Do you remember where you were on September 11th, 2001? Were you in downtown Manhattan or
Washington, D.C. in the midst of the chaos? Were you on the street with friends, co-workers,
or strangers huddled around a radio trying to figure out exactly what happened?
Were you sitting by the television watching the events unfold? The events of September 11th
were both shocking and terrifying for many people here in the United States and all over
Since September 11th, people here and abroad have struggled to come to terms with the
tragic events of that fateful day. Individuals have wrestled with the meaning it has in
their lives and the lives of their families. Dr. Marlena Vega has worked very closely both
here in New York City and all over the country to help people cope with these tragic events.
Specifically, she has focused on helped children, uniformed service personnel and various
immigrant populations persevere in their lives by sharing her mantra "One must believe in
success in order to succeed; One must believe in survival in order to survive".
Dr. Marlena conceived and organized the Bears on Broadway campaign – aided by the
assistance from the cast of the Broadway production Proof. Working together, they helped
distribute over 250 bears and participated in a talent show featuring professional comedians
in an effort to raise funds for the families of fallen firefighters from Ladder Company 9.
She also, helped organize the Bears that Care campaign which distributed over 96,000
bears throughout New York City to children, police officers, firefighters, and the families
who were affected by September 11th. Due to the positive feedback from this campaign,
Dr. Marlena started the Pen Pal program between students in New York City, California
and Texas. The purpose of the program was to have children develop support networks with
peers throughout the country and help them comprehend these tragic events and their meanings.
In addition, Dr. Marlena has worked as a consultant with the Mexican, Guatemalan, and
Columbian Consulates to help them address the needs and concerns of these specific populations
here in New York City as a result of September 11th. She assisted the Consulates in
establishing support groups for people which dealing with such topics as PTSD, depression,
and shock. Dr. Marlena also assisted the Asociación Tepeyac de New York in helping
families of immigrants locate their loved ones who were believed to be in the World Trade