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:: NYDIS ED Speaks at Georgetown's Alwaleed Center Conference

On April 30, the American Muslim Studies Program (AMSP) at Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU) held a one-day conference on “Muslim Giving in America: Tradition, Law and Politics” at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The conference addressed pertinent issues facing the Muslim community in general, and Muslim social and relief organizations in particular, in their efforts of serving humanity. NYDIS Executive Director Peter Gudaitis spoke on a panel on Relief and Welfare entitled, “Faith-Based Partnerships for Disaster Relief: A New Horizon of Working Together.”

For more information, visit:
:: NYDIS & Partners Reach $7M Distributed by NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable

On April 24, the amount of aid distributed through the NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable (UNR) reached the $7 million mark. Currently, the Roundtable is the only remaining 9/11 recovery program that provides financial assistance to 9/11-impacted persons who have immediate unmet needs. Since 2002, it has brought together over 18 donor agencies and 90 human service agencies to financially assist people affected by 9/11 and facilitate their sustainable long-term recovery in cases when all other means of assistance are no longer available. Years after 9/11, financial need continues to be significant, especially amongst the 9/11 health-impacted recovery worker population.
:: NYDIS Awarded $333,000 in CNCS AmeriCorps*VISTA Funding for 17 VISTAs

The Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS), New York State Office approved NYDIS’s AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program for a second year. This grant year with CNCS runs from April 2008 to April 2009. The $333,000 grant covers member stipends, member training, and program coordination. The NYDIS program, entitled “Capacity Building for Disaster Preparedness & Recovery,” will place 17 VISTA members at NYDIS and eight partnering disaster human services sub-sites in New York City and Long Island. These sub-sites include Muslim Consultative Network (MCN), Nassau County Office of Emergency Management, New York Annual Conference (NYAC) – United Methodist Church, New York City Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM), New York City Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NYC VOAD), Sikh Coalition, Suffolk County Office of Emergency Management, and World Vision.

To apply, see the position descriptions or contact:
Amber Gibson
:: NYDIS Releases New Program Profiles

This week NYDIS will release its new 2008 Program Profiles just in time for the National VOAD Conference to be held May 5-9 in Little Rock Arkansas. The profiles are now available on the NYDIS website and provide an overview of each of our current programs and training services. These programs and services include:
  • Overview of NYDIS Programs & Services
  • Advocacy
  • AmeriCorps*VISTA
  • Community Outreach & Training
  • Consulting & Training Services
  • Emergency Rest Centers
  • Planning
  • Recovery
  • Unmet Needs Roundtables
View the new Program Profiles:
:: NYDIS and Partners to Launch Emergency Rest Center (ERC) Training

In May, in collaboration with NYU’s World Faith Program and the NYC Office of Emergency Management (NYC OEM), NYDIS will begin offering a three-hour training to houses of worship that would like to become NYDIS Emergency Rest Centers (ERC).

NYDIS ERCs are houses of worship who volunteer to self-activate or be activated by NYDIS to serve the public by offering hospitality and safe haven during emergencies. They also can be activated as cooling or heating centers. Houses of worship must meet basic criteria established in conjunction with NYC OEM. The training also provides operational guidance for volunteers and volunteer managers from NYDIS ERC houses of worship. If your house of worship wishes to participate, please contact NYDIS or register in HOWCALM® (www.howcalm.org) with an indication of your interest.  Over 40 houses of worship are currently pre-registered.

