HOPE worldwide "We Won't Forget" Day of Service and Remembrance

Long before September 11 was officially designated as a National Day of Service and Remembrance, HOPE worldwide volunteers have honored the victims of the tragedy and those who served.  Our volunteers were at Ground Zero in New York City 10 years ago feeding rescue workers around the clock.  Additionally, our organization collected $275,000 to assist victims.  As the nation marks the 10th anniversary, HOPE worldwide chapters across the nation are once again planning service activities to commemorate the day known internationally by just 3 numbers “9/11.”

This year’s remembrance and service event called “We Won’t Forget” is an anchor for HOPE worldwide’s annual Season of Service and its efforts to support the “United We Serve” campaign.  HOPE worldwide, ltd. is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) faith-based non-profit public charity headquartered in Wayne, PA with programs in 68 countries and more than 100 U.S. cities.  HOPE worldwide chapters and their partners will build on the success of the 2010 September 11 service events, which engaged 900 volunteers in 16 chapters across the U.S. 

Organizations involved in “We Won’t Forget” events:

On September 11, 2010, HOPE worldwide chapters partnered with the International Churches of Christ in 16 cities and 47 community partners for a day of service.  After initial field reports, we expect to expand to more than 20 cities for 2011 and to significantly increase our volunteer and partner involvement.  We are projecting service events in New York City; Los Angeles; Boston; Atlanta; Champaign, IL; Gainesville, FL; Jacksonville, FL; Tampa, FL; Cincinnati, OH; Puerto Rico, Portland, OR; Perth Amboy, NJ; Colorado Springs, CO; Denver, CO; Dallas/Fort Worth, TX; Fort Wayne, IN; Fresno, CA; Bakersfield, CA; Northern VA (metro Washington, DC area); Pittsburgh, PA; Reno, NV; Springfield, MO; Wichita, KS; Tulsa, OK and Oklahoma City, OK.  

We also have a national Memorandum of Understanding with the American Red Cross to coordinate local blood drives, fire prevention outreach events and disaster training for volunteers.  Local partners include numerous food pantries such as those operated by the Salvation Army as well as local schools and school systems that are year-round partners.  Homeless services partners include Wyandanch (NY) Homes and Property Development Corporation, which provides transitional housing for homeless families, and Emily Rucker Shelter in Reston, VA.  In 2011, U.S. Marines and their families from the 1st Marine Corps Recruiting District, Garden City, NY, will participate in volunteer activities.  Several of these Marines have served in multiple deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn in Iraq and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Addressing a community need and commemorating the losses and honoring the sacrifices: 

Each of these projects supports a local identified need.  Homelessness or lack of basic essentials is a prominent theme for several projects. In 2010, more than 60 percent of the volunteer efforts on September 11 supported homeless shelters, food pantries or clothing drives for homeless or low-income families.  We expect similar results in 2011.  Other projects support ongoing HOPE worldwide educational programs.  Chapters use September 11 as a community organizing event to recruit children for Saturday Academy educational support programs as well as to educate local youth, most of whom were very young or not born in 2001, about the historic events. The youth are also encouraged to serve in projects such as school yard clean-ups.

Chapters design their own commemorations. For example in 2010, one chapter delivered baked goods to 26 fire departments and 3 military families. All projects must include time to reflect on the events of September 11 which could include a moment of silence, reflective poetry readings or sharing individual heroic stories.   Chapters also will be encouraged to share at least some names and/or photos of the victims and/or military members who have fallen since 2001. Chapters will be provided with searchable resources on the victims’ names such as the CNN online September 11 Memorial with ages, hometowns, employers and location of the incident (http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/memorial/lists/by-name/).  A list of fallen military members, compiled by Military Times will also be provided (http://www.militarytimes.com/valor/).  At event registrations, one victim’s printed name with some descriptive information will be given to volunteers to make a personal connection. 

The number of volunteers expected:

We expect at least 2,000 volunteers in 2011 and an expansion from 16 cities in 2010 to at least 20 cities in 2011.  Data on the volunteer numbers as well as volunteer contact information will be collected with sign-in volunteer sheets for CNCS audit purposes.  HOPE worldwide has templates available for chapters and has tracked volunteer numbers for other government grants including the AmeriCorps program.  Chapter directors will be trained on the specific information needed for each event and must reply with data by the end of the event date. This data also will include the number served as well as the names of partnering organizations.  Chapter directors use online surveys, generated by Google Documents, to report cumulative numbers to HOPE worldwide corporate staff.  Chapter directors will be required to keep all paper volunteer tallies on file in accordance with CNCS’s record retention policies. 

What volunteers will accomplish through their service:

Volunteers will be exposed to local community needs and will be part of local solution-based approaches to these challenges.  They will clean yards for single moms in transitional housing trying to escape homelessness, organize food and clothing drives and recruit youth for programs that can help them achieve more in school. More than 3,600 benefited from 2010 efforts and our goal is to surpass these numbers. 

Promoting the Day of Service and Remembrance: 

HOPE worldwide promotes this event through monthly training conference calls, email communications and training sessions such as our Global Summit in May and the Think Tank in December.  International Churches of Christ congregations regularly announce Sept. 11 service opportunities in their worship services, on their websites and in newsletters.  HOPE worldwide also produces a national press release promoting the event that is also published on www.hopeww.org.  Additionally, local chapters are provided talking points and templates to generate local coverage.