WSU Students Plan Makeover to ‘Make a Difference’

OGDEN, Utah – The to-do list is long – fix the ceiling, hang new drywall, paint, lay new carpet, assemble furniture, clean, and re-stock toys and books – but when Weber State University student volunteers finish the project, the nursery at Ogden’s Salvation Army will be as good as new.

WSU senior Josh Whitesides, who is the homeless projects chair for the university’s Community Involvement Center (CIC), is overseeing the improvements, most of which will be completed Oct. 23 in connection with national Make A Difference Day. The idea for the makeover came to him after visiting the Salvation Army earlier this year. 

“It’s a unique and industrious place,” Whitesides said. “The staff there work hard and with very limited funding. We could have helped with a number of projects at the Salvation Army, but the nursery was definitely the place to start. It’s a little outdated, and I thought by sprucing it up we could make it really nice for the children who learn and play there.” 

In addition to an allotted budget from the CIC, Whitesides received a $1,000 grant from the WSU Bookstore to help with the improvements. With the extra funds, he has turned the project into a full-scale makeover that will include fixing and painting the ceiling, installing new drywall, carpet and furniture, and painting all the walls, one of which will feature a mural designed by WSU student Melinda Taggart and applied by volunteers from the university’s Art Guild.

Campus organizations and community members also have helped with the project by donating construction materials, toys, books, baby blankets, food and toiletries to the Salvation Army.

Whitesides said projects like the nursery makeover are rewarding for everyone involved. “Serving your fellow man provides a deep sense of self-worth and love that only charity can bring,” he said. “It feels wonderful to be able to participate in a nationwide movement such as Make A Difference Day. That’s the funny thing about altruism ... no matter how much you try to give, you always receive blessings in return.”

Volunteers will meet at the Salvation Army chapel (2615 Grant Avenue, Ogden) at 10 a.m. on Oct. 23. Everyone is welcome. For more information or to make donations to the project, contact Whitesides at

In addition to the nursery makeover, the CIC has several Make A Difference Day opportunities, including service projects with Your Community Connection, the Boys and Girls Club, Best Buddies and local food banks. The public is encouraged to join in these efforts to lend a hand to those in need.

Visit for a complete list of projects.

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Josh Whitesides, homeless projects chair, Community Involvement     Center
801-644-0493 •

Kari Petersen, co-director, Community Involvement Center
801-626-6890 •

Amy Hendricksoffice of Media Relations
801-626-6346 •