If you have questions, contact:
Rick Fernandez - Trainer, Community Outreach and Training
:: NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable Updates
  • NYC 9/11 In-Service Training for Case Workers
    In-Service Training is required for case workers who have never presented a case at the Roundtable, and is recommended as a refresher for experienced case workers who have previously presented cases. All training sessions take place at NYDIS (map).
  • NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable Schedule
    The NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable brings together donors and agencies providing case management services to financially assist individuals impacted by 9/11. Case managers who would like to present a case to the Roundtable must sign up for a case review meeting with the Moderator. Case review hours are posted on a bi-weekly basis on 9/11 RWCAN at https://911rwcan.communityos.org/cms/
    • Thursday, May 8 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)
    • Thursday, May 22 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)

    To RSVP, contact:
    Lida Mora, Moderator, NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable
  • NYC 9/11 Case Management Coordination Meetings
    NYDIS hosts monthly Case Management Coordination meetings for service providers that are assisting 9/11 recovery workers and the general 9/11-affected community. These meetings are open to representatives from any service providers that wish to coordinate and share information about their services and the community's needs.
    • Monday, May 19 - 10:00 am-12:00 pm

    To RSVP, contact:
    Lida Mora, Moderator, NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable
:: NYC 9/11 Recovery Resources

A comprehensive list of news, updates and resources for 9/11 victims and injured recovery workers, updated weekly:
:: Recovery Resources for Other NYC Area Disasters
:: Pope Makes Pastoral Visit to the World Trade Center Site

On the morning of Sunday, April 20, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI visited the WTC site. The Archdiocese of New York organized a small group of people who lost family members on 9/11 to attend this ceremony at Ground Zero. Before the ceremony, the Holy Father personally met these people as a cardinal spoke briefly about each lost family member. After the Holy Father lit a candle in memory of the people who lost their lives on 9/11, he said a prayer for eternal light for those people, for healing for everyone who survived, and for peace in our world. Following the visit, he led an afternoon Public Solemn Pontifical Mass at Yankee Stadium in both English and Spanish.

Read the prayer: click here

For more information about the Pope’s visit:
:: Health Department Announces New Program for 9/11 Mental Health Treatment

On April 21, the NYC Health Department announced its plans for a new program that will cover mental health and substance abuse treatment for New York City residents and workers who are still struggling with the psychological impacts of 9/11. The program will reimburse eligible New Yorkers for out-of-pocket outpatient treatment including therapy, medication, lab work, and evaluations received anytime between January 2, 2007 and January 7, 2011. According to data collected in the years following 9/11, as many as 40% of Lower Manhattan residents experienced stress symptoms that indicate a potential for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Similarly, recovery workers experienced PTSD symptoms three times more than the rest of the population. Enrollment for the benefit will continue from the present until July 2010.

For more information:

To find out if you are eligible for the benefit or to enroll, go to:
:: Head of EPA Not Liable for 9/11 Health Damage

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Christie Whitman, cannot be held liable for misleading Lower Manhattan residents and workers to believe that the air was safe after 9/11. The court explained that Whitman was in the uncomfortable position of both being directed by the federal government to get financial workers back to work as soon as possible and being aware that the air in Lower Manhattan was unsafe. While the court admitted that her decision to state that the air was safe may not have been wise, they do not think it makes her liable for the health consequences that resulted.

Read the NY Times article:
:: Rep. Nadler Issues Statement Concerning 9/11 Lawsuit Immunity

After the Second Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision that the former administrator of the Environmental Protect Agency is immune from lawsuits about her false statements concerning the quality of the air in Lower Manhattan after 9/11, Rep. Jerrold Nadler stated his disappointment with the decision. Nadler cited the evidence that the EPA and the Bush administration knowingly misled the public about the safety of the area and emphasized that the federal government has a responsibility to provide health services for the people who were negatively impacted. He again encouraged Congress to pass the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act that would provided medical care and compensation to people whose health and well-being have been compromised by their exposure to the air at Ground Zero.

