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America's Kids Unite

On September 11, 2001, the father of Alana, Alyssa, Ashley, and Aubrey Welch drove to his work at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Later that morning, a plane flown by terrorists crashed into the Pentagon. For several hours, the Welch sisters didn't know whether or not their father was hurt.

The girls finally learned that their father, Lieutenant Colonel Tracy Welch, was safe. Relieved by the news, they wanted to help others who were affected by the terrorist attacks.

A Day of Hope

The next day, they decided to raise money for people hurt in the September 11 attacks. They started a car-wash program called “Wash America: Help Stop the Hurt.” Word of the program spread. People in 31 of the United States filled buckets with soapy water and scrubbed cars. Wash America raised $85,000 for charity.

“I never thought kids could change the world,” said Aubrey Welch. “But now I know that when people come together, even average kids like us, you can do anything.”

Participate in America

Young people and adults can participate and learn about civic involvement all year long, but the whole country celebrates volunteering during National Civic Participation Week. The first National Civic Participation Week was held September 11–17, 2002. The week was started by a group called Participate America. It was dedicated to “the unity that came out of September 11, 2001,” an official with the group said. “It is about selfless service to our communities and each other.”