On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Deb Gordon guests were Terry Sears, Executive Director of Tuesday’s Children and Dr. Robin Goodman, Executive Director of A Caring Hand, two organizations that were formed out of the tragic events surrounding September 11, and continue to serve the community in a variety of ways.
A Caring Hand, The Billy Esposito Foundation Bereavement Services, was founded by Mr. Esposito’s family after he lost his life on 9/11 to help the children and family members of others who lost their lives in the tragedy as well as others, starting the first and only free standing comprehensive bereavement center.
“We’re one of a handful of organizations that were started after 9/11 that still exists,” said Dr. Goodman. “I think it speaks to how important our mission is and how dedicated the people that work for us are…and also how great the need it is.”
Dr. Goodman discussed data about the large numbers of children that will lose a parent or sibling, or someone else very close to them, and also detailed the group programs that A Caring Hand provides, and the lasting impact it has on those who participate.
“We’re giving families hope for the future, and also hope that they can help someone else with their future,” said Dr. Goodman.
The organization continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the community and has recently started bilingual services for Spanish speaking families.
“Not only are we the only non profit in Manhattan that provides child and family bereavement services in English, we now are the only ones who provide these services in Spanish,” said Dr. Goodman.
“Spanish speaking moms or dads or grandparents can be in a group that’s really suited to their language….and then the kids can all be together and really connect and help each other, and support each other.”
On this special anniversary, Dr. Goodman stressed the importance of continuing the work of helping families to become more resilient and better cope after suffering a terrible tragedy in their lives.
“There really can be a counterbalance to the negative things in the world, and you can choose to look at that and it makes a big difference.…that’s what we try to encourage.”
Tuesday’s Children was also started in the aftermath of 9/11 by family & friends of 9/11 victims, to help children suffering from emotional problems as a result of the loss of a parent in the tragedy, and soon developed a platform to also include adults and first responders.
“We hear 90.000 people ran towards the buildings…and so many of them have 9/11 related diseases…1600 plus have died due to 9/11 related cancers… so many of these people gave so much…and are paying the price because of that.”
Ms. Sears provided information about these families, the majority of whom suffered from more psychological stressors and difficulty than other bereaved because of the unusual circumstances of the tragedy as well as the ongoing media attention.
“There were 110 kids born post 9/11, they are trying to understand what it means to be a quote/unquote ‘9/11 kid’… and being part of something that’s so public,” said Sears.
“There’s a community of understanding, and there is this unspoken bond. I think that it really is important to be there for these kids for the long haul…but also for the older kids that are just now graduating from college…so we provide guiding lights in that area as well.”
Like a Caring Hand, Tuesday’s Children continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the community beyond those who were impacted by 9/11 and offers a wide range of other programs, including mentoring, educational and career guidance,
“We all said never forget, and Tuesday’s Children likes to feel like we’re on the forefront of that remembering, and always being there for these children – through adulthood,” said Sears.