Across the city on Friday, volunteers gathered in the spirit of service to aid many schools to honor the victims of September 11th. NY1's Education reporter Lindsey Christ filed the following report.
At P.S. 76 in Harlem, more than 100 volunteering New Yorkers came to read to children who were infants or possibly not yet born at the time of the attacks on the World Trade Center, sharing picture books about the importance of giving back to the community.
The event was coordinated by New York Cares and MyGoodDeed, two groups that lobbied for September 11th to be officially set aside as a National Day of Service. President Barack Obama made that official in April, as part of the Edward Kennedy Serve America Act.
"Today is a monumental day with a lot of memories, a lot of families that lost victims on 9/11, so I wanted to have the chance to give something back," said volunteer Shamella Stewart.
MyGoodDeed was co-founded by Jay Winuk. who lost his brother Glenn in the terrorist attacks.
"I lost my brother Glenn Winuk, who was a volunteer firefighter and an [emergency medical technician] for 20 years," said Jay Winuk. "His law office is located just a couple of blocks from Ground Zero, so when his building was evacuated that morning, he went to the fire department and raced towards the towering inferno that was the South Tower and he died when the tower came down. So I'm very proud of him."
Despite the rain, volunteers filled the classrooms and hallways of the school, happy to be of service on such a somber anniversary.
"I feel like it's very important for people to give back to the community, so that we remember the best spirit that people have here in New York City," said New York Cares Executive Director Gary Bagley. "And remember the rebuilding that the citizens of New York helped to make happen."
On the Upper West Side and across the city, high schoolers from the NYCiSchool spent their third day of the academic year engaged in service projects.
At the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, a group of students baked cookies alongside other volunteers and then delivered the baked goods to firehouses and police precincts.
"Because 9/11 as a historical event is very much connected to their own personal histories, we thought it was important to memorialize the day," said Alisa Berger, NYCiSchool's co-principal. "And what better way than to actually give back to the community that we're part of"
Other volunteers told NY1 that they found the day a fitting commemoration of the September 11th attacks. The organizers have already begun planning for the 10th anniversary, when they hope to have the largest volunteer turnout in the nation's history.