Hundreds of Thousands Volunteer in All 50 States on September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance
(Washington DC, September 9, 2011) — On the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, hundreds of thousands of Americans will participate in service and remembrance activities to pay tribute to 9/11 victims and heroes and rekindle the spirit of unity and compassion that followed the attacks.
Projects marking the September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance will take place in all 50 states, ranging from food drives and school beautification to disaster preparation and neighborhood cleanups, with many focused on supporting veterans, soldiers, military families, and first responders.
“There are so many ways to get involved, and every American can do something,” said the President in his weekly address. “Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost; a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11… Let's show that the sense of common purpose that we need in America doesn't have to be a fleeting moment; it can be a lasting virtue—not just on one day, but every day.”
The September 11th National Day of Service and Remembrance is the culmination of an effort originally launched in 2002 by 9/11 family members and support groups, who worked to establish the charitable service day as a forward-looking way to honor the 9/11 victims, survivors and others who rose in service in response to the attacks.
In 2009, Congress designated September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) with supporting this effort across the country. For the tenth anniversary, CNCS, MyGoodDeed, and HandsOn Network are leading an effort to organize one of the largest days of charitable service in U.S. history.
“We will never forget that tragic day—the innocent lives lost, the bravery of those who responded, and the remarkable spirit of unity and compassion that swept the country in the aftermath,” said Robert Velasco II, Acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “We are asking Americans to remember the lives of those lost, pay tribute to those who rose in service, and honor those who serve our country today by engaging in service on the 9/11 weekend.”
Thousands of volunteer opportunities have been posted on Serve.gov, the online resource administered by CNCS for sharing and finding volunteer opportunities on September 11th and throughout the year.
For the tenth anniversary, CNCS issued a challenge to organizations to bring Americans together in service projects on September 11th. Nearly 140 organizations are competing for grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 to implement future September 11th projects on a much larger scale to benefit their communities. These 10th Anniversary Challenge projects alone expect to engage an estimated 150,000 volunteers this year. CNCS also made grants totaling a similar amount to 31 Governor-appointed state service commissions to support a wide range of 9/11 projects.
The agency also produced radio and television PSAs featuring First Lady Michelle Obama encouraging individuals to visit Serve.gov and find volunteer opportunities for September 11th. The PSAs were distributed to 6,000 radio and television stations around the country, are playing on 500 screens in movie theaters, and have aired at Major League Baseball games.
A snapshot of 9/11 service projects taking place over the course of the weekend include:
- Arkansas: National service participants in Arkansas are joining together for the third year to read to children around the state in observance of the 9/11 Day of Service. The goal is to reach 30,000 children in schools, daycares, and afterschool programs, with each child receiving a book.
- District of Columbia: As part of three days of service engaging 10,000 volunteers across the Washington DC region, more than 200 staff from the White House and CNCS, including acting CEO Robert Velasco, will work with HandsOn Greater DC and US Veterans Initiative to prepare care packages for homeless veterans.
- Florida: 9/11 Tribute & Disaster Training Blitz Emergency preparedness trainings are planned statewide, including Broward County, Miami, Tampa and Jacksonville in conjunction with AmeriCorps programs. Click here for more information.
- Kentucky: In Louisville and New Albany, Service for Peace has partnered with Home Depot to revitalize six local firehouses.
- Louisiana: The East Jefferson Interfaith Clergy Association is holding an interfaith service project to beautify Kenner's Rivertown neighborhood including painting, landscaping, and restoration projects, followed by a meal of chicken gumbo—a symbol of common American and Louisianan citizenship.
- Maryland: More than 300 volunteers will come together at Fort Meade and build an entire KaBOOM! playground for children from military families.
- Michigan: An estimated 700 volunteers, including AmeriCorps members, youth and members of the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities, will take part in projects including park beautification, vacant lot clean-up, food packaging, and writing thank you cards to U.S. troops serving abroad.
- North Carolina: The Mission Continues will lead a renovation at the Beacon Independent Living Center in Charlotte which will allow for additional living quarters to provide 32 homeless veterans with food, shelter, and assistance reintegrating into the community.
- New Jersey: More than 400 students will participate in numerous service projects in the Montclair area such as park clean-ups; school supply drives for public school children; street sweeps in local townships; food collection and delivery; painting various local elementary schools; and sending letters to military personnel and their families to boost morale and show military support.
- Wisconsin: Serve Wisconsin will work with 28 AmeriCorps programs across the state to conduct a large commemoration and service project at Camp McCoy, including an art project in remembrance of 9/11, along with other projects across the state.
“Every day, volunteers of all ages are giving their time and talents to solve problems and make our country stronger. Whether tutoring at-risk students, providing job training to veterans, or responding to natural disasters, ordinary Americans are doing extraordinary things to improve the long-term health and vitality of the nation,” concluded Velasco. “Working together, we can usher in a new era in which all Americans are engaged in volunteer service to address local community challenges not only on 9/11, but year round.”