News at Mason
9/11 Day of Service is 'all about serving other people'
September 12, 2018 / by Damian Cristodero
Collette Rhoads was just 3 years old when the 9/11 attacks took place in 2001. But the George Mason University junior said she recalls being in a car with her mom in their hometown of Garrettsville, Ohio.
Her mom, she said, was crying.
It is that memory, and what she has subsequently learned about the attacks, that made her participation in Mason’s sixth annual 9/11 Day of Service so important.
“It’s all about serving other people,” said Rhoads, an integrative studies major with a concentration in social justice and human rights.
Rhoads volunteers with LUCKI (Leadership, Unity, Community, Knowledge, Inclusivity), an unofficial student organization that she said “teaches young people to have a voice and stand up for themselves.”
The organization was one of 54 from on and off campus that were represented in the Hub Ballroom as part of the 9/11 Day of Service Fair as planned by SAIL (Social Action and Integrative Learning) and sponsored by the Van Metre Companies of Fairfax, Va. The fair promotes service opportunities and ways to learn about the issues facing diverse communities.
Jazyerra Pittman, a senior majoring in psychology, was there as a volunteer with Community Residences, which helps individuals with disabilities to live as independently as possible.
“It’s important to be here,” she said as she painted a picture that would be part of a care package for a person with disabilities. “It’s important to remember what happened.”
Photos by Lathan Goumas.
Arty Ismayil, a junior majoring in criminology, law and society, was one of about 10 Mason students who volunteered with Community Residences. His job: Put together care packages of things such as toothbrushes and toothpaste that would go to individuals with disabilities. Ismayil added a handwritten note of encouragement. “As a community, with these volunteer events, we can make something positive out of something bad,” he said.
Vanessa Harris was 11 years old when the 9/11 attacks occurred. “It made me realize how fragile life is, and how important it is,” she said. The 28-year-old junior and information technology major volunteers with MVLE, which supports individuals with disabilities through employment and community-based support services. “Everyone was affected,” she said of the 9/11 attacks. “This provides the community with extra support.”
As a 5-year-old living with his family in Tanzania, Alexander Abel wasn't emotionally affected by the 9/11 attacks. Now a U.S. citizen and more familiar with the circumstances and fallout of the event, he said, “The emotions you can see around me. I can empathize. I can imagine what it felt like.” Abel volunteers with Mason Votes, which tries to register as many students as possible to take part in the political process. “Having everyone engaged in the political realm is helpful in being heard,” he said.
Gia Ha, a senior majoring in civil and infrastructure engineering and an Honors College member, said the mission of Mason’s LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) office perfectly aligns with the 9/11 Day of Service. “Our mission is to create effective and ethical leaders,” she said. “If we create better leaders, they will do what they can to better the world.” LEAD’s goal is to develop a person’s sense of self, augment critical thinking and cultivate organizational skills. “We believe everyone has the potential to be a leader,” Ha said. “You don’t have to be the person at the top.”