Making a Difference

Dear Friends,

Today is National Make a Difference Day, an annual community service event celebrated nationwide on the fourth Saturday of October. National Make a Difference Day is the largest day of community service in the nation, with the mission to improve the lives of others through acts of service. 

I served for 23 years in the U.S. Navy – five years in a hot war in Southeast Asia, and 18 years in a cold war on reserve duty – and I deeply understand the value of service to our country. Throughout my career in public service, I have always considered myself a servant, working on behalf of my constituents in an effort to improve their lives. A guiding principle throughout my life has been the notion that service to others is the secret to happiness.

One of my favorite proverbs is something I borrowed from the Hindu faith: “In the joy of others lies our own.” 

Along with public service, I’ve found abundant joy in my life as a mentor. I’ve been personally mentoring students in Delaware for nearly two decades. I helped recruit thousands of mentors when I was Governor as part of a statewide effort to include individuals, churches, service clubs, students, and corporations in mentoring Delaware’s at-risk children. Today, mentoring has become an integral part of our school system in Delaware and is one of the keys to improving academic achievement among at-risk students.

There are thousands of students in our schools this year who would benefit greatly from having another positive role model in their lives, just like I did and – very likely – just like you did sometime in your life. Today, I invite you to join me in celebrating National Make a Difference Day, and take a minute to think about what you could do to make a positive difference in your community, or perhaps just in someone else’s life. Even the smallest acts count and can make a difference.