Tuesday's Children-"Helping Heals"

 

A nonprofit family service organization, Tuesday’s Children has made a commitment to the needs of every 9/11 family. One of Tuesday’s Children’s core competencies is the philosophy that “helping heals”.  By helping others, the families of Tuesday’s Children move forward, both by going through the grief process and by building their resilience.  Tuesday’s Children provides programs to those directly impacted by September 11th, including families of those lost as well as responders and their families.  Services include mentoring, educational and career guidance, leadership training, and parenting and life management programs.

 

In the conviction that strong families make for strong children, we have spent the last decade working with more than 1,500 families who lost a loved one on 9/11, including more than 3,000 children and more than 5,500 individuals from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Washington, DC. Through the First Responder Alliance Tuesday’s Children serves more than 900 rescue and recovery workers and their families with approximately 2,250 children and 4,050 individuals. Through Project COMMON BOND we have so far united 225 children from 11 different countries and territories.

 

In promoting volunteer activities and community service projects, Tuesday’s Children has created partnerships with many organizations. Those we are working with for the 9/11 Day of Service include: the Airlift Research Foundation,BrooklynMemorialGarden, Hope for the Warriors,Iraqand Afghanistan Veterans, My Good Deed/9/11 Day of Service,TributeWTCVisitorCenterand Wounded Warrior Project on service projects in August and September 2011.

 

Leading up to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, working with professional art therapists, children enrolled with Tuesday’s Children will be creating “Postcards for Peace”.   The project asks children to artistically express what peace means to them.  All the postcards will be donated and placed in an art installation at the Tribute WTC Visitor Center.  The exhibit will educate others as well as support the museum that has given so much to the community, to tourists visitingNew York City and to the families of Tuesday’s Children. We hope to fill the gallery with the dozens of postcards we have received.

 

Acting on input from many registered families who would like to give back to our military, Tuesday’s Children is compiling a collection of letters to be given soldiers.  Family members of 9/11 victims and responders have lovingly written letters that show their deepest appreciation for the sacrifices of our nation’s heroes.  Tuesday’s Children will work leaders in the field of veteran’s affairs to deliver the book into the hands of soldiers.  We are calling the project “Hello to Heroes” and we are honored to be sending our letters of admiration and gratitude to those that give so much to our country.  Our first book project brought in over 215 letters.

 

Aside from volunteer activities taking place around the anniversary of 9/11 every year Tuesday’s Children gives back to the community on Make a Difference Day in October. We estimate about 100 people coming together on this annual event.  In the past we have partnered with Children for Children, NY Says Thank You, Philadelphia Children’s Hospital and many other notable organizations.  This year, to remember all those lost, we are revitalizing the 9/11MemorialGarden.  Families will be able to see their hard work in their plantings for the greater community to enjoy in this special place of reflection and remembrance.  The day will include a ceremony to show respect and pay tribute to those who are missed by so many.

 

We expect to have hundreds of volunteers work with us on these various projects.  We will encourage each of them to get involved and be part of each of these special projects.  By issuing press releases, utilizing social media and by word of mouth, we are very confident that we will be able to reach a large audience with our community work.  Outcomes from volunteer activities will be disseminated to our contact list through our newsletter (circulation 17,000). Like any program Tuesday’s Children hosts, we will track the participation of all volunteers and acknowledge their work.  We will ask each participant to complete a registration form and a waiver for the project.  Our staff will collect responses, update each member of the volunteer team with our progress and send pictures from the events to all volunteers and our contact list.  At the end of the initiative, we will send volunteers a Tuesday’s Children certificate commemorating their service.

 

As Tuesday’s Children continues its mission well beyond the 10th anniversary, we will maintain programs that our families consider traditions.  We offer young adults a chance to give back to disaster-ravaged communities in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and through our Helping Heals program.  Groups have traveled on service projects to locations includingCosta Rica,New Orleans and Bay St. Louis to rebuild homes and schools.  These efforts have helped other families in need rebuild their lives after tragedy and have shown participants they can make a difference.  Each year, our Project COMMON BOND Program, a week-long symposium for young adults, internationally, who have lost a loved one to an act of terrorism, provides participants the opportunity to give back by completing a service project.  For example, in 2009, our Project COMMON BOND teens rejuvenated a community inPhiladelphia through Philadelphia Cares. 

 

Our daily mission is to commemorate the losses on 9/11 by supporting those who lost so much that day and those who responded in the aftermath of the tragedy.  We know from testimonials and increasing participation numbers that indivuals thrive on the opportunity to help others.  Tuesday’s Children has a proven track record of promoting a sense of accomplishment, especially in the Helping Heals program. The families of Tuesday’s Children recognize all that was given to them in their time of turmoil and sadness.  They feel that it is not only their responsibility to “pay it forward,” but that it allows them to keep their loved one’s memory alive when they can do something impactful for others while doing something in their memory.