Service in the Name of Loved Ones Lost
MA 9/11 Fund, Inc. submission to the CNCS 9/11 Challenge
The MA 9/11 Fund, Inc. is an all volunteer organization that was started in December, 2001, to support the families of those with Massachusetts ties who lost loved ones on September 11. Unique outside of the tri-state area [New York, Connecticut and New Jersey], the Fund provides a support network to encourage the increased resiliency and healing of those whose lives have been forever changed. There are 206 individuals who had Massachusetts ties at the time of their deaths on 9/11/01 and, in response, their surviving family members have started more than 130 volunteer initiatives including scholarships, memorial programs, educational initiatives and community service projects. Several of our partners in the Boston area include Boston Cares, the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, Catholic Charities, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army – all of whom are dedicated to the continued proliferation and strengthening of service programs and projects.
The families of the Fund have been providing service projects each quarter for more than four years. Service to the communities who have been so supportive to these families has been the natural outgrowth of the love shown to these survivors. Projects include working hands-on assisting food pantries and participating in Habitat for Humanity home construction.
For years prior to Senator Kennedy’s Serve America initiative, family members received strong personal encouragement from the Senator to take their losses and leverage the pain they suffered into energy that can care for others. As he did in his life, so have the family members whose lives were touched by his dedicated support for them – they all have made service their passion.
This year, we will begin our tenth commemoration of 9/11 with our tenth wreath laying ceremony which involves Boston Mayor Thomas Menino sharing a quiet, contemplative ceremony with many family members at the 9/11 Memorial Garden in the Boston Public Garden. The next portion of our event involves a more public gathering outside the Massachusetts State House which includes a flag lowering, a moment of silence at 8:46AM, remarks by Governor Deval Patrick, and the reading of the names of the Massachusetts residents who were lost in 9/11.
One of our partners, mentioned earlier, is Boston Cares, is working with us and a Massachusetts treasure - Robert Guillemin of ArtStreet (aka, Sidewalk Sam) to create a mural on City Hall Plaza that is thematically geared toward the day. Utilizing our logo as the template, he will be using chalk and paint techniques to involve both the surviving family members and members of the general public in the creation of a tribute piece of street art.
Family members are participating with the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund event on the Rose Kennedy Greenway where they will be putting together care packages for active duty personnel and writing letters to be included in the packages.
We are working with our Boston Cares partner to support family members and others of the general public who want to do charcoal rubbings of the names of those lost that are engraved on the stone in the Boston Public Garden. Other family members are participating as speakers for many of the satellite commemorative events which also have service themes that will occur throughout the state including in Newton, Concord, Tewksbury, Plymouth and Worcester, Massachusetts.