Serve and Learn: Westchester Remembers 9/11

  • Names of all organizations that will be involved in service activity:


We expect 75 nonprofit agencies will be involved in Serve and Learn: Westchester Remembers 9/11. They will include large membership associations (ArtsWestchester); small groups dependent upon volunteer power to achieve mission (County Harvest); regional groups (Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson); groups with a veterans focus (From the Warfront to the Homefront); those that celebrate diversity throughout our communities (The Coalition for Mutual Respect); and agencies focused on at-risk young (Leak and Watts) and seniors (St. Cabrini Nursing Home), for example.


  • How service activity will address a community need/challenge:


Open and free to nonprofits and the public, Serve and Learn will be a hub of meaningful service opportunities and the area’s largest 9/11 tribute. Onsite volunteer projects will address challenges faced by food pantries, injured or deployed soldiers, blood banks, crisis responders, institutionalized senior residents, low-income childcare facilities, at-risk teens, victims of abuse, etc.


  • How service activity will commemorate 9/11 losses and honor those who have responded since


WestchesterCountyis located immediately north of Manhattan, and we lost 119 residents on 9/11. The VolunteerCenteraims to rekindle the spirit of unity that followed the tragic events of the day, by inviting area residents and employees to honor victims, heroes and military personnel through volunteer service. Serve and Learn will take place Friday, September 9,2:00 -7:00PM, at theCountyCenter inWhite Plains – centrally located, easily accessible from public transportation – leading into the weekend of related events in the county and nearby.Westchester’s commemoration will culminate in a candle-lighting ceremony with victims’ families at “The Rising,” an inspirational memorial dedicated in 2006 to local 9/11 victims and heroes.  


In addition to the event’s hands on service opportunities described below, participants will learn about volunteer needs of many ofWestchester’s nonprofit organizations by visiting WiFi-connected booths of at least 75 agencies. TheVolunteerCenter, our placement specialists and trained volunteers will also help attendees register for hundreds of additional ongoing and future volunteer opportunities in our database, supporting 450 nonprofits. We will also conduct presentations for teens, showing how to lead through volunteerism.  In this way the event will engage as many people as possible and ensure the legacy of the National Day of Service and Remembrance.


A brief ceremony with local dignitaries, family members and veterans is planned mid-way through the event.


  • Number of volunteers expected: 500


We plan for 460 volunteers to be engaged in onsite projects. Another 40 will be trained as volunteer leaders to help successfully manage Serve and Learn.  We anticipate 1,000 people will attend.


  • What volunteers are expected to accomplish through service:


75 volunteers (all ages unless specified) will create hundreds of cards for America’s military men and women who become sick/ injured while on duty and for those who care for them and their families; 100 adults will donate blood to replenish the local blood bank; 15 (adults/teens) will paint a mural for a Head Start program; 50 will make door decorations for residents of Montrose VA Hospital and Somers Manor senior home to create a comforting and homelike atmosphere; 20 (adults/teens) will decorate costumes for Only Make Believe, an interactive theatre experience for children in hospitals and care facilities; 15 (adults/teens) will assemble art therapy bags for young clients overcoming impact of domestic violence at My Sister’s Place; 25 (adults/teens) will create puzzles for daycare students at Family Services of Westchester; 100 will bring canned goods for Montrose VA Food Pantry; 30 (adults/teens) will learn CPR through HealthSav; 30 teens will participate in “Be the Change” Workshops conducted by The Volunteer Center. 40 key team leaders will be trained and deployed to help manage Serve and Learn.


  • How we will promote Serve and Learn:


The Volunteer Center will utilize the extensive outreach offered by Westchester County including: e-blasts, websites highlights, robo calls from the County Executive to thousands of employees and residents, prominent signage in parks and the County Center, PSA development/dissemination and creation of a special Facebook page. Our elected officials will share information through constituent e-newsletters/municipal websites/public access cable programs. The Westchester Public Library System will be enlisted to spread the word electronically and through signage in libraries.


Serve and Learn will be the focus of The Volunteer Center’s e-newsletter, sent to more than 8,600 individuals/agencies/schools/business connections 2x/month. Our website (receives thousands of unique visitors/month) will be continually updated with relevant information. (news services in 17 municipalities in Westchester) will conduct video interviews of attendees, capturing memories of 9/11 and reasons for volunteering. Through our social media network we will engage our Corporate Champions/friends/groups. In August we will post 3x/week on Facebook (over 400 current group likes), Twitter (380 followers), LinkedIn (more than 1,800 connections). All will be encouraged to post and re-tweet to their networks. During September we will increase our social media buzz to 3x/day.


Focusing on solid connections to key journalists/broadcasters covering Westchester, we and the County will send media alerts/pitches/releases to all including those at The Journal News, New York Times, Westchester Business Journal, WAG, 914 Inc., Associated Press, CBS 2 News, Cablevision, and RNN, which reaches 5 million households in NY/NJ/CT metro. We have already been contacted for special features and news stories.


  • Clear and concise description of tracking and documenting the number of volunteers who served:


      In order to fulfill the expectations of this grant, The Volunteer Center will request pre-event registration for all hands-on activities that includes name, email and phone number. If we qualify, we will communicate to registrants that the grant requires us to report volunteer contact information for “spot checking.” For youngest volunteers, we will need an adult contact. Team Leaders will check off names when participants arrive. Team Leaders will be required to check in with staff of The Volunteer Center upon arrival to verify their attendance. All verifiable participation contact information will be collated into a central document to meet the grant deadline.