REMEMBERING 9/11- Volunteer on 9/11 with Burlington County College

9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance 10th Anniversary Challenge

For the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, Burlington County College (BCC) will participate by commemorating the losses on September 11, 2001 and making a significant local impact by addressing several community needs, as led by members of the college’s programs that are sponsored by the Corporation for Community and National Service (CNCS).  BCC’s Service-Learning, Bonner AmeriCorps Leader Program and the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Burlington County (RSVP) members will lead this effort.  By leveraging community partner organizations in which our students and RSVP members currently serve, BCC will organize and host a variety of service projects that will focus on community challenges of expressed concern. All projects will take place on Sunday, September 11 throughout Burlington County, NJ.  To commemorate and honor the service and sacrifices of the losses in 2001 and of those who have responded since that day, the service activities will begin at 8:00am with an educational component about the origins of the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.  To carry through with this service-learning approach, the service activities will conclude at 5:00pm with an hour of reflection. Both the lesson and reflection components of the day will be led by our AmeriCorps students. To ensure each of the program components are accessible to all volunteers, BCC will teleconference the lesson and reflection sessions to at least three campus centers that are located in accessible areas of the County, thus enabling volunteer participation in all of the 9/11 activities.

Organizations that BCC will partner with on 9/11 include the Pemberton Township School District, Pinelands Institute for Natural and Environmental Studies (P.I.N.E.S.), the Christian Caring Center, the Providence House Domestic Violence Services and local municipalities throughout Burlington County. For instance, the Pemberton Township School District has several schools in need of garden maintenance, trees to be planted, murals to be painted, and benches to be built. Based in Whitesbog Village, a historical village that provides environmental and historical education of the local Pinelands environment, the P.I.N.E.S. program will educate volunteers as they help with trail maintenance and assist with fixing one of the buildings on the grounds. The Christian Caring Center, a local non-profit organization that provides meals, clothing and temporary shelter for the homeless, has expressed the need for volunteers to assist with painting, grounds maintenance, and light construction to fix wooden steps leading into one of their homeless shelters.

Sponsored by BCC for almost 40 years, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Burlington County works with approximately 400-500 senior volunteers in over 50 Burlington County non-profit organizations. RSVP partner non-profit organizations will be selected to participate in the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. Additionally, RSVP will solicit all 40 Township Clerks in Burlington County. They in turn will send information to their local municipal offices and non-profit agencies. Through these contacts, additional service activities across Burlington County will be selectively added, including the Clean Community project, which requests a large number of volunteers to assist in local clean-up activities. Furthermore, Providence House, a RSVP partner site that provides services for victims of domestic violence, has requested volunteers on 9/11.

Even with these definitive projects, we continue to assess community needs throughout the Burlington County and plan to serve additional sites that are in need of our assistance on 9/11.  Additional organizations that participate in BCC’s CNCS programs include: Family Service (a social service organization for families in need), the Juvenile Detention Center, Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, the Interfaith Hospitality Network, and Catholic Charities.

By activating core members of the College’s CNCS sponsored programs; students, RSVP members (aged 55+) along with BCC faculty, staff, residents throughout Burlington County will be given the opportunity to serve together in remembrance of 9/11 victims and their families.

To promote the Day of Service and Remembrance, BCC will connect to the community via press releases to local newspapers, the BCC Service-Learning Program’s e-mail listserv, RSVP’s e-mail list, the Volunteer Center of Burlington County on-line volunteer database and email list and through our community partners. We will promote the project online, in classes, and through the use of flyers, posters, and other visual media.  Furthermore, we will utilize ConnectED software to send an e-mail notification to all BCC students, faculty, and staff in an attempt to recruit as many volunteers as possible.  Ultimately, we are aiming to recruit and enable approximately 300 volunteers to serve the local needs of Burlington County.  As is the goal of many service opportunities, we would like to see these volunteers become lifelong volunteers within the communities where they live.  By fostering an environment in which community members can thrive by serving other community members, we intend for the activities of this day of service to yield a sense of community pride as well as a desire to continue volunteerism within the underprivileged regions of the county.

To document and track the number of volunteers who serve in this project, we will utilize detailed sign-in and -out sheets.  Sign-in sheets will be completed and signed by each volunteer in the morning, prior to departing from the various BCC campus locations (school vans will shuttle volunteers to project sites as needed).  Furthermore, each site location will be led by at least one BCC CNCS program member who, in addition to fulfilling other leadership responsibilities, will ensure full participation by the volunteers as well as track their efforts and accomplishments.  Prior to departing a site, site leaders will oversee that all volunteers accurately complete the required sign-out sheets.  These measures will ensure the provision of accurate documentation of volunteer data for the After Action Report as well as for CNCS program reporting.