If you are unable to read this edition, please view it on our website
:: NYDIS ED to Attend White House Compassion in Action Roundtable

On May 19, NYDIS’s Executive Director & CEO, Peter Gudaitis, will be among 100 invited guests to attend the White House Faith-Base and Community Initiatives Roundtable entitled, “Partnerships in Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery: The Role of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Building Resilient Communities.” Held at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex, the conference aims to bring together government agencies with faith-based and community leaders to strengthen their collaboration on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. The Roundtable will emphasize key policies, models, and technology that enhance these efforts. U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff will deliver the keynote remarks.
:: NYDIS Leads HOWCALM® Outreach Project during AmeriCorps Week 2008

NYDISnetStarting May 11 and continuing through May 18, AmeriCorps Week is designed to recognize current AmeriCorps members and alums for their important work, thank the community for making their service possible, and recruit more Americans for national service. Service projects, community gatherings, and recruitment fairs are taking place across the country during this time to highlight and promote the contributions that the AmeriCorps programs make in our communities. In New York City, AmeriCorps members, including NYDIS’s VISTA members, are participating in service projects such as planting a community garden, donating blood, and educating New Yorkers about food stamps. NYDIS’s VISTAs are also leading a project focused on conducting outreach for HOWCALM®, NYDIS’s House of Worship Communitywide Asset and Logistics Management database system for disaster planning and response.

For more information, including a list of events:
:: NYDIS ED Attends NYPD SHIELD Conference

On May 14, NYDIS’s Executive Director & CEO, Peter Gudaitis, will attend an NYPD SHIELD conference. NYPD SHIELD is the NYPD’s latest counter-terrorism initiative that brings together the public and private sectors for the purpose of protecting New York City from terrorist attacks. It provides best practices, lessons learned, training opportunities, and resources through its public-private partnerships. The conference will cover topics including the Roots of Modern Terrorism, Pakistani Militants and the Global Jihad, Explosive-Rigged Structures, Operation Sentry, and the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative.
:: NYDIS Releases New Program Profiles

NYDIS has released its new 2008-2009 Program Profiles, which were introduced at the National VOAD Conference 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 Attends 16th Annual National VOAD Conference in Arkansas

Hundreds of leaders and volunteers from the nation’s faith-based and secular disaster response agencies gathered for the annual National VOAD (Voluntary Agencies Active in Disaster) Conference, held last week at the famed Peabody Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas. The five-day event included meetings of the National VOAD working committees along with keynote addresses, workshops, and discussion groups on a wide-range of key issues and best practices. NYDIS’s Executive Director attended the event, along with our chaplaincy consultant, recovery director, and three of NYDIS’s VISTA members. NYDIS also sponsored an exhibit booth to promote our consulting and training services to this national audience.

For more information:
:: NYDIS, ARC, and STAR NYC Host Preparedness Training for Faith Leaders

On May 3, NYDIS implemented an all-day training at St. Paul AME Church in Port Jefferson, NY, in collaboration with the Suffolk County Chapter of the American Red Cross (ARC). The morning session included a presentation by the ARC on disaster preparedness for individuals and households and a presentation by NYDIS for houses of worship preparing to maintain their own programs in disaster as well as serve their communities in times of crisis. The afternoon session, led by STAR NYC, focused on spiritual and emotional care for individuals and groups. STAR NYC is a program of NYDIS that was developed as a joint 9/11 project of Church World Service and the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University.

If you would like to host a training for your faith community/house of worship, contact:
Ruth Wenger
Coordinator, 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 22 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)
    • Thursday, June 5 - 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
:: Forum Held for Stafford Act Reform

On May 6, New York University’s Center for Catastrophe Preparedness and Response sponsored a forum for congressional staff and emergency management professionals concerning the Stafford Act, the legislation that regulates the role of FEMA in disaster response as well as the amount of cash assistance individuals receive from the government following a disaster. The current laws led to ineffective response in the Gulf Coast region after Hurricane Katrina largely because they were designed for emergencies in small localities rather than large-scale disasters across whole regions of the country. At this time the Senate Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery is considering how the legislation might be reformed to prevent the problems that occurred after Katrina.

