Moving Difference is back for a second year, and its official kick-off corresponds with the first day of summer: this Friday, June 21st.
For those who missed last year’s coverage, Moving Difference is a loose – but vigorous – movement that encourages individuals to invest one hour of each week during summer into making their community better. Founded here in Austin by Jeny Crouch, Moving Difference went worldwide in its first year. Approximately 62,000 volunteer hours were logged in 2012. The original goal was 1,000.
There aren’t any set rules about how you use your volunteer hour each week from June 21st to September 21st. You can pick up trash, teach a CPR class, bake for a sick neighbor, help a busy friend with childcare, or walk a homeless dog through Austin Pets Alive. It’s as easy as following your passion and doing what you can to make a difference.
Make Moving Difference Friends in Austin
Even if you’re participating in Moving Difference on your own, you still have an opportunity to connect with others. September 7, 2013 is Silly Hat, Big Clean. Inspired by Jeny’s “arousing collection of really quirky hats,” the concept is simple. Groups around the world (including a group of soldiers stationed in Afghanistan) will gather to clean up their local parks, wearing silly hats to make it fun.
In Austin, there will be Moving Difference folks cleaning up Austin’s center and parks around the city. Plans will firm up as September gets closer, so keep your eyes on the event page as locations are added. Maybe you want to organize a Silly Hat, Big Clean event in your own part of Austin?
Moving Difference Across Texas
Jeny is living on the road this summer, touring across Texas to speak about the movement and volunteer with others. She’ll be in Houston, Beaumont, Laredo and beyond, helping with blood drives, speaking to summer school students, and even taking Moving Difference into adult homes.
Between the 62,000 worldwide volunteer hours in 2012, and countless hours of communication with volunteers and press, Jeny burned through two Blackberrys. This year, she’s prepared with a back-up phone. “I’m pretty sure we’re going to hit 2,000 hours in the first week,” she excitedly told me.
“We’re Here to Stay”
The idea for Moving Difference was originally scribbled on a napkin at the Taco Deli by the Green Belt. Today, that napkin sits in a frame at the same location, surrounded by newspaper clippings and a letter from Jeny that chronicle the incredible growth of one idea.
Jeny says that the biggest difference between Moving Difference 2012 and 2013 is that the movement is established now. “There was a lot of ‘ra-ra’ in year one,” she says. “The second year sets the tone.”
I was surprised to hear that plans for Moving Difference extend as far as 20 years into the future! But no matter what happens or how many years go by, Jeny insists on sticking to the movement’s core values. “If we stop being of service as a community grassroots organization, I’ll be the first to pull the plug. I don’t want anyone to think their hour isn’t valuable.”
Learn More and Get Involved
Stay updated through the Moving Difference website. You’re encouraged to share your volunteer experiences and record your hours through email, Facebook or Twitter. You can give shout-outs on Twitter with the #MDY2 hashtag.
Bottom line: there’s no reason to agonize over getting involved. Jeny says that you should “shut everything off, go out, look around, and see who needs help. You’ll know who you can help. You know what you love. Find the need, and fill the need.”
How would you like to help others this summer?