HandsOn Greater Phoenix 9/11 Service Weekend and Remembrance Tribute

HandsOn Greater Phoenix (HGP) is pleased to submit our Sept. 11 Service Weekend and Remembrance Tribute Concept Paper to the CNCS. HGP was founded in 1993 and has been an affiliate with HandsOn Network since 1995. We offer an innovative approach to volunteerism by providing a combination of progressive training and hands-on service that support individuals through a continuum of service, from episodic volunteerism through sustained community involvement and, ultimately, to inspired leadership. Through this approach, we have been able to offer high-impact programs and services supported by skilled and committed volunteers and have proven ourselves a service leader across Arizona and our network.


The names of all organizations that will be involved in the service activity:

This year, HGP is hosting our largest Sept. 11 Service Weekend and Remembrance Tribute. We will organize and manage 15-20 community service projects in partnership with 12-14 nonprofits and municipalities. Our partners include the City of Mesa, City of Phoenix, Heroes to Hometowns, Operation Homefront, Madison Street Veterans Association, Arizona National Guard, US Vets, Packages from Home, Tigermountain Foundation, The Welcome to America Project, Dysart Community Center, Carl T Hayden Veterans Hospital, and St. Mary’s Food Bank.

How the service activity will address a community need or challenge:

The majority of our service projects will focus on providing support and assistance to veterans and active military families as well as educating our local communities on safety and emergency preparedness. 

The number of veterans in Arizona continues to grow. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are approximately 561,000 veterans in Arizona, eight percent of our civilian adult population. With Arizona’s population growth, that number continues to grow as veterans move to our state and as servicemen and women return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Therefore resources, awareness and support are needed to keep up with the growing needs of veterans in our state. (Office of Senator Jon Kyl and Department of Veterans Affairs).

September is National Preparedness Month. In the wake of so many natural disasters affecting the United States the past six years, September is National Preparedness Month. The US Dept. of Homeland Security encourages Americans to prepare their homes, schools and communities. They also feel that ensuring citizens are adequately prepared for a disaster is the first step in ensuring effective government response and recovery efforts.

How the service activity will commemorate the losses on September 11, 2001 and honor the service and sacrifices of those who have responded since that day:

At each of our projects HGP has planned the following remembrance activities:

•All of our projects will be called "Tribute Projects."

•We will provide a script/speaking points to our trained volunteer Project Leaders (PLs) about why we observe 9/11, the way our country came together as a result of 9/11, etc. emphasizing sensitivity in language and honoring.

•PL’s will call for a moment of silence before each Tribute Project for volunteers to reflect on this important anniversary. They will then explain that all of our weekend projects are dedicated to victims of 9/11 and will share individual bios of different 9/11 victims so that we all remember those that were lost.

•Each project will have a large poster board and markers where volunteers can write their feelings and reflections about the anniversary. HGP staff and board members will visit various projects and capture short videos of volunteers explaining why they chose to volunteer on this day. These reflections will be posted on our website, Facebook and Twitter pages.

•We will also give each volunteer a commemorative service ribbon to wear and take home.

•One of our projects will be a back-to-school fair for the clients of the Welcome to America Project. WTAP is a local nonprofit that provides resettlement services to refugee families in Phoenix. WTAP was founded by Phil and Carolyn Manning. They started the organization as a way to honor Phil’s brother, Terence, who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001. We will highlight the Manning’s story and their work in our e-newsletter and social medial outlets.


The number of volunteers expected:

 We anticipate engaging approximately 1000 volunteers in our tribute projects.


What volunteers are expected to accomplish through their service:

As a result of our tribute projects, the following outcomes are expected:

•We will renovate and/or landscape four veterans’ homes.

•We will build a new playground and park next to Fire Station 218 in Mesa, AZ and dedicate it to our active military and community safety personnel.

•We will distribute 500+ free books to National Guard members and their families.

•We will landscape the exterior of a local veterans association.

•We will feed 90 homeless veterans.

•We will send 100 letters and care packages to active military personnel.

•We will plant 50 trees in remembrance of 9/11 victims.

•We will provide school supplies for 50 children of refugee families.

•We will educate 200 people on how they can prepare themselves for a disaster by helping them create "go kits" and emergency plans.

Ultimately, community members unite in the spirit of community building much as we did immediately following 9/11/2001. 

Information about how you will promote the Day of Service and Remembrance:

We have already begun promoting our Weekend of Service on our website, e-newsletter (distribution 18,000), Facebook and Twitter pages. We have even been featured on the morning newscast of our local NBC affiliate. In August and September, we will send out press releases and media advisories to our local television stations and newspapers as well as some of the more visible weekly publications. The releases will focus on a variety of areas such as specific projects, volunteer recruitment, interesting volunteer and volunteer leader stories, etc.

We will also take advantage of our service partners’ media contacts and work together to target special media relationships they may already have. We can also work to gather some post-project coverage as well by sending out a press release and photos immediately following our large signature event.