9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance
Melissa Golladay offered these wonderful service ideas for kids, which are especially appropriate on September 11.
In the last few years, 9/11 has grown from not only a day to remember those who were lost, but to also give back – a day of service and remembrance. By giving back, we remember and honor not only the sacrifices that were made that day, but also the way our community came together to heal and move forward. And while 9/11 falls in the middle of the school week this year, there are still plenty of ways to serve and to get your kids involved.
One of my favorite fall service projects is native seed collecting. Where we live, watershed areas are especially vulnerable to non-native plants and the destruction they cause. Watersheds depend on deep root structures to hold river banks and prevent run-off of toxins into the river. But non-native plants like eucalyptus don’t offer the root structures needed for this. There are various organizations that collect native seeds to re-plant local communities, not just watersheds. A google search should help you identify your local conservation organizations.
Native seed collection
Seed collecting is a perfect activity for kids. Not only do they get a lesson in ecology and service, but they get to run around a park collecting seeds (which my daughter does just for fun all the time). The tricky part is determining which seed is which and that’s where grown up help is needed.
In my community, you can collect on your own and then just drop off the seeds at a local drop off site with Potomac Conservancy (the 2013 season hasn’t started, but you can use the tools to start collecting now and hold on to them until drop offs open).
Honoring veterans and military families
Especially on 9/11, we should remember to support and serve those who risk their lives for us everyday. A simple note or care package goes a long way to boosting morale for those serving in the armed forces. Help your child write a letter thanking them for their service. You can identify a veteran in your community to give it to or drop it off at the local national guard office.
You can also just go to www.911day.org and make a pledge to do a good deed. Weed or water your elderly neighbors garden, donate non-perishable food, clean up trash from the playground. Any deed counts. Then show your child how they’ve joined 1,000s of other people across the US in doing a good deed on the 911day website quilt.
Youth Service America also offers great resources for linking these activities to 9/11 as well as some other service ideas for older kids.
I hope these help to get you started and find a proactive way to remember the tragic events of 9/11. Remember that every good deed and effort counts, no matter how small. Margaret Mead once said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, its the only thing that ever has.”