USA WEEKEND magazine has chosen the Guilford, Connecticut kid-created USCS Make a Difference Day Almost-Sleepover as a finalist for the 2012 Make a Difference Day All-Star Award, presented annually to a single past national Make a Difference Day honoree who has continued to make a difference in his/her community. The girls and their project are the only Connecticut finalist and the only kids in the nationwide competition. Daily online voting to determine the $10,000 winner takes places February 15 to 29 at www.makeadifferenceday.com.
The project was created Delaney and Addie Kenney, Marlah Hohlfelder, Willow and Rosalie Coleman, Sophie Marnin and Isabel Kessler, who held a community service-filled almost-sleepover with their friends in Guilford, Connecticut in October 2010, and won a Make a Difference Day Award and $10,000 for charity from Newman's Own in 2011. The girls surprised Life Haven, a temporary shelter for pregnant women and women with young children, with that $10,000 prize.
After the success of their local event, the girls wondered if other kids might be interested in making a difference in their communities, too. In 2011 the girls launched their own community service organization, The United States of Community Service., Inc. (www.uscsnow.org), and took their almost-sleepover idea nationwide—inspiring more than 1,200 kids in 26 states to support more than 100 charities with almost-sleepover events from Connecticut to California this past year, including kids in Madison, Southington and Voluntown, Connecticut.
The Make a Difference Day All-Star Award winner will be decided via a public online vote, beginning February 15 and continuing through February 29, at www.makeadifferenceday.com. One vote per person, per day is allowed. All voters must be 13 years of age to vote (kids 12 and under should ask their parent/parents, family members and friends to vote).
The winner of the online vote will receive a $10,000 donation to the charity of their choice from USA WEEKEND and the Gannett Foundation. If the girls win, they’ll be holding a random drawing to select the name of a nonprofit organization supported by one of their almost-sleepover hosts nationwide.
“Our project is a finalist for this award because of the 1,200 USCS kids and their parents, grandparents, teachers and scout troop leaders who joined with us to make a difference in 2011,” said Laurie Kenney. “What better way to say thank you than by giving one of our almost-sleepover hosts the chance to surprise their charity of choice with $10,000 donation, should we win the online vote.”
The Guilford girls will be submitting the name of The Dravet Syndrome Foundation, started by a Monroe, Connecticut mom to find treatments and a cure for this rare form of epilepsy; the Madison kids, the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter in Branford; the Voluntown kids, Toys for Tots; and the Southington kids, Bread for Life, for the chance at the $10,000 donation, should the girls win the online vote.
Please support our Connecticut kid-created USCS Make a Difference Day Almost-Sleepover by voting daily February 15 through February 29 at www.makeadifferenceday.com. For more information on how you can get involved in the 2012 USCS Make a Difference Day Almost-Sleepover, visit www.uscsnow.org.