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Notre Dame and the Community

Posted on 6/30/2009 2:29:43 PM
Author: Dominic Go

Ever since becoming a student at Notre Dame, the tension between the campus community and the South Bend community has been fresh on my mind.

As a life long resident of South Bend, I thought it odd that many found the city of South Bend to be an unsafe and unwelcoming place to live. Having seen numerous rowdy students being disrespectful to local residents(in many cases their next door neighbors), I thought that students were being rather hypocritical. It was not rude South Bend residents, but rather rude college students that caused the tension. 

This past year, I moved off campus determined to be a good, courteous neighbor, and I think that my housemates and I succeeded at this. We never received a complaint. We invited our neighbors over for cook outs etc. However, I was disturbed to discover that my house was still being targetted by local crime. In my nine months living there, we had several rude encounters, three attempted burgleries (one successful), and a mugging. Despite my best efforts to improve relations between Notre Dame and the community, it seemed that maybe the Notre Dame students were equally justified in their prejudice against Michiana.  

I think my experiences have made it clear to me that one can not blame only Notre Dame or the Michiana community for this tension. Rather is it a mutual disrespect for one another. I don't think that origin of the problem is important, but the solution is.

Recently, Father John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, has announced that Notre Dame will be donating a large sum of money to the local governments surrounding campus. This donation is in order to help boost our budget crisis in the time of great need. 

This could be a great step towards healing the relationship between Notre Dame and the community. We must remmeber that Notre Dame employs more than any other organization in the Michiana Area. Local businesses are stimulated every year by Notre Dame home games. And Notre Dame students must remember that they are still part of the community even though they are here for a limited amount of time. 

This stimulus is one step, but the next must be taken by us, the community and the students. Treat eachother with respect and charity no matter age, race or social status. The administrations are doing their part. Now its our turn. 

Notre Dame Makes Contributions to Local Communities

Updates Updates

Posted on 6/25/2009 5:06:36 PM
Author: Andrew Lynn

I wanted to let you know of several things we've been up to in the past few months.

We changed the frontpage a few months ago to link directly to Volunteer Opportunties and Upcoming Events, and that has been a big success in bringing people directly to opportunities to get involved.

In May Make a Difference Michiana held its 4th Annual Philanthropy Summit. We had many non-profits and businesses present to hear from local speakers how people are making a difference in our community. The Non-Profit Expo was also well attended by people interested in connecting to area non-profits.

The White House is launching a large initiative to promote volunteerism this summer and we've been working with them to promote Michiana volunteer opportunities on their website There should be several opportunities posted soon.

Finally, we've joined Twitter. Keep your eye on it for the latest news from us about non-profits in the Michiana area.

Make A Difference Welcomes New Agencies!

Posted on 6/22/2009 12:41:11 PM
Author: Dominic Go

Over the past couple of months several new agencies have become part of the Make A Difference Michiana. We are now serving 322 agencies, and we'd like to officially welcome our newest members to the site! Here they are: 

Indiana Nonprofit Resource Center


HealthWorks! Kids' Museum


Grissom Middle School Parent Academy and Family-2-Family Food/Clothing Pantry

Church Lady and Friends Outreach Ministries


The Res


Purdue University North Central Center for Service Learning & Leadership


Pathfinder Services


St. Joseph County Bridges Out of Poverty Initiative


God Cares ReEntry


NI-DAN - Northern IN Disability Advocacy Network


Metropolitan Oasis Community Development Corporation


We hope that every one will take a couple minutes to check our new members. It's incredible to see the diversity of good causes in the Michiana Area. So take a look around! 


New Intern with Make A Difference!

Posted on 6/16/2009 10:43:20 AM
Author: Dominic Go

Hello everybody,

My name is Dominic Go, and I am excited to be working here at Make a Difference Michiana for the summer! I am a rising senior at the University of Notre Dame studying both music and political science. 

As a resident of South Bend since age 0, I find the non-profit sector to be an extraordinary contribution to the South Bend Community. Ever since I was a child, I have been surrounded by various non-profit organizations around town. From the grade-school food drives for St. Vincent De Paul (Go Crusaders!) to helping paint a mural at the Robsinson Community Learning Center to interning at the Red Cross, the non-profit sector has been a huge part of my life. 

So why Make a Difference Michiana this summer? Here are a couple of things that I find exciting about it:

First off, I get to be in touch with all sorts of non-profit agencies. Even as someone who has lived in the South Bend community their whole life, I was astounded to learn that there are over 300 non-profit organizations in the Michiana area!

Thus far, one of my major tasks here at Make A Difference has been to update all of our agencies' information which has allowed me to become at least some what familiar with every agency that we work with. There are the well established, the budding, the very broad,the very specific, and though their missions span a whole host of needs, it is clear to me that this community has a good heart. This is what I want to be a part of. 

The second thing I'm excited about is the chance to add my own input and creativity to the overall mission, help the Michiana community. I believe that being a part of Make A Difference allows me to be a gateway for non-profits in the area to connect. 

I think one thing that will really help our community is to create a unified front. Non-profits with similar missions can share resources, volunteers, and innovative ideas. Agencies who are older and bigger can share ideas and advice for younger non-profits. Newer non-profits (like Make A Difference) can help update and create innovative marketing strategies for all non-profits to better reach and serve the community.

These are the things I'm excited about. 

Now I know that many of you probably see me as an idealistic college student with long hair and a guitar in hand. And I'll tell you, that the fact that I play guitar is completely unrelated to my ideals. In fact, I think that these goals are absolutely attainable and realistic; they are much more than a song about world peace.

How? Well one of Andrew and I's big goals coming up is to revolutionize Make A Difference Day this year. Prior to the actual event, we plan to hold a gathering of all the non-profits we work with. If we get full participation there will be over 300 people at this event. This will be a great opporutnity to learn about what people are doing around town and figure ways in which we can help each other help the community.

Could your agency be a shelter for the Red Cross? Could you help a client of the Center for the Homeless find a job? Work off his/her service requirements? Could your volunteers teach at the YMCA? These are all questions that could be answered at this event.  

So to steal a quote from Abraham Lincoln who stole it from Jesus. "A house divided cannot stand." Similarly our non-profit sector will only continue to improve the more we continue to work together!