The Story Behind Make a Difference Day

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At Charter, we live and work by 10 Principles, one of which is “Make a Difference.” The definition under that Principle states “Things happen because of you, not circumstance. You know that your willingness to muster a few seconds of courage to take the right action or speak up can change the future for the better.”

While we all try our best to embody this Principle daily, there’s one day a year when the entire company stops and dedicates all our energy on making a difference in our local communities. On this day, coined Make a Difference Day, we come together not as salespeople, builders, or designers but as a group of people dedicated to giving our time, talents and enthusiasm to positively impact the lives of others. It’s one of our favorite days of the year, and with good reason.

This year, Make a Difference Day was Friday, September 15th and our team split into two groups so that we could make a difference in both Central and Western PA. In downtown Lancaster, a group of 50 Charter employees spent the day in the SoWe neighborhood, painting, cleaning up yards, building gardens, making repairs and doing odd jobs for several very deserving homeowners as part of an ongoing revitalization effort in the city. In Pittsburgh, an equally busy Charter crew helped with several Habitat for Humanity projects, tackling everything from painting and drywall to tiling a bathroom and building a retaining wall.

On Make a Difference Day, the President wasn’t the President, he was working the jack hammer to cut and install pavers around a neglected Civil War memorial.  The draftsperson was shoveling stones, hauling mulch and planting fresh flowers.  A neighborhood sales manager was patching drywall and the marketing manager was helping to lay concrete.  A builder used his expertise in a much different way as he assembled a new playhouse as a surprise for a family with two young girls.  

At the end of the day, we typically find ourselves hot, dirty and exhausted but more importantly, humbled by the experience, closer to our teammates and with an overwhelming sense of pride and satisfaction. The stories that come out of Make a Difference Day echo the hallways of our office long after the day itself has passed, often until we have the opportunity to do it again the following year. We can’t think of a better way to spend a day or a better group of people to do it with.