NationSwell is kicking off 2020 with a series that looks back on our biggest moments of impact from 2019. In our fourth installment, we’re delighted to celebrate a Bob Woodruff Foundation grant that supports Tuesday’s Children.

NationSwell: Thanks for taking the time to speak, Terry. Tell us about the mission of Tuesday’s Children.

Tuesday’s Children’s Terry Sears: Tuesday’s Children began after the events of Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, where there were 3,051 children who lost a parent on that day. It was started as an organization to provide long term support for those children through mentoring programs, college and career guidance, and leadership programs, as well as programs for the surviving spouses. And in 2011, after the 10-year anniversary of September 11th, we broadened our mission to include the military families, the fallen, the gold star families, and have really been reaching out across the country. Our long-term healing model provides mentors (whether they’re career mentors or youth mentors) and leadership programs which adds value to the grief and the scholarship services that are currently available to the gold-star community. We are really pioneers for broad-based resilience focus tools for that community.

NS: Such an important cause. How has NationSwell been able to support you and your mission?

TS: I joined NationSwell to take part in the veterans roundtable series a few years back, where we heard anecdotally that less than 1% of all veterans’ organization served gold star families. The fact that there weren’t others doing this work reaffirmed our mission. We ended up receiving a sizable grant from the Bob Woodruff Foundation after meeting them through the NationSwell series. So much of organizational collaborations is between people and not so much organizations, as you hear a lot. From getting to know Marshall and Anne Marie (from the BWF) we’ve had opportunities to get the word out about the work we’ve done. Having some personal relationships that we made through NationSwell was great.

And the other thing is that, a couple of years ago, we started traveling to places like Silicon Valley, San Francisco, North Carolina any beyond where NationSwell had members, and I was able to set up meetings in each city. I met Mary Beth Bruggeman, president of the Mission Continues, who was able to connect us with veterans interested in continuing to serve in a different way — by being paired with a gold star child for four to six hours a month over the longterm. These were really important relationships for our organization. When I went to [the West Coast] we were able to get introductions with some of the big tech companies. And, as luck would have it, there was a NationSwell event when I was out there.

It was just really great to be able to walk into a new city and have 40 people right there, where you can say, “Hey, I’m an NSC member too,” and exchange cards and follow up in that way. That was great.

NationSwell is always trying to learn more about how we’ve supported our Council members in their efforts to make the world a better place. If we helped you, we’d love to hear more about it. Let us know.