Since 2001, Tuesday's Children has successfully implemented a longitudinal and adaptive approach to assisting children and families impacted by the September 11, 2001 tragedy and subsequent incidents of terrorism and traumatic loss. Through the publication and dissemination of our Long-Term Healing Model, we aim to share our experiences creating and providing needs-based services for traumatized and bereaved populations, our knowledge in community-building and successful outreach, and our lessons learned throughout the evolution of our organization. It is our sincere hope that this will inform future program development for community-based organizations, corporate or employee assistance programs, government agencies and other service providers seeking to deliver effective long-term recovery services in response to tragedies in their own communities.
Tuesday’s Children’s time-tested, long-term approach—forged in the aftermath of 9/11—enables families and communities torn apart by tragedyAn event or occurrence that has a longitudinal impact causing profound loss, emotional or physical wounds, suffering or devastation in a local or global community, often resulting in multiple deaths and warranting long-term, needs-based, family-focused services to promote healing, build resilience, eliminate isolation and create common bonds. to heal, recover and thrive for a lifetime. Through evidence-based programs—trauma and grief support, youth mentoring, mental health and wellness services, skills-building workshops, career resources, parenting advisement, youth leadership development, community and family engagement events, and volunteerism opportunities—we strengthen resilience, foster post-traumatic growthPost-traumatic growth (PTG) or benefit finding refers to positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning.
(Tedeshi, R.G., & Calhoun, L.G. (2004). Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundation and Empirical Evidence. Philadelphia, PA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.) and build common bonds.
Tuesday’s Children’s Long-Term Healing Model (the Model) focuses on community outreach and engagement, building and maintaining trust with service populations, creating a unique bridge to mental health services and supports, and directly involving families and other service populations in the development of programs that best meet their evolving and long-term needs. Replication and adaptation in other communities has the potential to transform and augment the delivery of humanitarian work, social services and long-term support in the wake of tragedies.
- Long-term commitment and response
- Broad, community-based outreach
- Needs-based, adaptive approach
- Evidence-based, resilience-building services
- Carefully selected partnerships
- Family/community involvement and feedback
Tuesday’s Children has spent over 15 years working with more than 15,000 individuals impacted by September 11th and other traumatic events. Expansion efforts have engaged responders, military families of the fallen across the U.S., global victims of terrorism, and other U.S. and global communities impacted by mass violence. Tuesday’s Children serves children and families residing in 44 U.S. states. Our international initiative, Project COMMON BOND, has united over 550 teenagers and young adults from 25 countries to transform their experiences losing a loved one in an act of terrorism, violent extremism or war into global peacebuilding efforts and friendships that transcend borders. In 2013, we established the Resiliency Center of Newtown—now a standalone nonprofit and the largest service provider to those impacted by the 2012 Newtown tragedy.
Tuesday’s Children now serves as a crucial support network for military families of the fallen across the U.S. and will be expanding these efforts over the next few years to support the more than 18,000 families who have lost a military service member. We continue to share our lessons learned in partnerships with international and local communities recovering from acts of terrorism and other mass-scale tragedies.
Tuesday’s Children’s Long-Term Healing Model and work with global victims of terrorism, violent extremism and war have been recognized by multiple academic, government and global institutions, including the Harvard University Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University Law School’s Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program, the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), the United Nations International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Women Without Borders, New York Psychiatric Institute at Columbia University, NYU Child Study Center, Adelphi University, the International Association of Social Work with Groups and Fordham Graduate School of Social Service.
Tuesday’s Children’s Long-Term Healing Model has been codified and compiled to assist communities impacted by mass-scale tragedies and incidents of traumatic loss.
The Model will be released in 2017 as a white paper/resource guide conveying key lessons learned throughout the evolution of Tuesday’s Children and the expansion of our services to other communities. The reader will be given practical applications of these lessons, guidance in replication and adaptation, as well as experiential and anecdotal information from our organizational history.
Geared towards policymakers, service providers, individuals and volunteers, the training guides participants through our lessons learned and helps them create an individualized roadmap for long-term healing.
Tuesday’s Children offers consulting on implementation strategies in a range of areas:
Through a pro bono partnership with JP Morgan Chase’s Force For Good, Technology for Social Good, we will be launching an interactive, user-friendly site in May 2017. The site, tuesdayschildrenheals.org, provides an interactive home for our online training modules, comprehensive resources, historical information and guidelines for community-based engagement and services to traumatized and bereaved communities.
We offer tools for creating community, building trust and engaging service populations, conducting outreach and developing and delivering needs-based, long-term support services.
We are setting new standards for the provision of needs-based social support services to traumatized and bereaved communities, emphasizing that establishing trust with the community and service population(s) is paramount to delivering effective services.