Read the April 22 press release:
:: National September 11 Memorial & Museum Invites Participation

Joseph C. Daniels, President & CEO, and Alice Greenwald, Director of the Memorial Museum, encourage individuals and families affected by 9/11 to contribute their mementos and stories to the Memorial Museum collection. In a letter to these families, they write:
Your participation in building this Memorial Museum is so meaningful to us.  We sincerely hope you will consider helping us realize our mission of remembrance, education and inspiration by participating in the Voices of September 11th Living Memorial, by agreeing to record a StoryCorps interview and by entrusting to our care materials that will enable us to preserve and honor the memory of your loved ones.
Read the entire letter: click here

Learn more about the Living Memorial and StoryCorps projects: click here

From Our Members & Partners

  • NVOAD Now Accepting New Members

    National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) has approved its updated membership criteria and now is taking applications for new members. NVOAD works to coordinate planning and response efforts during and after disasters to increase the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of that response. This kind of collaboration between agencies is becoming increasingly important as the number and scope of disasters continues to rise. Organizations with voluntary membership and financial accountability that provide disaster relief services are welcomed to apply.

    View the Membership Criteria and Application: click here
  • National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN) Launches Membership Drive

    NYDISnetThe National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN) is pleased to announce that it has been incorporated with the State of New York and now enjoys 501(c)(3) status. NDIN was founded in 2006 by a group of Executive Directors from local, regional, and state disaster interfaith organizations. The network was launched at the 2007 National VOAD Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico last summer. Its mission is to reduce disaster-caused human suffering through the exchange of information and cooperative support across the nation. On February 1st, NDIN released its corporate documents as well as its Program Profile and 2008 Membership Application. Its website, www.n-din.org, will be available in March. All local, regional, and state disaster interfaiths are invited to join.

    To become a member of NDIN, submit the Membership Application: click here

    To view the NDIN Program Overview: click here

    For more information, contact:
    Emily Stoneham, VISTA Member, NDIN


  • Sikh Coalition Releases Civil Rights Agenda

    NYDISnetThe Sikh Coalition released a report, “Making Our Voices Heard: A Civil Rights Agenda for New York City’s Sikhs,” at a community rally at City Hall on April 14. The date of the event coincided with Vaisakhi, the biggest holiday in the Sikh religion that marks the anniversary of the creation of their faith community. The Civil Rights Agenda released at the rally includes results from a survey of over 1,000 Sikhs conducted in all 5 boroughs. For the purpose of assessing and improving the state of Sikh rights in New York City and the United States, Sikhs were interviewed about their experiences with harassment, bias in schools, racial profiling, employment discrimination, access to public accommodations, language access, and healthcare. At the rally, Sikh Coalition staff, members of the Sikh community, and local political figures spoke about civil and human rights for Sikhs living in New York City. Members of the press and representatives from NYDIS also were present.

    Read “Making Our Voices Heard: A Civil Rights Agenda for New York City’s Sikhs”: click here

    Read the press release about the rally: click here

    For more information about the Sikh Coalition:
  • Article Explains Dangers of Americans' Misperceptions of Islam

    John L. Esposito and Dalia Mogahed, authors of "Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think," wrote an article in the Los Angeles Times about the prevalence of American misconceptions of Muslims. They note that over half of Americans express some prejudice toward Muslims. According to the Gallup poll, almost three quarters of Americans assume that Muslims do not believe that men and women should have equal rights. However, not even a quarter of Muslims express this belief. Likewise, Americans assume that Islam supports violence more than other faiths, although more Americans than Muslims polled believe that targeting civilians in attacks is justified. In response to these misconceptions, Esposito and Mogahed encourage Americans to become educated about Islam. They argue that if America wants to win the war on terror and truly promote democracy, anti-Muslim bias must be addressed and overcome.

    Read the article:

Preparedness Initiatives

  • NYDIS Preparedness Resources

    • NYDIS's Disaster Human Services Resource Library

      Tocated in NYDIS’s Lower Manhattan offices, this resource library houses an expanding collection of disaster human services and related faith-based books, reference materials, reports, and multi-media resources. Covering a range of genres from research reports to guidebooks to personal reflections and victim impact statements, the library is divided into two main sections: one with material that relates to 9/11 or other recent disaster recovery efforts, and one that focuses on a broad range of disaster preparedness topics for faith communities. A valuable hub of information relevant to disaster recovery and preparedness, the collection is available to anyone on request. Come share our resources and contribute your own.

