Group Seeks to Help Military Families of the Fallen
Tuesday’s Children, which was started after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, also seeks to help the families of soldiers killed in conflicts.
SPRING LAKE — Latasha Dawson’s children did not need any encouragement to join in the fun at the Tuesday’s Children Fathers Day event Sunday.
“My 3-year-old and 10-year old just left me and went straight to the bounce house,” Dawson said. “They were like, ‘Bye!’ ”
The Dawsons were some of dozens of military families who participated in the event, held at McCormick Farms in Spring Lake.
The purpose was to introduce families of fallen soldiers to the Tuesday’s Children program as it expands beyond its home base in New York City.
“We have committed to bringing our programming to the Gold Star families in North Carolina, said Liz Zirkle, director of the Tuesday’s Children military initiative. “The beginning and end is about giving the kids a good day.”
Zirkle said the nonprofit Tuesday’s Children was formed after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — a Tuesday. Its goal was to help the families of those killed in the attacks and other affected by the tragedy.
Gradually, the group’s mission expanded to provide mentoring and other services to the families of soldiers killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other fronts in the war against terror.
“Our focus is resilience,” Zirkle said. “It’s answering the question of, ‘What now? What are the next steps?’ ”
The group’s services include youth mentoring, crisis and grief counseling, career guidance and community service. More information is available at tuesdayschildren.org.
Sunday’s Fathers Day event was Tuesday’s Children’s first foray into North Carolina, Zirkle said.
“For us, it gives us an opportunity to meet the families, introduce ourselves,” Zirkle said. “This is not so much an recruitment as in introduction.”
At McCormick Farms, the families were treated to a meal and invited to play in a bounce house and other equipment. Caricature artist Bruce Stevenson drew pictures of some of the participants.
Dawson brought her four sons — Darris Jr, 13; Day’von, 11; Ty’Darrion, 10; and Benjamin, 3. Dawson said the boys’ father was killed in Iraq in 2008.
“Having that connection with other children, it helps them a lot,” Dawson said. “These kinds of events, I can’t stress enough how much it helps the children. It lets them know they’re not alone.”
Shatasheona Fayne was at the event with her sisters Eshonna Anderson, 12; Ijanae Anderson, 11; and mother, Nashina Anderso