An Open Letter from Lisa Orloff, Founder and President of World Cares Center
“On this 15th anniversary of 9/11/2001 and a new beginning for me, I reflect on the journey that has taken me so far and yet still very much present in the reality of life with the attacks of 9/11. Forever that day and the events that unfolded will be fused into the fabric of who we are.
When we first came together to help in those early hours, the overwhelming purity of goodwill and selflessness was like a tidal wave that you became swept up in. In contrast to the death and destruction of the evil deed, being a part of the goodwill that followed fed your soul. It showed you that there was still goodness, that you could contribute and help to heal our city and our global community.
This was not a New York-centric feeling, this was universal and people from around the world needed to be here. They needed to say NO! this is not okay and despite our political differences we are a global family and we take care of each other.
Anyone who responded would likely agree that the pain was almost unbearable however there was the brightest of lights, the warmest sense of generosity and human kindness.
The recovery proved to be more challenging, at least for me. I was not experienced or prepared for what came next, to navigate the cycle of grief that a whole community would go through at one time. There was not one person that remained untouched and perspectives became extreme. During this process, World Cares Center came into being and opened our September Space, caring for 45,000 responders, volunteers and family members in a center that was open 7 days a week seemed like a natural progression. During this time, I once again had the honor of working with another set of caregivers, those who would help heal the world or at least New Yorkers. Survivors from Oklahoma, therapists, artists, acupuncturist, writers, actors, playwrights, and many more found ways to apply their skills to those that suffered because they helped.
As we moved forward, we documented our lessons learned and turned them into a teaching program to ensure others would learn from our mistakes and our achievements. Little did we know how much this would be needed.
My life is full of short stories, stories of you, the average person who stepped up and gave so much more. Forever, you are a thread in the fabric of who I am today. Those pearls of wisdom, those acts of kindness, even harsh criticism, have all motivated, inspired, evoked reflection and ultimately action.
On this 15th Anniversary, I extend my deepest condolences for those who lost their loved ones and offer my sincerest thanks to all of you who helped and for the many ways you gave a piece of yourself to help us heal.
Let us never forget what happened, what we lost, and also what we have gained.”
World Cares Center was founded by Lisa Orloff 15 years ago after the events of 9/11 changed her life and perspective. Since that day, World Cares Center has not only supported responders and volunteers in New York City, but also around the world during disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the Haitian Earthquake, Superstorm Sandy, and Typhoon Haiyan. Our hearts go out to every single person impacted by 9/11/2001. Thank you for letting us take a moment today to share Lisa Orloff’s reflection on her experience after 9/11. We’d also like to take this time to thank everyone who takes the opportunity to be a helper after any disaster.