For Teens: How to Help After the Terrorist Attacks

For many people, the best way to deal with a tragedy is by joining with others and helping out. Feeling like you have a positive purpose and keeping busy after the violence can start the healing process. You may feel like there’s not much that you can do, but there is. Here are a few things you can do to help:

  • Make a donation or start a drive. If possible, give up some of your allowance or savings and urge your parent to make a cash donation to the American Red Cross by calling 800-HELP-NOW. Although the national office of the Red Cross does not accept donations of food and clothing from individuals, find out if the local chapter of your Red Cross needs and accepts donations of clothing and canned goods. You can also help start a local drive at your school. If you are at least 17 years old, call 800-GIVE-LIFE to make an appointment to donate blood. If you can’t give blood, encourage your parents and other family members over 17 to donate.
  • Listen and offer your support. Holding a friend’s hand, singing a patriotic song, or even giving someone a hug can make a difference. Many people have stories to tell, and talking about your emotions and feelings is important. If your friends want to talk, be a good listener. Be sure to get help if someone is talking about violence or hurting himself or someone else.
  • Attend local vigils and ceremonies. You can take part in prayer ceremonies, memorial services, and other events that may be planned in your neighborhood or community. It makes everyone feel better to know that they have support from others when they are in pain. Even if you don’t know anyone directly involved in the attacks, you can still grieve for the loss of lives and let those left behind know that you care.

Reviewed by: Neil Izenberg, MD 
Date reviewed: September 2001

Reprinted from with permission.
Copyright 2001. The Nemours Foundation.