9/11 ‘children’ still receive support

By Bill San Antonio The Island Now

The children who lost their parents in the September 11 attacks 13 years ago are growing up, but the services offered to them by the Manhasset-based non-profit Tuesday’s Children have not ended.

“The needs are still there,” said Terry Sears, a Manhasset native who is the executive director of Tuesday’s Children. “Sometimes people think, ‘It’s been 13 years. They’ve grown up,’ but a lot of them are still going through their teenage years. They still need help.”

The organization’s mission has changed, she said, from helping children cope with losing their parents in such a sudden and horrific fashion to helping them develop the skills they need to mature into successful adults.

Between 1,500 and 1,800 of the more than 3,000 children who lost parents on September 11 are still teenagers, Sears said, adding that 38 Manhasset families were affected by the attacks.

Tuesday’s Children offers various counseling and mentoring programs and a career resource center that she said provides tutorials in resume writing and excelling in job interviews.

“When the organization started, we promised to walk these kids into adulthood and that’s what we continue to do,” Sears said.

Tuesday’s Children has also partnered with the American Widow Project to unite widows of armed forces members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan for three days of healing later this month, she said.

Tuesday’s Children has also taken that model to other conflict areas, Sears said.

The organization in 2008 launched Project Common Bond through funding from the State Department and Institute of Peace to bring together children of September 11 victims and those left orphaned by terror from more than 20 countries.

In wake of the December 2012 mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., Tuesday’s Children set up counseling centers to assist families there face post-traumatic stress and other mental challenges.

Sears said Tuesday’s Children has also provided aid to the Girls on the Run program in Newtown, among other empowerment programs, to help rebuild confidence.

“They’re using the Tuesday’s Children model of long-term healing and family engagements that make people want to move on positively,” she said. “Tuesday’s Children has become the model.”

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