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“On 9/11 we witnessed the worst of humanity, and yet, we also witnessed the best of humanity. People came to help with whatever had to be done. Their acts of ocmpassion were also self-rewarding. It’s amazing to see how human beings set aside many petty issues during an emergency and focus on how to make things better.”
The literature and research in the trauma field has shown that people and communities are remarkably resilient in the face of disaster, and that with proper social support they find their resources for coping and healing after such events.
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, it has become clear that some of the most significant efforts toward recovery in New York City were made by small ad hoc groups of volunteers and grass-root organizations that came together to respond to the needs that they knew best in their families, neighborhoods, schools, and communities.
This was often done with very little or no financial support, and sometimes the added challenge of having to surmount difficult institutional barriers.
The efforts of the Independence Plaza North Tenants Association exemplify what we know to be a crucial component of effective disaster response and preparedness – community involvement.
Jack Saul, Ph.D.
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