We provide a range of support services that can guide you on the road to healing, as well as information on trauma and grief reactions in children and interventions for mitigating those reactions.
Our Long-Term Healing Model teaches valuable lessons in community needs for recovery and resilience after traumatic events to enhance knowledge in the fields of disaster response and mental health service provision.
We demonstrate our accomplishments and outcomes to advocate for the need for long-term services to support children, families and communities impacted by mass-scale tragedies and traumatic incidents, as well as for the need for increased and sustainable funding to support such services.
The life-altering impact of terrorism and violent extremism does not end with the emergency response. Tuesday’s Children’s family-focused support endures long after the media and other aid organizations have moved on. Our programs have brought promising post-traumatic growth to the families we serve, but they still need support.
- The average age of the 3,051 children who lost a parent on 9/11 was 8. Anniversaries, life milestones and transitions continue to trigger strong emotions and painful reminders.
- 37,000+ responders and survivors are suffering from 9/11-related illnesses (nearly 5,400 from cancers), and 1,700+ have died. (The Guardian, 2016, World Trade Center Health Program, 2016)
- U.S. Military casualties since 9/11 exceed 18,000. (U.S. Dept. of Defense, 2014) 60% of children of active-duty fallen service members are under 12, and 27% under 5. (Lucas Group, 2014)
- 61,000+ global terrorist incidents since 2001 have caused 140,000+ deaths. (Global Terrorism Index, 2016)
- Mass killings occur every two weeks in the U.S. with a third of the victims under age 18. (FBI, 2016)
For children and families impacted by traumatic loss, those everyday painful reminders, life transitions and milestones can retrigger grief and bereavement and continue throughout the lifespan. Children’s understandings of grief change as they develop, warranting special attention as they grow into adulthood. Widows often face concerns with raising their children, coping with grief reactions, disciplining, financial planning and reconstituting their own lives without their spouses. Families and individuals suffering from traumatic loss represent a particularly vulnerable and difficult-to-engage population, as they often isolate themselves in the aftermath of loss and remain disconnected from their peers. Tuesday’s Children’s community-building programs and adaptive approach to long-term healing provide a unique opportunity for families and children to build resilience, grow in the aftermath of trauma, and connect with families with common bonds who have experienced similar losses. This allows participants to commemorate their loss and find ways to continue to heal.
In considering various applications of our Model we developed a definition of tragedy and methodology for how we would respond to other traumatic events.
(noun) an event or occurrence that has a longitudinal impact causing profound loss, emotional or physical wounds, suffering or devastation in a local or global community, often resulting in multiple deaths and warranting long-term, needs-based, family-focused services to promote healing, build resilience, eliminate isolation and create common bonds.
We examined incidents that closely fit with our model and scope as well as those that we felt might be outside of our scope, such as natural disasters, where only certain resources from our Model would apply. Based on this definition, we have focused on applying our Model to the following “tragedies”: incidents of global and domestic terrorism, mass shootings and other violent events that impact defined local and global communities, and the large number of families of fallen post-9/11 U.S. military service members. As community needs for long-term recovery and support continue to grow, we have outreached and expanded to new populations that can benefit from our lessons learned. Tuesday’s Children’s Long-Term Healing Model has assisted bereaved 9/11 families, families of 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, families of fallen military service members, global victims of terrorism and violent extremism, and local communities recovering from mass shootings and other incidents of traumatic loss.
As we continue in our strategic mission to promote long-term healing in all those impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss, we are broadening our outreach to military families of the fallen nationwide and sharing our Model with other communities that need support. We continue to solidify partnerships with local and international communities that have been impacted by terrorism and traumatic loss and can benefit from our adaptive approach to building trust and resilience in children and families.
Tuesday’s Children’s Model gives our service populations the critical skills needed for their successful progression into a happy, healthy and prosperous future. We have linked families with similar experiences, creating a community of support, which has had a profoundly positive impact on their collective healing. We believe youth impacted by terrorism require special attention, education, and empowerment to support them through developmental stages, milestones and identity formation. In return, these teenagers and young adults live emotionally healthy and productive lives and can have a measurably positive impact on their home communities and families.
It is important to note that Tuesday’s Children’s Model is not a universal template that fits all populations and tragedies. We encourage other organizations and individuals seeking to apply our model to identify variables specific to their particular needs and mold and shape their optimal community response and programming. The Model is designed to be adjusted and modified in accordance with cultural considerations and language, and programs should be developed and modified in format, outreach methods, frequency, length and content.
It is universally important to focus on creating trust and building community in order to engage the target populations, continually assess and reassess the needs of the populations served in order to create and adapt effective programs and keep the promise to provide long-term support and healing.