Community College Initiative (CCI) Program participants across CCI host colleges are paying tribute through community service in their host communities in observance of the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.
On Saturday, September 10, 2022, CCI participants at College of DuPage volunteered at the Northern Illinois Food Bank. The day consisted of filling and organizing food packages. With their dedication, participants were able to pack food orders for over 149 families; this is the equivalent of 3,229 meals for families in northern Illinois. Houston Community College CCI participants volunteered at Ernest McGowen Sr. Elementary School. Volunteer activities included painting school benches, adding new plants to the community garden, revamping the teachers’ lounge and students’ pod area. Valencia College participants volunteered at the Second Harvest Food Bank; an organization that ensures families in the need are fed throughout Central Florida. Together, participants and the program coordinator managed to put together 425 boxes in two hours, ensuring 425 families will not go hungry this week! Mesa Community College participants honored 9/11 victims at an annual memorial in Tempe, Arizona.
Meanwhile, Kirkwood Community College participants spent time at the Central Furniture Rescue where they sorted through donated furniture items; assessed the quality of donations; and delivered furniture pieces to families in need. Doaa Ibrahim, a CCI participant from Egypt, reflected on this experience, “Central Furniture inspires me to do something similar back home or at least share the way they help people and the kinds of things they support them with. Volunteering with them for these few hours was an opportunity to give back, which is something I love, helping someone even I didn’t ever meet before. It is the best shape of humanity.”
Northern Virginia Community College are honoring 9/11 in a two-part event. First on September 9, 2022, participants attended a special session titled “Moving Forward After Tragedy” which featured Dave Nanney, a 9/11 survivor. Nanney spent almost 42 years of his career working at the Pentagon in the information technology sector. On September 11, 2001, Nanney was onsite, at a workstation very close to the area where the building was attacked. Participants were interested to learn about how the U.S., and specifically those working at the Pentagon, were able to move forward from this experience. Second, NOVA participants will volunteer their time by holding a cleanup effort to improve a local park.
Activities in observance of 9/11 will continue throughout the month of September. On Saturday, September 17, 2022, CCI participants at Sinclair Community College plan to spend the day volunteering at Dayton Hispanic Festival. Participants will spend time distributing soda and water to the many volunteers that will be coordinating the event while also offering a helping hand at a variety of stations at the festival. On Saturday, September 24, 2022, Fox Valley Technical College CCI participants will plant native species of plants around the water’s edge of Fox River. They will also contribute to a storage shed preservation project. On Sunday, September 25, Northampton Community College participants are scheduled to volunteer at the Lehigh Valley 9/11 Heroes Run which will take place at Parkland Highschool in Orefield, Philadelphia. Participants will support the organizers to put up and break down the event, and help the vendors as needed throughout the day. They will also support at the water stations and cheer on the runners.
Through these activities, CCI participants reinforce their commitment of supporting local organizations and initiatives. Community engagement activities, as the ones mentioned, also promote mutual understanding, tolerance, and respect as CCI participants and members of the local community work side by side with one shared goal.