In Real Life Blog Series: Michigan Residents Unite for 9/11 Day of Service

Jason Alexander, Michigan Community Service Commission
September 30th, 2016
Posted In: Events

To commemorate the fifteenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, thousands of Michigan residents came together to volunteer as part of the 9/11 Day of Service. Their efforts aligned with the nationwide work of “Tomorrow Together,” a coalition of more than 20 nonprofit organizations that organized diversity service projects, brought generations together for community service, and helped teach empathy and unity to America’s youth.

student-leadershipStudent Leadership Services, a Michigan nonprofit group that provides youth-led health and safety programs, organized students in eight Michigan high schools to lead 9/11 projects to help raise awareness and prepare their school and community for disaster. Student Leadership Services program director Dawn Flood expects the projects to engage 400 volunteers and reach 6,000 students. Each group of students put their own ideas into the 9/11 projects and brainstormed ways that would most actively engage their classmates. Students at Waterford Mott High School kicked off their project distributing disaster and emergency preparedness information to classmates.

“We really care about the students here. We want no injuries. No chaos. We want everyone to be safe,” said student leader and Waterford Mott junior Benjamin Goss. “Students might not remember all of this information, but we will be there along the way to aid them.”

Goss said the group will continue pushing the message of safety year-round with a variety of activities, including an art project that encourages students to imagine the emotions that would follow a disaster and create pieces of art reflecting those emotions.

Michigan organizations, supported by the Michigan Community Service Commision (MCSC), led a total of 10 projects across the state that focused on disaster and emergency preparedness and supported veterans, military families, and first responders. Mentors played a key role in projects as students advised classmates about the importance of being prepared and local “heroes” educated youth about what happens during emergencies. These projects engaged nearly 1,500 volunteers in more than 5,000 volunteer hours, benefitting more than 7,000 Michigan residents.

“We’ve seen presentations before where students sit with their head down,” said student Caitlin Rahn. “We wanted to do something different to keep them interested and let them know there is help if they need it.”

“Mentoring and volunteerism play a crucial role in disaster preparedness and keeping communities safe,” MCSC Executive Director Ginna Holmes said. “We are thankful to all the great mentors who stepped forward to inspire and educate youth in the spirit of 9/11.”

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