September 11, 2001.  8:46AM.

How old were you?

Do you remember where you were? Who you were with?

I was in Mrs. McCullum’s fourth grade class in Tampa, Florida when the Twin Towers were hit. It was the first time I remember being deeply afraid and confused. I didn’t understand what was happening.  All I knew was, that morning, everything had changed.

It is difficult times such as this which offer us an opportunity to step up and come together.

This world is full of bad people and negative circumstances, I know that. But I also know that this world is full of good. We are surrounded with opportunities to lend a hand to fix what has been broken and to build on what’s good in the world. That, in essence, is what attracted me to the non-profit sector and AmeriCorps by extension. Being part of an international movement for good is something I wouldn’t trade anything for. It’s too powerful.

Darkness is real, and evil things happen. But as a country, we are defined by how we respond to such heartbreak. Now more than ever, people are coming together. They are coming together to serve other people internationally, domestically, even in their own communities. We all have gifts we can offer to someone else, I implore you not to waste them.

So join me today in mourning for the ones we lost that day. Join the families who are still reeling from the devastation. But also join me in rejoicing in the hope that our country is stronger because of tragedy. Most of all, join me in hoping for and preparing a better future for each other.

Written by: Jessi Tobin, Community Outreach Coordinator