The students of YouthBuild Lowell decided that a way that they could remember September 11th would be to honor first responders by meeting with members of the city’s fire department and learn more about the job that they do. They first met with the Captain and Lieutenant who discussed the role of first responders and what the firefighters who were called to the World Trade Center might have experienced on that fateful day. They gave students a tour of the fire station and took the time to explain the uses of several pieces of apparatus. Because of the relationship that was developed that day, these students are now undertaking a community service project by helping with maintenance at the fire station. One of their first tasks is to clear some overgrown brush that hinders the operation of some of the larger trucks. The events of 9/11 may have been the start of this work, but it will continue because of that day.
September 11th took on a new meaning for YouthBuild students across the State. The Massachusetts YouthBuild Coalition was fortunate to be one of five organizations chosen nationally as a recipient of a September 11th Remembrance Grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. The focus of these grants was on families of victims from that day, survivors, or military veterans and their families. We decided to put our construction talents to good use and do something to help solve the problem of homelessness among veterans.
The idea of Tiny Homes seemed to be a natural solution for the problem. Once a design was decided, it was time to get to work. Fall River and Springfield were chosen as the sites that would undertake the construction of our first two Tiny Homes. Each of these units will be 204 square feet and have all of the amenities of a regular home, just smaller. They are built on trailers, so that they will be mobile enough to be able to locate them where there is a need. We also will place them in a location that offers other services that a veteran who is temporarily down on their luck, could utilize to get back on a productive path. This project has received a great reception from everyone who hears about it and this may be a very practical solution to a complex societal problem.
On September 11th, walls were raised in both Springfield and Fall River. In Springfield, the students quickly framed the four walls and proudly raised them completing the basic structure for the Tiny Home. Jaritza Del Toro a member of the Springfield YWCA YouthBuild team, introduced her uncle Hector Arizmendi, a retired New York City Police Officer, who was at Ground Zero on September 11th. He shared his experiences and was very thankful that his niece was involve in this project of Remembrance.
Meanwhile, in Fall River, the crew got busy first thing in the morning. The crew of staff and students made quick work of the outside walls and worked like a well-oiled machine. After an earlier ceremony at Battleship Cove, the entire state legislative delegation arrived along with Mayor Sam Sutter. Senator Michael Rodrigues and Representatives Carole Fiola, Paul Schmid and Alan Silvia were quick with the questions about the project and they all were excited about this idea as a solution to an ongoing problem. Representative Fiola even met up with one of the volunteers who was a former classmate when they were children. It is very heartening to receive such strong support for YouthBuild students and the work that they are doing.
YouthBuild Lawrence students helped make the City's 9/11 ceremony a great success, with the help of Lieutenant Flynn of the Lawrence Fire Department. This project was chosen in remembrance of the work done by first responders during the 9/11 tragedy. The YouthBuild students planned to clean the central station’s fire trucks but due to rainy weather, this project was moved indoors and our students prepared the station for the day's ceremonies. Lieutenant Flynn led the ceremony with a remembrance and an introduction of the new Fire Chief, Brian Moriarty, who also spoke about the 9/11 event. State Representative Marcos Devers, Councilman Roger Twomey and State Senator Barbara L’Italien also participated in the ceremony. Photos below were taken by YouthBuild Lawrence student, Karim Palmer. Students also made posters to remind everyone to "Never Forget 9/11"
Just-A-Start YouthBuild participated in September 11th Remembrance by participating in two events.
In the morning, staff and students started the day at the Cambridge Fire Department Headquarters. Along with the firefighters, we had a moment of silence to honor the victims and the Chief of Police lead the entire group in Mychal's prayer.
Following this ceremony, the group headed over to the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund for their annual 9/11 Service Project to Support Troops and Families. They were in need of baby wipes, so JAS donated two cases from BJs. While there, the group assembled 500 care packages for soldiers overseas and another 500 for veterans in need, served by the New England Center for Homeless Veterans. We hope that our assistance with these efforts helped make life a little better for others in need while honoring the memories of the victims of that fateful day.
In honor of September 11th Remembrance, TRA Quincy YouthBuild students and staff first participated in a moment of silence organized by the Quincy Fire Department to demonstrate their gratitude for first responders.
Following this ceremony, they worked on the new local veterans’ housing project that is being built on East Howard Street. This was a great way for the students to show their respect to the service of veterans, many whom served in the wars resulting from the September 11th attacks. Leading up to the day, time was spent in the classroom teaching and discussing the events of 9/11 with many students who were too young to remember much of that fateful day.