McDowell County is making a difference.

Make a Difference Day is celebrated each year on the fourth Saturday in October. Created by USA Weekend Magazine, it is the nation’s largest day of volunteer service. On this day, millions of people across the nation pitch in to help their neighbors in need.

“Together with long-standing partner HandsOn Network, the generosity of Newman’s Own and hundreds of carrier newspapers, USA Weekend rallies millions in a single day to help change the world,” reads a news release about the nationwide event.

Last year, the McDowell Volunteer Center held a food drive in the parking lot of the Grandview Station shopping center. This year, the McDowell Volunteer Center is hosting a fashion show fundraiser on Saturday at East McDowell Junior High School.

Gloria Burrow, director of the Volunteer Center, said this fashion show will be the local Make a Difference Day event for 2013.

During the show, students, county, city and community leaders will present fashions provided by local business sponsors. A variety of models will show off the various apparel.

“We have more than 50 models including children, MHS varsity cheerleaders, young men's teen styles, women’s and men’s wear and maternity fashions,” said Burrow.

The fashion show is a dream come true for one special young woman. Jackie Marie Smith, 28, of Marion will be among the models. She is the daughter of Gilbert and Rhonda Smith of Marion. She has Down’s syndrome and she has always wanted to be a model in a fashion show.

“She’s always wanted to be in something,” said Gilbert Smith. “She is our pride and joy. She loves music.”

“We will make her wish come true for this ‘Make a Difference Day,’” said Burrow.

Some of the sponsors include Black Bear Trading, Burke’s Outlet, Cato, Debbie & Teresa's Barber Shop, Elizabeth's Consignment, Hibbett Sports, Jasmines, NuWave Salon, Peebles, Phase II Consignment, Roses and rue 21.

Tickets for the dinner and fashion show are $8. The baked spaghetti dinner will come with salad, dessert and drink. This will be served in the cafeteria at East. Dinner will be at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.

All proceeds from this event will benefit the Endowment Fund of the Public Schools of McDowell County to support direct services for local students, including school supplies, health and field trip assistance and to enhance education. The Endowment Fund was organized more than 20 years ago exclusively for charitable educational purposes by bringing together leaders in the county, education, and volunteer committees to work in partnership to deliver resources to benefit students in need. These resources will enhance students' performance in school, and assist them in becoming responsible members of society and the workforce, according to Burrow.

For more information about the fashion show, contact Gloria Burrow by calling 652-7121, ext. 354 or emailing

In addition to Make a Difference Day, the Volunteer Center is now seeking nominations for the 2014 Governor's Award for Volunteer Service.

All forms need to be submitted to the McDowell Volunteer Center by Friday, Nov. 1.

“Through the years, McDowell County has proven to be a strong supporter of volunteerism by promoting community events and service oriented programs,” reads a news release. “McDowell shows their compassion for dedicated volunteers by sponsoring local recognition & achievement programs for these exceptional citizens in our county. Every nominee submitted will be honored at an awards reception to be held in the spring at the McDowell Senior Center.”

One of the selected county award recipients will be nominated to receive the Governor’s Medallion Award for Volunteer Service. In addition, the McDowell Volunteer Center is now certified for Presidential Awards recognitions. And Burrow was recently appointed to serve as an officer on the N.C. State Volunteer Board of Directors.

“McDowell County has been extremely honored and privileged to have our outstanding volunteers recognized at this level for the past several years” reads the news release. “Help us continue this tradition to improve lives, strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement in our county by supporting volunteer service!”

Nomination forms are available through the Volunteer Center. You can call or email the center. The mailing address is McDowell Volunteer Center, County Administration Building, 60 East Court St. Marion, NC 28752.