While September 11, 2001 will always be remembered as a day of terrible loss, it is also the National Day of Service and Remembrance and a forward-looking tribute. Each year, we honor the victims, first responders and citizens who stepped up to serve our nation on and after 9/11 through tributes, memorial services and volunteerism.
Volunteers are active in most community catastrophes or tragedies – from terrorism, to natural disasters, to local conflicts. And did you know that 70 percent of global volunteer activity occurs directly through informal engagement between individuals – not through a formal organization that coordinates larger scale efforts? Volunteers are the thread that binds communities together, according to the latest State of the World's Volunteerism Report 2018.
Our National Day of Service and Remembrance brings us together, too. Across the United States, volunteers have joined the fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community – like those with United Way Suncoast. More than 200 people came together this month to honor veterans at the Bay Pines Veterans Affairs campus near St. Petersburg, Florida by sprucing up plant beds, sorting donated items, cleaning the shoreline and more.
Elsewhere, volunteers participated in weekly tutoring sessions with students, or coached adults struggling financially on how to better manage their income, or hosted a field day to teach kids healthy habits. Volunteers like these and others who show up week in and week out to sort donations, assist with office work and perform other tasks make it possible for United Way and our social change partners to tackle pervasive poverty head on, building a more resilient and equitable nation for all.
Volunteering today and every day is a way to honor the memory of 9/11, build a brighter future and bring out the best in us, here in the US, and around the world. Ready to join us and Live United? Contact your local United Way.