World Cares Center was founded shortly after 9/11 by Spontaneous Unaffiliated Community Volunteers (SUCVs) in New York City, who saw a need to bring together various agencies and community-based organizations in a safe and collaborative environment. As a result, the first of two September Space Community Resiliency Centers was established to promote social, emotional and physical healing for the entire responder community.
After fulfilling the strong need for Community Resiliency Centers in times of tragedy, World Cares Center addressed the root cause of this need by introducing its Disaster Preparation & Trauma Mitigation program to bridge the gap between SUCVs and official disaster responders. World Cares Center staff realized that, because SUCVs were not affiliated with official response agencies, they lacked access to information and services regarding emotional, social and physical preparedness and recovery. Therefore, they were underutilized and mismanaged during the disaster response. World Cares Center's strategy to increase the efficiency and manageability of this vital community resource led to the creation of training programs for both SUCVs and the managers who lead them. Through these programs, communities learn how to mobilize their members, collaborate with local agencies and develop their own recovery strategies, completing the cycle of preparedness and long-term disaster recovery.
World Cares Center has grown from a volunteer-run and zero-budget community center founded in the aftermath of tragedy to a national organization promoting proactive and collaborative disaster preparedness, response and resilient recovery between community members and the emergency mangers who will lead them.
The September Space Community Resilience Center (SSCRC) located in midtown Manhattan, served as the crucible where WCC's ideas were tested and as the centerpiece of our services to individuals, groups and communities affected by 9/11. Through dynamic partnerships, World Cares Center gathered the services of caregivers and community leaders who provided long-term recovery programs for disaster-stricken communities, long after the relief agencies had withdrawn their support. Through September Space, World Cares Center offered educational and resilience-building programs to Manhattan residents, workers, students, caregivers from community-based programs, minority populations who experience barriers to services, disaster survivors, disaster volunteers, responders, recovery workers, and returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. As individuals moved through the stages of recovery at their own pace, they benefited from the long-term availability of different forms of support. Due to the broad range of client needs, and because World Cares Center recognized the essential value of cooperation with other organizations in providing services to participants, WCC depended on its associates for their expertise.
The comprehensive roster of agencies with whom WCC has developed working relationships includes the American Group Psychotherapy Association, the American Red Cross, Arts for All, Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, Chinese Planning Council, Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Jewish Board of Family & Children's Services, Mental Health Association of New York, Mount Sinai Medical Center, National Organization for Victim's Assistance, New York Disaster Counseling Coalition, New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS), New York Downtown Hospital, New York University Art Therapy, NYCOSH (New York Committee of Occupational Safety and Health), Safe Horizon, September's Mission, Living Memorial Committee, St. Vincent's Medical Center, Swedish Institute, Tuesday's Children, World Trade Center Survivors Network and the World Trade Center Permanency Project.