November 13, 2019 | The 9/11 Day of Service is an opportunity for AmeriCorps VISTA members to connect with other national service members and complete special projects outside of their normal duties.
This September, AmeriCorps VISTA, Karley O’Connors, teamed up with the Town of Paonia, Colorado’s VISTA, Evan Bolt, to complete a maintenance project in the local small-town park (Poalos Park). The town acquired a $10,000 grant intended to make this space ADA accessible, with increased visibility from the street, while also making the park more welcoming as a public space for area residents and visitors. The goal of Karley’s service day was to prepare the park for upcoming construction and to make the seating area in the back more visible from the street. Karley not only accomplished the task, but she also learned why September 11th was important for her. In Karley’s own words,
Thank you for encouraging service on 9/11. This year is the first time I have realized that mostly everyone is scarred in some way by this tragedy, whether by watching people jump out of buildings at a young age, by the unreasonable racism that followed the incident, or through other reasons. I realize that our nation has never taken time to process this. Being from New York, my schools took a moment of remembrance every year, which never led me to healing, and only made me uncomfortable. I wonder what it would take to lead us closer to healing.
As Karley states, 9/11 creates different memories and each of us were impacted in a different way; this time for her it’s a matter of healing and trying to figure out the best way to go about the tragedy’s memory and find passion to respect this infamous day.