Read the Government Executive article: click here
:: Bush Administration Shows No Plan to Fund 9/11 Health Care

A new report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reveals that the Bush Administration is not planning on following Congress’s directive to fund health monitoring and treatment for people who lived, worked, or studied in Lower Manhattan following 9/11 and whose health was negatively impacted as a result of being exposed to toxins at Ground Zero. Furthermore, HHS has not developed a federal plan for this monitoring and treatment. In response to HHS’s report, ten bipartisan Members of Congress from New York have issued a joint statement of disapproval and have written a letter to HHS Secretary Michael Levitt to address their dissatisfaction.

Read the May 9 statement and letter: click here
:: 100th Member of Congress to Cosponsor 9/11 Health and Compensation Act

As of May 6, 100 Members of Congress have agreed to cosponsor the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, proposed by New York Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Jerrold Nadler, and Vito Fossella. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida has become the 100th cosponsor of this legislation, which would provide health care, medical monitoring, and economic compensation for people from all 50 states whose health has been impacted as a result of their exposure to the toxic air in Lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.

Read the press release: click here
:: 360 Ground Zero Workers Have Died Since 9/11

On May 7, New York State health officials announced that over 360 9/11 recovery workers who served at Ground Zero, the surrounding blocks, and the Fresh Kills landfill have since died. Eighty of the deaths can be attributed to cancer. In addition, five workers have committed suicide. Based on the World Trade Center Responder Fatality Investigation Program’s data, many of the deaths of people who were exposed to the air at Ground Zero in the weeks and months after 9/11 were caused specifically by lung and digestive cancers as well as blood and circulatory diseases. The data alone does not suggest that these deaths are related to 9/11, and the state is continuing its research to determine if the number of cancer deaths among this population of workers is higher than that of the general population of the same age and professions.

Read the article in the Daily News: click here
:: 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:

From Our Members & Partners

  • NYDIS, ARC, and STAR NYC Host Preparedness Training for Faith Leaders

    Following the devastating cyclone which hit Myanmar on May 2, UNITED SIKHS is getting ready to respond. The organization is mobilizing volunteers for relief efforts, organizing food and emergency supplies to send to survivors, and preparing to work with the United Nations to aid in the recovery process. Much-needed supplies include non-perishable food, powdered milk, water purification tablets, first aid kits, hygiene products, clothes, mosquito nets, and plastic roof sheets.

    Ship donations of food and supplies to:
    95-26 113th Street
    Richmond Hill, NY 11419

    If you would like to volunteer, contact:

    For more information about the disaster and relief efforts:
  • 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


  • UNITED SIKHS Collaborates with EEOC to Fight Employment Discrimination

    On April 26 at the Annual Sikh Day Parade in Manhattan, a representative from the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) addressed the Sikh community concerning the discrimination that Sikhs encounter in the workplace as a result of their faith. The EEOC, a government agency dedicated to ending employment discrimination in the United States, has been working with UNITED SIKHS to fight the types of discrimination that Sikhs often face surrounding hiring, firing, and promoting practices. These two organizations have joined together to educate the Sikh community about workplace discrimination issues and to handle the legal cases that result from discrimination to ensure that Sikhs’ rights are protected.

    Read the May 7 press release: click here

Preparedness Initiatives

  • NYDIS Preparedness Resources

    • About NYDISNET and NYDISNET Alerts

      NYDISnet is our bi-weekly e-newsletter which provides updates about NYDIS’s work and other news concerning disaster readiness, response and recovery initiatives in New York City. Please feel free to copy and distribute any information from NYDISnet that you find helpful. If you would like to distribute NYDISnet to your agency staff or faith community leaders please let us know. During emergencies NYDIS will send a NYDISnet ALERT to all subscribers. These alerts include all official information available through the NYC Office of Emergency Management and news from our members and partners.

