coverage provided in local media as a way to outline the events.

If the city of Cleveland wins the $10,000, Rowland plans to suggest it be divided and donated to a few local organizations that “make a difference” on a daily basis.

Cleveland has participated in Make a Difference Day since Rowland came to office as mayor in 1991.

While the city has been honored with a certificate of participation several times and featured in the USA Weekend Make a Difference Day edition once, the city has never been awarded any of the prize money.