Hundreds of Lewisville residents took part in national Make A Difference Day. The event has been held on the fourth Saturday of the month since its inception in 1992.

Keep Lewisville Beautiful and Our Seva were two charitable groups that participated in the event Saturday Oct. 22. Make a Difference Day is devoted to providing service and improving the lives of others.

Keep Lewisville Beautiful and its 234 volunteers provided 584 hours of service to the Lewisville ISD Outdoor Learning Area Saturday. The organization partners with LISDOLA every year to provide service on Make A Difference Day. The number of volunteers increased from last year, when 143 people participated and donated 358 hours of service.

”It’s always a pleasure to partner with LISDOLA,” Keep Lewisville Beautiful executive director Amy Wells said. “Because I know that we are helping to truly make a difference in the quality of outdoor environmental education for the students that come through there.”

LISDOLA, an 85-acre area of land, serves as an outdoor classroom for LISD students with a goal of providing students knowledge of environmental interactions.

“They only have I believe two staff members, that are out there, that are in charge of in those 85-acres,” Wells said. “So it’s nice to be able to go in and help and bring 234 volunteers to kind of get stuff done.”

The group, which was primarily made up of youth groups from LISD and other long time volunteers, accomplished numerous tasks at LISDOLA. They planted 25 pounds of wildflower seeds, cleared trails of debris, cleaned up gardens and transplanted prairie grass in the area. They also stained and sealed outdoor wooden structures and benches. There were even volunteer opportunities for young children, who got to make seed balls, an activity that was very fun, Wells said.

At the same time as Keep Lewisville Beautiful was working at LISDOLA, Our Seva was across town working on local homes.

Priti Patel founded Our Seva, a non-profit community service group, seven years ago. Following the death of her parents and brother, her friends were searching for a way to help her. Patel asked them to help give back to the community with her. She had grown up in a home devoted to service.

Our Seva members rehabbed the exteriors of homes in the Tanglewood neighborhood (Photo courtesy of Our Seva)
Our Seva members rehabbed the exteriors of homes in the Tanglewood neighborhood (Photo courtesy of Our Seva)

“My goal in starting the nonprofit was to carry my parents legacy forward,” Patel said. “And provide an opportunity for children to learn and participate.”

The group, which started out as 32 friends seven years ago, has expanded to about 200 volunteers for this year’s Make A Difference Day. For its first five years, the group provided service to Mesquite due to an agreement with the town’s mayor. However, the group is planning on permanently participating in Lewisville from now on, since that is where the majority of its members live.

The group worked primarily on homes in the Tanglewood neighborhood, assisted by the Lewisville Fire Department and a donation from The Home Depot. Our Seva members rehabbed the exterior of six homes in the neighborhood, picked up debris and trash in the area and painted house numbers on curbs for every home in the area. Our Seva youth members painted a long pipe rail in the neighborhood’s park.

LFD participated in Make A Difference Day as well, joining Our Seva. LFD along with group members went door-to-door in the neighborhood offering free smoke alarm checks to residents. Any resident whose smoke alarm wasn’t functioning properly could have it replaced as well. The Home Depot donated smoke alarms.

Our Seva’s name comes from the Sanskrit word seva meaning “selfless service”, and that is how members like Patel feel about what they do.