  • 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

    • Physicians Release Recommendations about Who to Save First in Pandemic
      On May 5, a report outlining a specific list of recommendations concerning who doctors should treat first in the case of a pandemic flu outbreak appeared in Chest, the medical journal of the American College of Chest Physicians. The list attempts to provide guidelines for doctors who might face the dilemma of not having enough time and resources to save every patient. Compiled by a task force of professionals from top universities, medical groups, and government agencies, the recommendations suggest not treating people whose chance of survival is minimal even with treatment. This group includes those who are over the age of 85, who suffer from severe chronic diseases, and who have severe mental impairments such as Alzheimer’s disease.

      Read the AP story in USA Today:

    • 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 “Preparing for disaster? (I have church business to conduct.)”

    In his article, “Preparing for disaster? (I have church business to conduct.),” J. Lewis Saylor, FCBA, explains why disaster preparation not only is an important investment for churches but also makes them more efficient day-to-day. Preparing for disasters encourages churches to function in an organized and effective manner at all times. It also has the potential to build community and individual readiness among members of the congregation. Saylor suggests that having a disaster plan encourages clergy and congregants to consider what it means to be good stewards of their resources. Even if a disaster does not occur in a given month or year at a particular church, volunteers can offer the skills and resources that they accumulate through preparedness efforts to disaster-stricken areas across the country that do have great need of services and supplies.

    Read the full article: click here
  • 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:
  • Take the Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Course for Faith-Based Organizations

    This online course was developed through the Extension Disaster Education Network and the Centers for Disease Control. It takes two to four hours to complete. While it focuses on planning for pandemic influenza, the strategies and ideas it presents can be used to prepare for all hazards. The first section of the course presents participants with control measures they can use to protect themselves and their communities in the case of a pandemic. The second section elaborates on potential impact a pandemic can have and instructs participants about how to write an effective pandemic preparedness and response plan.

    Take the course:
  • 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:
  • 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

  • VOAD Mental Health and Chaplaincy Committee Presentation

    May 15
    9:00 am – 12:00 pm
    New York State Office of Mental Health Regional Field Office
    330 Fifth Ave. (at 33rd St.), 9th floor

    Please join the VOAD Mental Health and Chaplaincy Committee for the second of four presentations this year. Bruce May, LCSW, Victim Specialist with the New York City Office of the FBI will lead this presentation titled “Crisis Intervention with Hostages and Their Families.”
  • Citizen Corps Council 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:
  • White House Conference on Disaster Relief and Preparedness

    May 29 and 30
    Day 1: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
    Day 2: 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM
    New Orleans, LA

    Hosted by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, this conference will focus on the role of faith and community organizations in all stages of disaster preparedness and response. It will pay special attention to providing non-profits with trainings and resources for achieving sustainable disaster relief in the Gulf Coast region. Additionally, the conference aims to offer opportunities for networking among these non-profit organizations and the government. Registration ends on May 15.

    For more information:

    Register online:
  • Feel the Music! First Responders and Veterans Day

    May 31
    11:00 am – 3 pm

    Church of Our Saviour
    One Education Drive
    1901 Northern Blvd.
    Manhasset, NY 11030

    Feel the Music! invites WTC recovery workers, returning veterans, and their families to participate in a fun day of free percussion and art classes. A light lunch will be provided.

    For more information, visit:

    To register, contact:
    Lucia Dundara
  • 2008 National Conference on Volunteering and Service

    June 1-3
    Atlanta, GA

    Intended for volunteer coordinators, non-profit professionals, social entrepreneurs, and anyone in a service-oriented career, this conference will bring together today’s community leaders as they rethink and rebuild a movement for service and social involvement. Featured speakers include U.S. Representative and civil rights leader John Lewis, Chairman of the Board for the Corporation for National and Community Service and former Mayor of Indianapolis Stephen Goldsmith, and former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn. Registration ends on May 27.

    To register:

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