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Voices of September 11th is a non-profit, non-partisan organization led by Founding Director and President Mary Fetchet, a clinical social worker who lost her son Brad in the attacks. VOICES was established in October of 2001 by Ms. Fetchet and Beverly Eckert, an insurance specialist and 9/11 widow, to create an information clearinghouse for those affected by the attacks through the use of a Web site, electronic newsletter, direct mailings and media outreach. It soon became clear that the 9/11 families required more than information and VOICES role evolved to meet our familiesí needs.  

 

In 2003 the group secured 501 (c)3 non-profit status. Headquartered in New Canaan, Connecticut with a satellite office in New Brunswick, New Jersey, VOICES today claims more than 9,100 members across the United States and worldwide.  

 

VOICES responded to the increased demands by also serving as an advocate on behalf of survivors and 9/11 families, as well as establishing an expanding series of mental health support groups, resiliency programs, and special events. VOICES information outreach continues to connect extended family members throughout the United States to each other and to all available 9/11 resources.  

 

Through the work of Mary Fetchet, VOICES has independently or in participation with other leading 9/11 organizations been involved in major issues surrounding 9/11 including: respectful notification and handling of unidentified remains, personal effects, establishment of memorials, mental health issues, and national and local preparedness.  

 

VOICES continues to support implementation of the 9/11 Commissionís recommendations for government reform. Ms. Fetchet has personally testified on 9/11 issues before the 9/11 Commission in 2003, the U.S. Senate's Governmental Affairs Committee in 2004, and the House Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations in 2006, among other agencies and organizations. Ms. Fetchet has received several awards including: National Justice Award 2003 and the Connecticut Hero Award, which was presented by U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman in August 2004. Other awards include a 2004 ABC Person of the Year, a 2005 Rotary Foundation - Paul Harris Fellowship and the American Red Cross Award, and a 2006 Eugene OíNeill Connecticutís Most Uncommon Women Award.  

 

The 9/11 Living Memorial is a permanent digital archive of tributes commemorating the lives and stories of September 11th. In August, 2006, VOICES launched the 9/11 Living Memorial project in collaboration with Septemberís Mission and its founder, Monica Iken, who conceived the project. In 2002, VOICES began collecting information about memorials, memorial foundations and events, and this content has been added to the project.  

 

VOICES has also sought to reach out to families and survivors, as well as raise general awareness of 9/11 related issues, through its annual information forum and commemorative luncheon. The two-day event that is held September 10-11 draws hundreds of participants and provides a range of information and support for all those affected by the September 11th attacks.  

 

In September 2004, VOICES used its annual information forum and luncheon to launch its Building Bridges Project, to foster cultural understanding and support for all those affected by terrorism internationally through exhibitions, exchange, competitions and good-will gestures such as the Send-A-Bear Program. The program, started in 2005, provides teddy bears and messages of support to victims of terrorism worldwide. The inaugural program for the victimís families of the Beslan, Russia school siege sent 350 teddy bears to Russia with bilingual good wishes. The effort was praised by Russiaís ambassador to the United States.  

 

In 2006, VOICES established a partnership with the United Nations Committee of New Canaan, CT and Afghan officials to coordinate cultural exchanges between 500 girls from schools in Afghanistan and high school students in the United States. The partnership resulted in a photo exhibition exchange in April 2006 between Afghan and US students co-sponsored by VOICES called, "Roshan: Light and Promise," for which each group took photos of their homes and lives.  

 

 

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