What are you doing on September 11?

By Julia Smith and Diana Hsu.


The National September 11 Memorial and Museum is just one venue seeking volunteers. Photo via magnify.net (Flickr/Creative Commons)

Earlier today, we tweeted, “Wondering: How are you spending September 11th?” Replies ranged from interning at a hospital (@dva136) to supporting a fundraiser in Portland (@GeezerGallery) to attending a film festival in NYC (@thepete).

What about you? Maybe you’re opting for quiet reflection this year. Maybe, like Baratunde Thurston, you’ll celebrate a birthday. Maybe you’re leaning toward volunteering in your community.

If that last idea has been on your mind, here’s one thing to consider: This year, to mark the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, MyGoodDeed and HandsOn Network are organizing the largest day of service in United States history.

Below are just a few of the events and volunteer opportunities listed on Idealist for this weekend. For more ideas, visit 911dayofservice.org, the official website of the September 11th Day of Service and Remembrance.


Volunteer opportunities

For more ways to get involved this weekend and beyond, search Idealist.org. And please let us know how you’re planning to spend the weekend.

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Postcard from New York: September 11th and the "Compassion Boom"

Joanna Eng, our Web Editor and the editor of the Idealist in NYC blog, had the opportunity to watch speakers and entertainers—including Hillary Clinton, David Paterson, Caroline Kennedy, Gavin DeGraw, and the Roots—last Friday as they commemorated the newly-deemed September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. Following are some excerpts from her blog post about the experience. Read the full entry here.

By Flickr user Sister72 (Creative Commons)

So many of the acts of kindness performed on and after 9/11 inspired others to take action too: Secretary of State Clinton marveled at the thousands of people from out of town who converged on our city to help with relief and recovery efforts, and people across the country who organized benefit concerts to help fund relief efforts. A few years later, many New Yorkers decided to return the favor by traveling down to Louisiana and Mississippi to assist with relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina.

After Cindy McGinty’s husband was killed on September 11, her neighbor, who had a local landscaping business, came to mow her lawn for free every single week for eight years, until McGinty moved out of town. She later decided to help start the nonprofit Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund and serve on its board of directors, but she said that she would never have thought of doing anything like that if her generous neighbor hadn’t inspired her towards service.

Glenn Winuk was a volunteer firefighter from Jericho, Long Island, who lost his life in the 9/11 attacks. His death and service propelled his brother, Jay Winuk, to co-found My Good Deed.

In his closing speech, Winuk described the Day of Service and Remembrance as a “forward-looking, caring, useful way” for us to remember September 11. Another speaker, Nicola Goren (acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs AmeriCorps), saw it as just one more way to formalize the fact that “a bona fide compassion boom is evident.” People throughout the country found ways to volunteer on Friday, but my guess is that for most of them (and most of us at the event that evening), the commitment to public service lasts year round.

[This blog entry appeared on an older version of Idealist; any broken links are a result of having re-launched our site in Fall 2010.]

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