In observance of the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, Community College Initiative (CCI) Program participants at all CCI host colleges volunteered on campus and in their host communities.
On September 11, participants at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona learned about the history of the 9/11 attacks during their U.S. Culture, Society, and Institutions class. After the class meeting, they cleaned the Peace Memorial Garden located on Scottsdale’s campus. The garden, which was founded September 11, 2002, includes a Peace Pole with “May Peace Prevail on Earth” written in 12 languages. There are two saguaros representing the Twin Towers, a barrel cactus to represent the Pentagon, and a hedgehog cactus representing the Pennsylvania field. CCI participant Carlos Aguilar Duarte from Colombia said, “We had a shared feeling with Americans and understand how American people felt on that day. [Volunteering] was a good way to develop our sense of solidarity.”
On campus at Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania, CCI participants helped with the 9/11 exhibit (pictured in header), and learned how to properly fold the American flag when putting the display away.
Later in the week, CCI participants at College of DuPage and Kirkwood Community College worked on local projects with Habitat for Humanity, a national nonprofit that helps provide families in need with quality affordable housing. In Illinois, participants volunteered in Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore Warehouse by measuring and organizing construction materials. Meanwhile in Iowa, participants helped with the construction of two houses in a nearby community.
Participants at Valencia College in Florida volunteered at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida where they sorted donated food items to be distributed to various nutrition programs in the region. Many of the participants have been inspired by Second Harvest’s mission and plan to make volunteering at the food bank part of their weekly routine.
Finally on Saturday, September 14, CCI participants at Bunker Hill Community College, Mesa Community College, and Northern Virginia Community College volunteered to help facilitate the 9/11 Heroes Run races in their host cities. Each year, local volunteers organize 9/11 Heroes Runs on behalf of the Travis Manion Foundation in more than 50 cities around the world “to honor fallen heroes.” The CCI participants at Houston Community College volunteered with The Mission Continues, a nonprofit organization that works to empower veterans across the United States. Together with veterans and non-veterans in the Houston 5th Service Platoon, the Houston participants helped create a park in East End District in remembrance of 9/11.
CCI participants’ involvement in these activities across the United States demonstrate the solidarity of the international community in observance of 9/11 Day. Through their volunteer work, CCI participants honored the 9/11 Day mission “to transform 9/11 from a day of tragedy into a day of service, unity, and peace.”