USA WEEKEND Magazine in partnership with Points of Light, founded Make A Difference Day to encourage people to be active in their community. For participants, that one day often becomes a regular habit after seeing the impact one person can make.

Every spring during National Volunteer Week, the nation’s top volunteers are recognized for their outstanding volunteer projects. Each winner is rewarded $10,000 by Newman’s Own, to donate to the charity of his or her choice. This year’s ten honorees, who were chosen out of 3 million individuals that helped others last October, gathered at The Carnegie Library in New York for the Make A Difference Day Awards Luncheon.

GigMasters’ Jazz Trio, Taimoor Band (Washington, D.C.) entertained honorees and their families, along with the press, media, staff and guests of USA WEEKEND, Points of Light, and Newman’s Own. The jazz trio was a hit playing popular up-beat songs, successfully adjusting to the celebration’s hectic schedule.

Two teams from the FIRST Robotics Competition, a robotics program provided by the public charity FIRST LEGO League, were honored as National Award Winners. The teams collected substantial donations during their Make A Difference Day Mega Drive. Donations included 468 food items, 1,052 children’s books for inner-city pediatric offices, 3,600lbs of electronics to be recycled, and with the American Red Cross, 25 units of blood.

Dr. Seuss’ children’s book, The Lorax, gives a voice to the trees so they can stand up against the greedy Once-ler. The volunteers of Operation Lorax, a National Award Winner, made their mark by planting 1,000 pine trees to restore a forest ruined by a bridge fire that burned 23,500 acres.

GigMasters’ client Casey said that the corporate event was a huge success. “Everyone enjoyed themselves and were honored to be there.” Read more about the 2013 Make A Difference Day and the Award Honorees here.

 Have you participated in any interesting volunteer projects? Share your comments below.