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The 2012 Service Impact Award competition from the Corporation for National and Community Service was held in the early summer of 2012. The MSSU Resource Development Center entered the following proposal. The public was invited to vote for the best submission. We competed with over 225 other projects. While we didn't win the 2012 award, we look forward to future opportunities in this area.
One year ago, Joplin, Missouri, was ravaged by an F-5 tornado. It changed not only the landscape of our community, but our hearts. We celebrate the 127,489 volunteers who poured into Joplin for recovery efforts; we promote service by our citizens in our town and throughout the nation. This year, through the Corporation for National and Community Service 9/11 Grant, Missouri Southern State University anticipates engaging volunteers in Joplin and in Minot, North Dakota.
As our city continues to recover from disaster, our National Day of Service and Remembrance projects will focus on local efforts for rebuilding and recovery. Even 18 months after the tornado, there will be many projects to consider: parks to restore, trees to replace, homes to repair and construct. Our community has many opportunities to continue to grow together through service.
For our national service platform, we plan to take a contingent of students and community members to our sister city of Minot, North Dakota. We hope to encourage our neighbors and assist in the recovery from last spring’s devastating floods. As a gesture of good-faith, the citizens of Joplin will pass the first of many “Stars of Hope” to Minot during the Joplin Day of Unity ceremony. It is our promise, as we mark the one-year anniversary of the tornado, to pay forward the all the love and help received after our disaster. We envision that Minot will carry the tradition for 2013.
The Stars of Hope and the New York Says Thank You Foundation bought healing to Joplin last year at 9/11. It is from that experience that we propose to pay forward the message of hope. Even seven months after the Stars of Hope were place in the Joplin tornado devastation zone, passersby catch a glimpse of what it means to grow through tragedy. A little boy who dreams of being an astronaut catches sight of a blue star with a red border; it has a rocket ship pointed to the moon. A veteran, using debris, props up a star next to a storm-tattered American flag. A new mother finds encouragement from a yellow star with a child’s smudged green handprint. A city leader finds purpose in a red star, decorated with a simple daisy, proclaiming the message of “COMMUNITY”. Through each individual encounter with a star, our community continues to grow stronger!
The relationships forged in Joplin’s project “Remembering 9/11 from Joplin’s Ground Zero” and all the related activities guide our efforts. Our success could not be possible without the support of our partners: the City of Joplin, Joplin Public Schools, New York Says Thank You Foundation, Stars of Hope Foundation, Boy Scouts of America and the faith-based community. We look forward to partnering with all of these organizations for many years to come as we build an innovative and sustainable National Day of Service and Remembrance platform for continued success.