The City of Hattiesburg participated in National Make a Difference Day by holding its own event in Hattiesburg on Oct. 27.
Early Saturday morning, volunteers throughout the Hattiesburg community participated in 16 different projects throughout the city with the intent of making a difference. The projects involved picking up trash, building fences and updating playgrounds and parks.
Assistant to the Mayor of the City of Hattiesburg Betsy Mercier explained the city’s plan for the day.
“Today is City of Hattiesburg Make a Difference Day, and it is Make a Difference Day nationwide,” Mercier said. “So it’s a national initiative for clean-up and beautification, and this is the first time we have participated as a city. We have 16 projects across the city, and there is at least two projects in every ward. We have everybody from the Mayor’s Youth Council to the Hattiesburg High football team, different neighborhood associations and churches all involved in those projects.”
Bradley Black and Mary Mcintire, students from Presbyterian Christian Secondary School and Sacred Heart Catholic School Anna, respectively, are both involved with the Mayor’s Youth Council, which is comprised of 32 high school students across Hattiesburg.
“It’s a cool opportunity to be able to clean up areas we didn’t even know about,” Black said. “We get to represent people our age who don’t have a place in the community.”
Mcintire said the Mayor’s Youth Council helps her feel more involved in the community she has lived in for her entire life.
“I really like it so far. I feel like I get a say, and I’m more involved,” Mcintire said.
The students said they were excited to be a part of Hattiesburg’s Make a Difference Day and encourage fellow students to become more involved in the community.
“If you are thinking about joining the Mayor’s Youth Council, definitely do it. You can meet a lot of new people, and you discover that you have a say in the community and can help others just by doing little things like picking up trash,” Black said.
Mercier said she was astounded by how many volunteers the city had. From the Mayor’s Youth Council to Hattiesburg High Football, Mercier said she was grateful for the impact the day had on the City of Hattiesburg.
“We did not expect to have 16 projects,” Mercier said. “We were really hoping to have five solid ones, and we were just blown away at the volunteers that came in. We had students on North 38th and 4th Street, so we were really moved by the different people that wanted to come today. We think this is just the start bigger Make a Difference Day’s in the future.”