9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance Rekindles Spirit of Unity
NEW YORK, Sept. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Millions of Americans across the country are expected to observe today's 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by engaging in charitable service and good deeds, answering the call of the spirited "I Will" campaign launched this summer with the goal of organizing the single largest day of charitable service in U.S. history in tribute to the 9/11 victims and survivors, and all those who rose in service in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The "I Will" campaign has been lead by the 9/11 Day nonprofit MyGoodDeed, which helped create the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, and HandsOn Network, the volunteer activation division of Points of Light Institute. These organizations joined with many others to encourage Americans to rekindle the spirit of unity and service that existed immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Over the past few weeks, this effort gained tremendous grassroots and national momentum, fueled by the support of many prominent celebrities including Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, Dwight Howard, Nick Cannon, George Lopez, Jordin Sparks, Hope Solo, Nas, Steve Harvey, Michael Strahan, Maria Shriver, Patti LaBelle, Freddy Adu and Julianne Moore. Many appeared in the group's inspiring television public service announcements, while others posted support messages through Facebook or Twitter.
Since June, Americans and others have posted more than 100,000 good deed "tributes" on Facebook.com/911day and http://www.911day.org, covering all 50 states and many nations around the world. Tributes range from volunteering to pick up trash, restoring playgrounds and building homes to bringing lunch to firefighters, children doing dishes for their parents, calling and reconnecting with friends and giving free haircuts to military personnel.
Independent research conducted by Los Angeles-based Horizon Consumer Science projects that as many as 33 million Americans will observe this 9/11 by engaging in some form of charitable service activity.
"It is a humbling experience to see the nation rally around the idea of the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance," said David Paine, co-founder and president of MyGoodDeed. "We hope to continue to build upon this to create a positive legacy for generations to come."
HandsOn Network estimates that anywhere from 600,000 to as many as one million actions of volunteer service will happen this weekend. Large-scale volunteer service projects organized by HandsOn Network affiliates spanned 24 cities, including Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. as well as many others.
"Today's 10th anniversary, and every anniversary of this tragic day, we will remember. But, we will do more than that – at our best, our nation addresses challenges and tragedy not with a negative response, but with compassion, generosity and action," said Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute.
In New York City, New York Cares' volunteers will revitalized P.S. 140 in the Lower East Side, pack emergency preparedness kits, plant a neighborhood garden and provide services to local seniors and immigrants. HandsOn Bay Area in San Francisco partnered with the local American Legion and the office of the mayor to engage in citywide projects like urban farming, disaster preparedness training and renovated homeless shelters. Volunteers with Boston Cares will prepare care packages for active duty service members and their families, hold blood drives and assemble cots and other supplies for use at emergency evacuation shelters. In our nation's capital HandsOn Greater DC Cares will organize a service event in Freedom Park allowing volunteers to engage in "mobile service projects" and sign up for long-term commitments with local nonprofits. Participation in Washington, D.C. increased 84 percent from last year, filling a majority of their 10,000 volunteer slots in advance. Smaller projects being held across the country include school transformations, park revitalization, emergency preparedness trainings and more.
"This observance captures the desire of millions of people to pay tribute, as well as our collective determination to never forget those lost, the injured, and the many who rose in service in response to the attacks," said Jay S. Winuk, vice-president and co-founder of MyGoodDeed, and brother of Glenn J. Winuk, an attorney, volunteer firefighter and EMT who died in the line of duty on Sept. 11, 2001. "The level of participation in this year's 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance observance is historic, heartwarming and meaningful, as together we help make the world a bit better for those in need."
Partnering with MyGoodDeed and HandsOn Network to achieve this service milestone were the 9/11 Memorial, Business Civic Leadership Center of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, AARP, The Mission Continues and the CNCS. Many other leading national service organizations also participated actively in promoting the observance in collaboration with these principal organizations.
The 9/11 Day Observance received record financial support in 2011, lead by American Express, which donated one million dollars, along with GlaxoSmithKline, JPMorgan Chase and Best Buy, which each donated half a million. All of these organizations also engaged their employees in a range of service projects. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimated that as many as 1,000 employers joined in participating in the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance this year, the largest outpouring of support from Corporate America since the 2001 attacks. Millions in donated media for the 9/11 Day PSA campaign also came from key partnerships with Viacom, ClearChannel, AOL and the National Association of Broadcasters. Additional supporters included Target, Bank of America, Holland & Knight, KBW, Northrop Grumman, Neiman Marcus, University of Phoenix, UPS, GGP, NASCAR, Groupon and in-kind support from the Gap Inc.
About 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance
The 9/11 nonprofit MyGoodDeed and HandsOn Network, the volunteer activation division of Points of Light Institute, joined together to encourage all Americans to commemorate the anniversary of Sept. 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance, leading the efforts to inspire one million acts of charitable service in tribute to the victims, survivors and those who rose to service in response to the attacks 10 years ago.