      Contact Alison VanBuskirk, VISTA Member, Communications:

  • Spring Storm & Hurricane Preparedness

    • NOAA Predicts Above Average Flood Risk This Spring
      The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that the flooding many U.S. states experienced in March may continue to occur across the country throughout the spring season. The above-average flood risk is in part a factor of high levels of rainfall expected in the coming months. New York, New Jersey, and New England are among the areas with greater-than-usual flood potential. Vickie Nadolski, deputy director of NOAA’s National Weather Service, encourages, “Arm yourselves with information about how to stay safe during a flood and do not attempt to drive on flooded roadways – remember to always turn around, don’t drown.”

      View U.S. map highlighting flood risk:

      Read the article from NOAA:

    • Flood Safety
      NOAA’s National Weather Service has created a site, Turn Around, Don’t Drown, to educate Americans about flood safety. The site reports that more deaths occur because of floods than any other form of severe weather, largely because people underestimate the power of even small amounts of water. The site presents a collection of flood safety resources and stories to encourage Americans to be prepared for flooding and make smart decisions during floods.

      Learn about flood safety at the Turn Around, Don’t Drown website:

    • Tornado and Thunderstorm Safety
      As the spring storm season approaches, it’s helpful to review thunderstorm and tornado safety information. CDC offers a preparedness fact sheet with tips about how to prepare, what to do to keep safe during a storm, how to accommodate for special needs, and important information to have on hand.

      Read CDC’s preparedness information:
  • Pandemic Flu Preparedness

    • DHS Report Presents Pandemic Best Practices and Model Protocols
      Intended to help communities plan and prepare for potential pandemics, this free report from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) outlines best practices and model protocols for a number of emergency management services, including emergency medical services, police departments, fire departments, and 911 call centers. While the report discusses the specific situation of a pandemic, the information it presents can be applied to other emergencies such as bioterrorism.

      Read the report:

We Recommend

  • Read "A New Model for Disaster Chaplaincy"

    Rabbi Myrna Matsa, D. Min, has written an article, “A New Model for Disaster Chaplaincy,” based on her experiences doing relief work in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. She notes that physical needs are often more tangible than spiritual needs that arise after traumatic events. To better meet these spiritual needs, she is working to develop a framework for the emerging field of disaster chaplaincy that includes meeting the spiritual needs of particular faith communities, providing emotional and mental health care to the wider community, and supporting the caregivers who meet these needs. She stresses that sustainable disaster chaplaincy depends on integrating self-care into chaplains’ work in order to prevent burnout as they devote their time and energy to other people.

    Read the article:
  • NYC Seniors - Sign Up for the USPS Mail Carrier Alert Program

    The NYC Department for the Aging, the Mayor’s Office for Persons with Disabilities, the United States Postal Service, and the National Association of Letter Carriers are partnering in an effort to help senior citizens in distress. The Carrier Alert Program trains letter carriers to recognize signs, such as an accumulation of unread mail, of a senior citizen who might need help. If the carrier feels something might be wrong, he or she will contact the Department for the Aging or call 911.

    View the flyer: click here

    Sign up for the program:
  • 9/11 Financial Planning Relief Services

    Anyone who was injured, lost a loved one, or lost a job because of what happened on 9/11 is eligible for free financial planning workshops and individual counseling services from the Financial Planning Association (FPA). FPA’s financial planners can assist with questions about bill payment, medical benefits, working with lawyers, and learning about additional resources that are available for people affected by 9/11.

    For more information, visit:

    To speak with a financial planner, call:
  • 9/11 Scholarship Opportunity: The Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation

    The Michael Lynch Memorial Foundation is a scholarship program for children of New York City firefighters, victims of September 11, and victims of other disasters and fires. Since 2002, the Foundation has awarded over $800,000 in college scholarships to help these children afford a higher education. The application deadline for this year is April 30. The winners will be announced on June 30.

