Yes, you can be making a difference Saturday, Sept. 22, at Pleasant Hill's annual Community Service Day.

Eight years ago we launched this volunteer program to make our city an even better place to live, work and play. Starting with a few hundred volunteers in 2005, last year more than 1,000 volunteers worked on dozens of projects throughout our city.

Over the past seven years we -- as a community -- have donated some 25,000 volunteer hours to improve the place we call home. Together we:

  • Cleaned up neighborhoods, schools, parks, creeks and churches

  • Planted dozens of trees to help beautify our city

  • Repaired hundreds of bicycles for donation to needy children

  • Gave numerous pints of blood to save lives

  • Collected tons of food to feed homeless Contra Costans

  • Helped children and seniors in need

    We couldn't have done any of this without you! You, and the one thousand others who volunteered their time and energy, help make Pleasant Hill safer, healthier and more beautiful. We are a model of volunteer service that is the envy of other communities.

    While we can be proud of our past accomplishments, there's even more to do. So I invite you be part of group making a difference in Pleasant Hill by participating in this year's eighth annual Community Service Day.

    Be among the first 500 volunteers to register at Pleasant Hill Park and you'll receive a free commemorative T-shirt and free pancake breakfast, courtesy of the Lions Club.

    Register a worthwhile project of your own, or sign up to volunteer at the city's website at www.pleasant-hill.net and click on the "Community Service Day" link. For more information, contact Martin Nelis at Mnelis@ci.pleasant-hill.ca.us or 925-671-5229.

    Projects are available for adults and children of all ages and abilities.

    The immediate impact of these projects is a cleaner and more beautiful city. Perhaps more important has been the personal connections between neighbors, friends, families, newcomers and the business community.

    Community service brings out the best in us, inspires hope and empowers us to believe in a better tomorrow.

    I look forward to seeing you at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at Pleasant Hill Park where you will be making a difference in this city we all love.

    Michael G. Harris is the vice mayor of Pleasant Hill.