Wester One of 10 National ‘Make a Difference’ Day Winners

COOKEVILLE — Shaquawana Wester, AmeriCorps volunteer at Cookeville Housing Authority, was one of only 10 winners nationwide for her outstanding efforts to make a difference during National Make a Difference Day on Oct. 27, 2012.

Prior to that day, Wester organized a coat drive, from which she received nearly 1,000 coats from generous people throughout the Cookeville community. Afterward, she planned and promoted a coat giveaway to be held on Oct. 27. More than 200 people came and received coats that day, and the rest of the coats were given to the Cookeville Rescue Mission and to a mobile clothing unit.

For all her efforts, she was awarded an all expense paid trip for 2 to Washington DC for an awards ceremony held on April 13 at the Carnegie Library. During the ceremony, she was presented with a $10,000 grant for the Teens Need Training (TNT) after-school program that she works with at Highlands Residential Services. The grant funds will be used for a room makeover to make the TNT meeting site on Pine Avenue a true “teen hangout.”

National Make a Difference Day is a nationwide day of volunteering held the 4th Saturday of October every year. The event is promoted and sponsored by USA Today Weekend, Gannett, Newman’s Own and Points of Light.

For more information about Highlands Residential Services and its Teens Need Training program, visit the website,

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Honored for Making a Difference

Photo: Gathering at the Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C., to congratulate AmeriCorps CHA Youth Services Coordinator Shaquawana Wester, fourth from left, for being chosen as one of 10 National Make a Difference Day winners are, from left, Tom Indoe, president and COO of Newman’s Own; Kathy B. Smith, CHA Resident Services coordinator; actor and guest speaker Tony Danza; and right of Wester, Larry Kramer, president and publisher of USA Today; and Delores Morton, Points of Light programs president.