NEW YORK, Sept. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Organizers of the "September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance" (9/11 Day) have enlisted a new group of energized ambassadors to encourage Americans to observe 9/11 through charitable service: children who were born on the day of the tragedy. A total of 13,238 children were born in the U.S. on September 11, 2001, according to the Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics.
"Nearly a quarter of all Americans today are under age 18, and most have no or very limited memories of the attacks and their immediate aftermath," said David Paine, co-founder and president of MyGoodDeed, the nonprofit which created and annually organizes 9/11 Day each year. "If we truly want to keep our promise to 'never forget' the victims and heroes of 9/11, we need to begin passing the torch to this new generation of Americans, inspiring young people to pay tribute through good deeds." Paine co-founded 9/11 Day in 2002 with friend Jay Winuk, a 9/11 family member who lost his brother, attorney Glenn J. Winuk, a volunteer firefighter and EMT who died in the line of duty during the attacks.
"Born on 9/11" Children Appear in PSAs; Will Ring the NYSE Opening Bell on 9/11
This year 9/11 Day has launched "Born on 9/11," an integrated, national multi-media campaign, created pro bono by Grey New York to promote the 9/11 Day observance for 2015. The campaign's centerpiece is a new television public service announcement (PSA) featuring Hillary O'Neill, from Norwalk, CT, an optimistic, connected and can-do young lady born on September 11, 2001. Twenty-two other children born that day who helped inspire the campaign also appear in a web version of the video PSA, viewable on the 9/11 Day website, 911day.org. TV and radio PSAs are now airing around the country on the stations of several major networks. Digital PSAs are also appearing online.
Also for 9/11, the New York Stock Exchange has invited Hillary and seven other "Born on 9/11" children, along with 9/11 Day co-founders David Paine and Jay Winuk, to ring the NYSE Opening Bell. In addition to Hillary, children also scheduled to participate are: Peter Lopez from North Babylon, NY; Trevor Nayman from Monroeville, PA; Samantha Overstone from Methuen, MA; Anish Shrivastava from Robbinsville, NJ; Eamon Gara Grady from Manchester, CT; Jordan Silva from Windsor, CT; and Emily Berta from Rockaway, NJ. Grey New York's Chief Creative Officer Andreas Dahlqvist and Partner, Jason Kahner will also help ring the NYSE Opening Bell.
Teaching Children About 9/11
To help parents and teachers explain 9/11 to children in non-threatening ways and involve them in 9/11 Day, organizers have created nine different age-appropriate lesson plans along with videos, photos and teaching guides. These materials, created in collaboration with Scholastic, are available free of charge at the 9/11 Day website, 911day.org, and at http://scholastic.com/911day. As many as 40,000 classrooms nationwide are expected to use these materials this year, reaching more than one million students. The lesson plan program is funded in part through a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees federal support for the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.
Additional resources to assist individuals and organizations are also available at 911day.org, including toolkits, posters, logos and t-shirts, along with access to a nationwide listing of 9/11 Day volunteer projects, provided by All For Good and Volunteer Match.
Passing the Torch
"We've learned that young people overwhelmingly embrace the idea of doing good deeds on 9/11," says Winuk, co-founder and executive vice president of MyGoodDeed. "Understandably, this next generation may not fully grasp the cataclysmic effect 9/11 had on those of us who lived through it, but many clearly appreciate the importance of the day, want to understand it better, and are genuinely inspired to participate in how the nation now observes 9/11. Parents, teachers and members of the 9/11 community have a responsibility to articulate to young people why it is so important to learn about what happened and keep those lost in our hearts as a nation, and an opportunity to pay tribute by doing good deeds for others."
Hillary O'Neill shows there is room for optimism. "I like looking for the best in things," she says in the PSAs. "If we all do good deeds on 9/11, it'll add up." With a symbolic string tied around her index finger to mark the observance, she voices the call to action: "This 9/11 Day, do one good deed." The spot ends with a slate that says, "Share your good deed this #911Day" and invites viewers to learn more at 911day.org.
"When we interviewed these children born on 9/11, we quickly discovered that none of them wished their birthdays were different," said Andreas Dahlqvist, chief creative officer of Grey New York. "In fact, they feel strongly that they represent what's good in the world. They are very hopeful about the future and are determined to give back to others."
Grey New York recruited Bodega director Adam Reid to deliver his signature docu-style authenticity to the campaign. Shooting with limited gear and a skeleton crew, Reid casually filmed Hillary as she went through her day, bringing out her light spirit and mature perspective. Editing was provided by Academy Award-winning Rock Paper Scissors.
CBS, ABC, FOX and Viacom are among the media companies airing these PSAs, as are many of iHeart Media's 850+ affiliated radio stations. The National Association of Broadcasters is making the PSAs available to thousands of television and radio stations through the NAB Spot Center at https://psa.nab.org/.
Service Projects in Major Cities; National Partnerships with American Red Cross, Taproot Foundation
9/11 Day will co-host several volunteer service projects on September 10 and 11 in New York City; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Washington, DC; Boston; Philadelphia and Dallas. Additional service projects will be staged by countless organizations and national partners. Some of these include the American Red Cross, which is organizing hundreds of blood drives around the nation for 9/11; American Public Education Foundation, which is planning a nationwide Star-Spangled Banner Sing-Along with schools across the nation; and the Taproot Foundation, promoting a nationwide pro bono "Skills Service Day" for 9/11 and five Speed Consulting events for nonprofits across the country, sponsored by American Express. More info on these activities can be found at 911day.org.
About 9/11 Day
The 9/11 Day observance, created in 2002 and organized each year by the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization MyGoodDeed, has redefined how many Americans perceive and observe the anniversary. Recognized officially under bi-partisan federal law in 2009, "9/11 Day" is today the nation's largest annual day of charitable engagement and is expected to again inspire more than 40 million Americans to do good deeds this year on the anniversary of 9/11. Major supporters in 2015 include American Express, Target, Holland & Knight LLP, Grey New York, GlaxoSmithKline, Cantor Fitzgerald, Clarion Partners, iHeart Media, New York Stock Exchange, Viacom, AOL, the National Association of Broadcasters and the Corporation for National and Community Service. For more information, visit http://911day.org, or email [email protected].
SOURCE 9/11 Day