In observance of the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, Community College Initiative (CCI) Program participants at all CCI host colleges paid tribute through volunteering in their host communities.
On September 9, participants at Valencia College in Florida attended a virtual “9/11: The Day That Changed America” event which featured reflections from a roundtable representing people, professions, religious communities and others who felt the most direct impact of the September 11 attacks. The following day, on September 10, the participants volunteered at Second Harvest of Central Florida preparing food to be distributed to local area food pantries, soup kitchens, women’s shelters, senior centers and daycare centers. Many of the participants reported being inspired by Second Harvest’s mission and plan to make volunteering at the food bank part of their weekly routines.
At Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) in Virginia, CCI participants learned the tragic history and impact of the 9/11 attacks during their Friday morning U.S. Culture, Society, and Institutions class. Later that day, they traveled to Sandy Point State Park near the Maryland-Virginia border to lead a beach and park cleanup. Jennifer Stangland, Program Coordinator for the CCI Program at NOVA shared, “Our 9/11 Day of Service was a poignant reminder for me that we can’t wait for a need to slap us in the face; if we all take a moment to look a bit deeper in order to discover the needs of our community, we can then work together to make a profound, and very necessary, impact.”
The next day participants volunteered throughout Washington D.C at both the annual Arlington Police, Fire, Sheriff, and ECC 9/11 Memorial 5K and at a 9/11 Meal Packing event, supported by the Mayor’s Office, AmeriCorps and 700 other volunteers ultimately the event packed over 200,000 meals! Likewise, an hour away in Baltimore, Maryland CCI participants at the Community College of Baltimore County volunteered to guide runners as course marshalls for the Mercy Run to Remember.
In Wisconsin, participants at Fox Valley Technical College started their day learning about 9/11 and watching a 20th-anniversary video. Later, they welcomed the co-founder of Miles for Myeloma a non-profit supporting the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and heard about the significance that his program and volunteering, at large, has on communities and improving the lives of others. After the presentation, the participants accompanied the co-founder to volunteer at the annual Miles for Myeloma 5K event.
That same Friday, at the College of DuPage in Illinois, CCI participants volunteered at Cradles to Crayons organizing donations of clothing, shoes, books and toys to be distributed to local children in need of support.
On September 11, the participants at Jamestown Community College in New York volunteered to paint historical markers with the Jamestown Parks and Recreations Department. Program Coordinator Lena Young shared, “The students will leave a little piece of themselves behind in Jamestown. These signs will be visible from the road at each of the historical locations and will have the paint that our students applied.”
Participants at Snow College in Utah met with volunteers at their City Hall for a community and highway clean-up organized by Just Serve. Similarly, in Cedar Rapids Iowa, the participants at Kirkwood Community College (KCC) joined their community to volunteer for United Way’s 9/11 Day of Service. During the project, they packaged 1000 Family Emergency Preparedness Disaster Kits to distribute to underserved populations in Cedar Rapids. Additionally, the participants at KCC also took the initiative by helping to lead the Get Involved Fair on campus connecting other students with volunteer opportunities in the local community.
In Houston, Texas the cohort of CCI participants volunteered at the Houston Food Bank prepping meals for distribution throughout the community. Later in the month on September 24, the cohort of CCI participants at Sinclair Community College spent the day volunteering at the St. Vincent de Paul Central Kitchen in Dayton Ohio preparing meals for the local family and men’s shelters.
Finally, on September 26, the participants at Northampton Community College (NCC) in Pennsylvania volunteered at the local 9/11 Heroes Run. “For our students volunteering was an amazing and wonderful experience! Participants were able to meet local veterans, service workers, community leaders, and event organizers. Together, they were proud to cherish, honor, and remember the legacy of the heroes of September 11”, shared Amber Gore, Program Coordinator for the CCI Program at NCC.
CCI participants’ volunteerism across the United States demonstrates the somber solidarity of the international community in observance of the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. Through their dedication to their community, 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.”