September 11, 2001 is a day that impacted the emotional memory of anyone who was old enough at the time to feel the disbelief and horror of the day. On that day four separate planes were hijacked and three of them found their targets (World Trade Center 1 and 2 and the Pentagon), and the fourth crashed in Pennsylvania as a result of valiant efforts by passengers. It was one of those days that lives with and in you. Other dates that people remember emotionally are Pearl Harbor (1941), the Kennedy Assassination (1963), Sandy Hook (2012), and the Boston Marathon Bombing (2013). Certainly there are personal days that stand out for us—some positive and others sad—but what is important is that we help young people remember the past but learn from it as well so that history does not repeat itself.
This year when you honor the victims of 9/11 help your young people think about how they can “Pay It Forward” and make a positive difference in the world. Remember, the youngest of your afterschool youth can pay it forward. Maybe they plant fall flowers in a flower bed at school, invite someone they love to share a game or two in the program, or make cards to take to the local Senior Center. Whatever they do it is a time to remember the blessings we have and the lives that have been taken needlessly. Help this day be a day of renewal for the youth in your program.
Let us know how you honor 9/11 in your program. Please send pictures and descriptions to firstname.lastname@example.org