Since May 11, 2020, I have started my internship with the New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund (also known as Answer the Call), which is a non profit organization based out of New York City. With Answer the Call, the mission of the organization is to support the families of New York City Police Officers, Firefighters, Port Authority Police, and EMS Personnel who have been killed in the line of duty. In terms of supporting families of fallen first responders, the organization works to provide financial assistance and a support network for families to connect and honor their loved ones who were killed in the line of duty serving the City of New York. Answer the Call serves nearly 600 families. Personally, I chose this organization because of its values of honoring those who served our city and put their lives on the line for my safety. Furthermore, I have been exploring the potential career of going into law enforcement. It’s a calling for many, not just a regular 9-5 job. Just from my time with the organization, I have been able to see first hand (virtually) how the families are connected and stay connected to honor their loved ones. The organization has helped hundreds of families since the start of it which was during the mid 1980’s.
In terms of social justice issues that the organization is addressing, the organization honors the lives of fallen first responders and their families in numerous ways. Members of the New York City Police Department, Fire Department, Port Authority Police and EMS put their lives on the line everyday and some sadly have not had the opportunity to come home at the end of the day. This is known as a LODD or Line of Duty Death. The organization works with family members who lost loved ones in the line of duty to ensure they are receiving support via events, social groups and financial support. As of 2020, Answer the Call currently serves nearly six hundred families. First responders are usually forgotten about after a crisis as they are tasked to hold many different roles when responding to an emergency.
With Answer the Call, my tasks vary based on the needs of the organization. Annually, Answer the Call hosts an in-person gala which honors fallen first responders and raises funds for the organization, but due to the extenuating circumstances of COVID-19 the organization is exploring virtual methods of hosting the gala. Some of my day to day tasks include researching various vendors to host different parts of the gala, creating agendas, and interviewing potential partners. Furthermore, Answer the Call also hosts an annual golf tournament up in Westchester, New York. The golf enthusiast came out in me as I am an avid golf player. For this, I have been tasked to collaborate with various vendors, and work on prizes.
With COVID-19, Answer the Call has been nothing but helpful during the transition to a virtual workspace. Collaborating online is obviously different but weekly meetings helps me to build bonds with my colleagues. I’m looking forward to working with the families and the team down at Answer the Call.