    Download the application:
  • Scholarship Opportunity: IAEM Scholarship Program

    The International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Scholarship Program has scholarship money available for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in emergency management or a similar field. Applications are due on May 16.

    Download the application:

Save The Date

  • Annual National VOAD Conference

    May 5 – 8
    Little Rock, AR

    The 16th Annual VOAD Conference, “Pathways to Partnership," will hold pre-conference meetings Monday and Tuesday, and Kick-Off events start Tuesday night. Responding to attendee feedback, there will be more opportunity to network with “Talkshops,” facilitated discussions around topics of interest. It will take place at the Peabody Little Rock at 3 Statehouse Plaza.

    For more information:
  • Citizen Corps Counsel Disaster Volunteer Conference

    May 17 or May 18
    9 am – 3:15 pm
    Washington Irving High School
    40 Irving Place

    Intended to build interagency coordination on the issues of disaster readiness, response, and recovery, this Citizen Corps Council conference will focus on training and educating volunteer leaders from a diverse range of organizations. Topics that will be discussed include volunteer leadership and management, psychological first aid, immigrants & cultural competency, and pet recovery.

    To register for Saturday, visit:

    To register for Sunday, visit:

    If you have questions, contact:
    Nafeesah Allen
  • Long Island/ New York City Emergency Management Conference

    May 28 - 29
    Hilton Long Island
    Melville, New York

    Intended for business and emergency management professionals, the 15th Annual Long Island/New York City Emergency Management Conference is titled, “No Man is an Island: Disaster Survival Through Regional Support.” Presentations and speakers will concentrate on the importance of interagency cooperation and support during disasters. With this focus on collaboration, the conference will cover topics such as campus safety and dealing with natural disasters.

    For more information, contact:
    Elizabeth B. O’Neill

    Visit the conference website:

Job & Volunteer Opportunities

  • NYDIS, AmeriCorps*VISTA Positions

    NYDIS’s AmeriCorps*VISTA program engages VISTA members at NYDIS and partnering sub-site agencies in capacity-building activities that enhance and expand disaster preparedness and recovery services for low-income communities. The ultimate goal is to build a culture of preparedness by increasing and improving faith-based disaster and emergency programs, thereby reducing the vulnerability of under-served, marginalized populations.

    We currently have a total of four VISTA positions available at NYDIS. For job descriptions and position details, see the attachments below.

    Communications VISTA: click here
    Community Outreach & Training VISTA: click here
    HOWCALM® VISTA: click here
    VISTA Leader: click here

    For more information, contact:
    Amber Gibson
  • NYDIS, Communications Volunteers

    NYDIS is seeking volunteers to provide support for the Communications office. Positions begin immediately.

    To apply, please email a Letter of Inquiry and Resume to:
    pgudaitis@nydis.org or fax to 212.669.6101.
  • NYDIS, Community Outreach & Training Volunteers

    NYDIS is seeking volunteers to support disaster preparedness/training programs and to perform other outreach duties under staff direction. Positions begin immediately.

    To apply, please email a Letter of Inquiry and Resume to:
    pgudaitis@nydis.org or fax to 212.669.6101.

Make a Gift to NYDIS
  • Support NYDIS - Donate Online

    NYDISnetIf you'd like to make a donation to assist NYDIS in its mission of providing faith-based disaster services, click here, or send a check to NYDIS at 22 Cortlandt Street, 20th Fl., New York, NY 10007. NYDIS is a 501(c)(3) corporation and contributions are 100% tax deductible. It is a great way to honor or memorialize someone and we will send an acknowledgement of your gift.

    To donate online, go to the NYDIS homepage and click "Make a Donation":


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To Submit News or Events for Publication Please Contact: Alison VanBuskirk, Communications VISTA Member, at avanbuskirk@nydis.org

22 Cortlandt Street 20th floor, New York, NY 10007
Tel: 212.669.6100 Fax: 212.669.6101