En español | The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks will undoubtedly find more volunteers serving their communities than any previous observance. And there will be more volunteer opportunities for them to choose from as well.
How to make your choice? Begin with a quiet moment of reflection. Review your values and pinpoint your priorities. Chances are an opportunity waits nearby that feels important to you.
For more advice on picking the best option for you, we consulted people who have created much good from a day of grief. Here are their suggestions.
1. Every Act Counts.
David Paine and Jay Winuk, founders of MyGoodDeed.org
Inspiration. Winuk's brother, Glenn, was a volunteer firefighter who died on duty at the World Trade Center Towers. For Paine, inspiration came from the decision by the New York Mets baseball players shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, to donate a day of pay to a New York rescue workers fund.
Action. Winuk, 53, and Paine, 54, started MyGoodDeed to encourage all Americans to commemorate each September 11 with acts of service. After lobbying Congress for years for an annual national observance, they stood with Barack Obama as he signed a bill designating Sept. 11 as the National Day of Service and Remembrance.
Tips. Put your experience to use. "The expertise of people who have lived a few years is an extraordinary national resource that goes untapped," Paine says.
Consider your talents when picking a cause. Health care workers, help a clinic in a poor neighborhood. Accountants, track donations for a charity. Teachers, explain the lessons learned from 9/11 day in class. Doctors, lawyers, business executives, parents — you get the idea.
Service needn't be as heroic as Winuk's brother's. "There was a couple in Boston who spent an early 9/11 anniversary walking the streets, putting quarters in expired parking meters," Winuk says. "Every act of kindness counts."