Boston Cares: We remember. We Serve.

Boston Cares is a nonprofit volunteer action center that mobilizes volunteer teams and other services that have a positive impact on individuals and communities.  We partner with schools and nonprofits of all sizes with needs that can be fulfilled by volunteers.  Then we recruit, train and deploy motivated, competent volunteers who get the job done.  We are a member of the Hands On Network which is part of a national coalition committed to generating 1 million acts of service for the 9/11 National Day of Service & Remembrance and in honor of the 10th anniversary of the attacks.  As part of this initiative, Boston Cares is committed to producing 3,000 acts of service and remembrance during the month of September, with at least 500 on 9/11.  This initiative is spurring our ability to develop several new year-round partnerships, including with organizations that support active duty military and their families such as Mass. Military Heroes, The Mission Continues, and Guard Support.

 On 9/11/11 Boston Cares is conducting a suite of service & remembrance experiences that will occur within walking distance of one another and will incorporate key public commemorations.  We also will host several high value community based projects.  On 9/11 we will engage at least 500 volunteers of all ages, some of whom may choose to participate in more than one service activity.  Each service project will be dedicated in honor of someone who lost their life on 9/11 and will include a remembrance component. Some service projects are subject to final approval, permits, etc.

 The day will start with Boston Mayor Thomas Menino at the Wreath Laying Ceremony at theGardenofRemembrance: 9/11 Memorial at theBostonPublicGardenin downtownBoston.  People will then proceed to the nearby MA State House for the annual 9/11 ceremony which includes a flag lowering, a moment of silence at 8:46AM, remarks by Governor Deval Patrick, and the reading of the names of theMassachusettsresidents who were lost in 9/11. Some volunteers will then walk toBostonCity Hallwhere two major activities will occur. Others will head to community based projects via public transit or car.


Outside City Hall, volunteers will work with local community engagement artist, Robert Guillemin of ArtStreet (aka, Sidewalk Sam) to create a mural on City Hall Plaza that is thematically geared toward the day.  The design is being developed in consultation with the MA 9/11 Fund, a non-profit devoted to supporting families with ties toMassachusettswho lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. A combination of tempera paint and chalk ensure the mural will last through the elements creating a tribute that will be visible for some period beyond 9/11.


Inside City Hall, volunteers will be readying loads and loads of library books for use atBostonPublic Schoollibraries by thousands of students.  Preparing the books includes affixing bar codes, circulation card pockets and school labels, as well as covering them with a special heavy duty clear plastic material.  Books will be sorted and boxed for specific schools and volunteers will deliver them during the following week.  Books will include a mix of gently used and new books, including some that will be generated over the summer through the Boston Cares community.  Book donations respond to reading lists recommended by the Boston Public Schools’ chief librarian. 


Within a short walk of City Hall, Boston Cares volunteers will support activities being organized by the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund happening on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, including assembling care packages for active duty personnel and writing letters to be included in the packages.  Prior to September 11th members of the Boston Cares community are being challenged conduct drives for items needed for the care packages, so Mass. Military Heroes will be able to send up to 500 additional packages.


Service projects will run from approximately 10AM-1PM.  Most will conclude just before the anticipated Chimes of Unity at 1PM, when bells all overBoston(and possibly the Commonwealth) will ring for one minute.


Additional Boston Cares volunteer engagement activities on 9/11 will include:

  • Volunteers will support the State House remembrance event.
  • Volunteers will be stationed at the Garden of Remembrance: 9/11 Memorial at the Boston Public Garden to assist members of the public who wish to make a charcoal rubbing of names on the memorial, or who wish to look up stories behind the names in binders that have been prepared for the occasion.
  • Volunteers will work on an outdoor makeover of theHenniganSchoolinBoston’s Jamaica Plain community, including the creation of an outdoor classroom and upkeep of an Urban Orchard located on the property that sends its harvest to local soup kitchens and local nutrition programs.
  • Volunteers will be deployed to 1-3 Boston Public Schools where they will relocate and set up the school library from one part of the building to another.  This involves packing/moving/shelving books, building book shelves, sorting and preparing donated books for student use, etc.

 Later in the afternoon and/or evening, volunteers will be encouraged to attend free public performances being organized to commemorate this day.  Specific performances could include a work being premiered by the Boston Children’s Chorus as well as films being screened as part of our own Social Cinema series in conjunction with The Independent Lens, such as Beyond the 11th or NY Gives Back.

We will promote this initiative via our website, weekly eUpdate, targeted emails to coprorate and community partners, via Board members and on the national 9/11 service site.