BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Two dozen teenagers who are all too familiar with pain and loss are working with the Habitat for Humanity chapter in Bay St. Louis. The teens all lost loved ones when terrorists attacked America on 9/11. Their work in Hancock County is a big part of their healing process.
Brandon Anaya was six-years-old when his dad, a New York City firefighter, died. A decade later, Brandon is determined to carry on the legacy his father left behind.
"My dad was all about helping other people. I'd kind of like to following in his footsteps cause he was such a great man," Anaya said.
Anaya is one of 22 teenagers who are part of the Tuesday's Children program. The non-profit organization was born out of the ashes of 9/11 to provide support to children who lost loved ones on that ill fated day.
"People think that it's been ten years and so they should be beyond all of this. And they've made great strides and they are beyond a lot of things, but the issues surface at different ages of development. Kids grieve at different points of development," said Kathy Murphy, Director of the Tuesday's Children Program.
Trips like the one to Bay St. Louis are designed to help the teens bond with others who have gone through a similar tragedy.
Julia Coombs' dad was on American Airline Flight 11 that crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
"When he died, so many people helped my family. I just feel like it's my job now to give back to the community and make sure that when people are in need, they can get the help that they need to get back on their feet like we did," said Coombs.
Kathryn Grazioso lost her father and an uncle during the terrorist attacks.
"It's been really hard, but I try to just look on the positive side of everything. Cause I know I shouldn't, like, be depressed. My dad wouldn't want me all upset in life. So I try to stay up, stay positive," Grazioso said.
In this case, they're helping others by painting a Habitat home built in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, proving the Tuesday's Children motto that "helping heals."
The Tuesday's Children's Program works with 1,400 families and more than 3,000 children of 9/11 victims, providing all types of assistance to help them cope with their losses.