09.11.11 - "We the People" of Greater Philadelphia Honor, Educate and Serve

The City of Philadelphia is fully committed to marking the National Day of Service and Remembrance on an annual basis.  On September 11, 2010 the major service organizations in the region came together to coordinate dozens of volunteer driven projects across the region designed to address real community needs and promote an ethic of service throughout the year.  This year we intend to expand the network of service events and opportunities designed to engage citizens on September 11th and in the days immediately before and after.  While the events being planned will address an array of community needs, each one will share a focus on service as an ongoing and effective strategy for community problem solving.

This year Mayor Michael A. Nutter is particularly committed to ensuring that the 10th anniversary of September 11th, 2001 is a time for diverse communities to come together to “Honor, Educate and Serve.”  A steering committee comprised of representatives from public agencies, non-profit organizations, major cultural institutions, the Philadelphia School District, private corporations, faith communities and families who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001 have been meeting on a regular basis to align efforts to promote these values. 

As a collective, we will be asking elected officials and everyday citizens to sign the following oath:


As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, We the People of Greater Philadelphia…

  • Unite in grief, remembrance and hope.
  • Stand for justice, tolerance and compassion.
  • Commit to building community, understanding and a more perfect union.

The key partners involved in coordinating service activities this year include the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service, Greater Philadelphia Cares, Global Citizen/MLK Day of Service, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania and the dynamic network of AmeriCorps programs that contribute to the fabric of our city and region.  In addition, each of these organizations will engage multiple community partners.  All events will be promoted on the City’s new service website, www.SERVEPhiladelphia.com, with prominent links to each of the partner websites.  In addition, the City has engaged a volunteer web developer who is designing a site to specifically promote opportunities for citizens to commemorate the 10th anniversary of September 11th.  This site is scheduled to go live on August 11, 2011 and will be advertised widely through the City’s vast network of media partners and social media networks.


September 11th Service Opportunities

o      The United Way of Southeastern PA and Greater Philadelphia Cares will partner with the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger, the University of Pennsylvania and others to address food insecurity in the region.   Currently, they are planning to engage 500 volunteers on September 9th in packing 5,000 boxes of food. 

o      Greater Philadelphia Cares will be working with the National Hands On Network on additional service events, including a “Diversity in Service” Symposium on September 14th.  Among other partners, GPC will be working closely with Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Multiservice Center.

o      Global Citizen is planning to host their 3rd annual Civic Engagement Expo in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service on 09/11 at Independence Mall.  The Civic Engagement Expo will connect volunteers with approximately 100 nonprofit and community organizations with ongoing volunteer needs. 50 volunteers will staff the Civic Engagement Expo, assisting other volunteers in finding service opportunities that meet their interests.    In addition, Global Citizen and Greater Philadelphia Cares will coordinate an interfaith project engaging approximately 40 volunteers in creating “Welcome Kits” for refugee families settling in the Philadelphia area. 

o      The Mayor’s Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Service will be engaging a minimum of 100 volunteers on September 10th at Mount Moriah Cemetery which is the burial site for military veterans dating back to the Civil War. 

o      All AmeriCorps members in the Greater Philadelphia region will be supporting the events listed above and/or planning events of their own to commemorate the 10th anniversary of September 11th.

o      The City’s Office of Emergency Management will be engaging volunteers to promote national preparedness with a number of service events organized in partnership with the Red Cross and others.


September 11th Commemoration Events
A series of commemoration events, largely planned and staffed by volunteers, will be taking place across the city on September 11th to honor police, fire fighters and other first responders in the morning and early afternoon.  In addition, numerous interfaith groups will be hosting events to promote unity and tolerance.  Both the National Constitution Center and the Museum of American Jewish History will be providing opportunities for dialogue and reflection.  In the late afternoon, individuals from across the region will be invited to attend the Civic Engagement Expo on Independence Mall that will be immediately followed by an early evening ceremony hosted by the Mayor and prominent leaders from city’s faith and community service communities.  As noted earlier, the goal of that event will be to honor first responders along with those who lost their lives on September 11th and their families.  The event will also reinforce the values outlined in the common pledge outlined above and call on all in attendance to commit to serving their communities throughout the year.


Summary of Volunteer Projections

In total, we aim to directly engage a minimum of 800 volunteers and 200 volunteer leaders to impact food insecurity, increase preparedness, raise awareness regarding veterans issues and increase year round volunteer participation.  As the date approaches, we fully expect many more citizens to step forward and plan additional projects in collaboration with the City’s lead partners.