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World Cares Center’s History

Our History

World Cares Center (WCC) was founded during the 9/11 relief effort by Spontaneous Unaffiliated Community Volunteers (SUCVs) in New York City, who
experienced both the positive energy and contributions citizen made to their own communities recovery and also the challenges of integrating community volunteers and leaders into response systems that would thereby reduce confusion and the secondary harm that comes from disaster volunteering.

Seeing the need to bring together various agencies and community-based organizations in a safe and collaborative environment World Cares Center was born and the first of its programs, the September Space Community Resiliency Center was established to promote social, emotional and physical healing for the entire responder community.

Through the process of meeting the strong need for a Community Resiliency Centers in times of tragedy, WCC began to identify and address the root cause of emotional and physical disaster volunteer/worker trauma.

The Disaster Preparation & Trauma Mitigation program was developed to bridge the gap between SUCVs and official disaster responders. Realizing that,
because SUCVs were not affiliated with official response agencies, they lacked access to information and services regarding emotional, social and physical preparedness and recovery, leaving them underutilized and mismanaged during the disaster response WCC built a model to provide this support.

WCC’s strategy is to improve the level of knowledge within communities to enable volunteers and leaders to respond safety mitigating harm, understand and develop common disaster management strategies and learn new and important skills.

WCC has grown from a volunteer-run and zero-budget community center founded in the aftermath of tragedy to a global movement promoting proactive and collaborative disaster preparedness, response and resilient recovery between community members and the emergency mangers who will lead them.

The September Space Community Resilience Center (SSCRC) located in midtown Manhattan served as the crucible where WCC’s ideas were tested, and was the centerpiece of our services to individuals, groups and communities affected by 9/11. From November 2001 to December 2007, WCC’s September Space Community Resiliency Centers served over 45,000 individuals.

WCC has trained disaster volunteers and managers in 27 states and 4 countries while simultaneously working on the ground with community leaders and spontaneous volunteers. WCC deployed to Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 Earthquake, delivering critically needed supplies, medical staff and training to survivors of this horrific event.

Locally, WCC has been a leader within New York City’s Volunteers Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) community, playing an active part in the city’s response to Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. WCC was immediately deployed in the affected areas, setting up Volunteer Coordination and Reception Centers in multiple boroughs. By 2015, WCC prepared 1,400 homes for rebuild and trained upwards of 22,000 local disaster volunteers post-Superstorm Sandy.