With the 10th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11 approaching OneOC, in partnership with the HandsOn Network, MyGoodDeed.org, KidWorks, the Center for Spiritual Living, the City of Santa Ana and Santa Ana Unified School District, is planning a week filled with service activities to remember and honor those who lost their lives. On Sunday, September 11th the signature event will take place in Santa Ana with KidWorks serving as the hub. This event will focus on projects that bring the community together and improve the lives of people living in the neighborhood that KidWorks impacts through partnerships with local schools, government, law enforcement, city parks and veteran support organizations. Projects will include murals, gardening and other beautification activities.
One of the highlights of the remembrance activities will be a large scale volunteer outreach event. The goal of this event will be to raise awareness of the needs in the community and reach an audience that may not know how to become personally involved. The spirit of the event will focus on paying tribute to those who lost their lives in the attacks and reaffirming the solidarity that was felt around the country as people came together to help recover after September 11, 2001. The volunteer outreach event will harness the emotion surrounding the 10th anniversary and channel it through commitment to meaningful service and will be lead by AmeriCorps VIP’s from ten nonprofits within the Orange County area. Attendees will be encouraged to connect with a nonprofit and make a pledge to serve in the next year. They will receive tribute cards that profile an individual who lost their life in the attack and asked to honor their legacy through service.
In addition to planned community service activities, One OC will engage additional organizations, including schools, businesses, and faith-based groups, in support the 9/11 Day of Service by providing toolkits for tribute events that can be held at any location. Organizations can sign up to receive one or more of our project toolkits that will be completed by the 9/11 tribute event. Projects include letter writing campaigns for our service men and women, putting together kits for wounded warriors or making scarves for those deployed. One OC has developed detailed toolkits for the following projects: Blue Star Families – Military Families Letter Campaign, Wounded Warriors – Care Packages Donation Drive, Operation Gratitude – Active Duty Scarves Project, United We Serve – Disaster Preparedness and Local Heroes – OC Fire & Police Gratitude Kits.
A key component to all activities will be opening activities that are lead by trained Service Leaders who will explain the importance of coming together in service to remember those who lost their lives and those who continue to serve in the military. For example RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) will provide a 30 minute toolkit presentation at local senior centers, designed to help personally organize, prepare and become a positive addition to a community-based organization, or a well-organized independent group that fills a critical gap, in times of disaster. Tribute cards will also be utilized to bring additional attention to the purpose of the day and encourage volunteers to continue serving throughout the year.
For the majority of volunteers HandsOn Technology will be utilized to directly collect data including attendance, demographics and feedback. Certain targeted populations will have limitations around access and literacy when it comes to technology. Alternative forms of collection will be utilized to gather accurate data. Volunteer Leaders will be trained to ensure all volunteers participating are appropriately tracked for attendance and feedback. It is expected that over 1,000 volunteers will participate in service activities and an additional 1,000 will participate in the volunteer commitment activity.
OneOC is currently establishing a media sponsor to support additional print, television and online advertisements. Included in this list is existing relationships with the Orange County Register, KTLA, KFI as well as leveraging National PSA’s for pre and post event media coverage. Pre 9/11 events such as the “Generations of Service” on September 10th, where State Senator Lou Correa, the Young Senators Program, as well as local veterans, Veterans First, and the American GI Forum, will come together as part of the Santa Ana beautification project, will serve as a catalyst for Sunday morning news and encourage 9/11 specific events. Additionally a social media campaign will launch August 4th to engage volunteers, additional partners as well as our Orange County corporate sector for the remembrance and service events.
The 2011 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance will set the stage for future 9/11 activities in Orange County. Ideas and partners for 2012 are already underway with expectations of engaging numerous nonprofit and military/veterans partners, schools, public safety agencies, service clubs and faith based organizations, for the largest volunteer event on record in Orange County history. Plans include the addition of a Health & Safety Walk, collaboration with the Orange County Stand Down, a two day event in which the region’s homeless and low-income veterans and their families can access basic services, bond with their fellow veterans and start rebuilding their lives sponsored by the County of Orange and Veterans First and possibly the largest volunteer commitment fair in the nation with a potential location at Angel’s Stadium.