Topeka Kansas 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance

Learning in the Community (LinC):  The Center for Community Service and Civic Engagement

Washburn University

1700 SW College Ave

Topeka, KS 66621 

Our 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance will give the citizens of Topeka and surrounding areas the opportunity to remember and honor the service and sacrifice of those Americans who lost their lives or loved ones on 9/11/01 while meeting an ongoing need in the community to supply free food and clothing to people living in poverty.

 On Tuesday, August 30, 2011, Washburn AmeriCorps Bonner Leaders and other volunteers will place 2977 flyers (commemorating the number of lives lost on 9/11/01) on the doors of Topeka residents asking them to donate a bag of gently used clothing and/or food.   All flyers and other publicity will clearly state that the donations being made and the time being volunteered will commemorate the sacrifice and service of those 9/11 victims and responders and their families and friends.  It will also include an invitation to the 9/11 Service of Remembrance and an invitation to tell their personal story about 9/11 or to send a message of thanks to local fire and police personnel.   All publicity will also encourage individuals to continue to do community service of their own choosing in remembrance of 9/11.

 On Friday, September 9, 2011, volunteers will go door-to-door to collect the donations of food and clothing, bringing it to a central location. Other Topeka and Shawnee County residents will also be encouraged through public service ads and other publicity to drop off bags of gently used clothing and food at this location.  There volunteers will sort the donations and help to distribute them to the several participating helping agencies.  The agencies will then recruit volunteers to pick up, sort, store and distribute the donations that they receive.  

 Also on September 9, a flash mob will appear at several Topeka locations to sing patriotic songs and distribute information about the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance.

 On September 11, 2011, a Service of Remembrance will be held on the Washburn University Campus.  The service is being planned by a Topeka ecumenical group that encompasses several world religions around the theme of “Building Bridges, Not Walls.”  This event will also celebrate the value of service in remembrance of the sacrifice and service of 9/11 victims and first responders. 

 Other activities planned for the 9/11 Day of Remembrance include an art activity for children and an opportunity for individuals to record their memories of 9/11/01 and how they have or will translate their appreciation of the service of the 9/11 responders into service of their own. 

 Organizations that will be involved in the service activity include Washburn University AmeriCorps Bonner Leaders who will recruit other Washburn students and student organizations, faculty and staff; Washburn AmeriCorps VISTA members; Staff and volunteers at Harvesters, Antioch Family Life Center, Breakthrough House, Doorstep, Let’s Help, Red Cross, Amisted Y Fe, El Centro, Oakland Nazarene Church, Highland Park United Methodist Church, Community Action, Randel Ministries, Salvation Army, Topeka Mission, Caring Pregnancy Options, Center for Safety and Empowerment, Joyful Harvest Church, Let There Be Light, Sullivan Chapel, St. Matthew Church, Washburn Free Store; Shawnee County RSVP volunteers; Foster Grandparent Program of NE Kansas who will disseminate information and recruit others in the places where they volunteer; The United Way of Greater Topeka; Topeka and Shawnee County fire and law enforcement agencies; and Topeka radio, television and print media.

 We estimate that 265 volunteers will participate in the service project including 120 Washburn AmeriCorps members, students, faculty and staff; 60 community members volunteering through the United Way Nancy Perry Day of Caring; 30 Senior Corps members; and 55 volunteers from local helping agencies.   This does not take into consideration the number of people who will donate food and clothing.

 In addition to distributing flyers to the 2977 residences in Topeka, we intend to promote the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance by writing and encouraging the use of Public Service Announcements on local radio and by arranging for interviews on local television and radio shows including Kansas Public Radio.  We will distribute a press release to all local news outlets and will also arrange for personal interest stories in the Topeka Capital Journal and the Washburn Review.  Two distinct flyers will be designed - one for the 2977 residents who will be asked to leave a bag of clothing and food on their doorstep for pickup and one for distribution to the general public.   We will distribute flyers on the Washburn campus, through Foster Grandparents, at various public events in August and early September and via the flash mob on 9/09.  We also will make use of social media including an email blast to campus faculty and staff, the creation of a webpage and the creation of a Facebook event.

 We will track and document volunteer participation in the following manner.  The Washburn AmeriCorps members will track their time using the BWBRS system that is in place to track student volunteer hours.  Community volunteers serving either before or on the day of the event will be asked to sign in and out on a paper form.  The time of community members serving at the helping agencies to sort and store clothing will be tracked by those agencies and reported to the Washburn LinC office.