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NYDIS’s 9/11 Message

Dear Friends,

The annual observance of September 11 has not only become a critical reminder of our collective journey toward recovery as a city and as a nation – it is a day of remembrance, but also a reminder of our need to “be prepared.” September 11 is a sacred day during which we mourn the loss of loved ones and, in some measure, of our innocence. However, it must also be for us a day in which we are intentional in recognizing extraordinary heroism and self-sacrifice of family, friends, and strangers alike. We honor that sacrifice by living life to the fullest – by healing, by recovering, and by ensuring that those who are still scarred physically, emotionally, or spiritually from the impact of 9/11 are in our constant care. It is also a month in which we should take concrete and deliberate steps to better prepare ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities for all-hazards that we may face in the future. Please join us in that mission.

Peter B. Gudaitis, M.Div.
Executive Director & CEO

NYDIS Co-Sponsors 9/11 WTC Interfaith Memorial Floating Lantern Ceremony

On September 11, NYDIS joins the NY Buddhist Church, the Buddhist Council of NY, and their many partners in presenting the 6th Annual 9/11 WTC Memorial Service Floating Lantern Ceremony at Pier 40 on the Hudson River in Battery Park. Led by Rev. TK Nakagaki, this ancient custom of placing paper lanterns in moving water is a symbolic representation of respecting the lives that have gone before us, and it also represents a light of hope for peace and harmony.

The ceremony will take place from 6:00 to 9:00 pm at Pier 40 at West Houston Street. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, call Rev. TK Nakagaki:
:: Official 7th Anniversary Commemoration of 9/11 at WTC Site & Zuccotti Park

The anniversary ceremony will be held in Zuccotti Park across from the World Trade Center site on Liberty Street between Broadway and Church Street. For families of victims, access will be at Cortlandt and Church Street, with either a OCME Family ID card, P or T number, or the official 2008 invitation letter from the City of New York. This year, the names will be read by family members together with international students, who represent the 91 countries that lost people in the attacks.

Family members will be able to descend the ramp to the tower footprints. The ceremony will pause at four moments to mark the times the planes hit the towers and the times when the towers fell. The first moment of silence will be at 8:46 am, and houses of worship are encouraged to toll their bells at that time. The ceremonies will conclude around noon.

If you have any questions, please contact 212.442.8953 or www.nyc.gov.
NYDIS Searches for New Home - Do You Have Space Available to Donate or Rent?

NYDIS’s lease at 22 Cortlandt Street expires on October 31, so after 5 years at Ground Zero, the organization is now actively searching for a new home. With the closing of its 9/11 case management coordination program, NYDIS is preparing to dramatically reduce the size of its staff and anticipates needing office space for 3 to 5 employees. Both short-term and long-term space needs are being considered for staff and training programs.

Any Ideas? Contact:
Peter Gudaitis, Executive Director & CEO
:: NYDIS Staff Speaks on 9/11 Unmet Needs Panel at "Voices" Information Forum

On Wednesday, September 10, Voices of September 11th will host a day-long Information Forum at the Marriott Downtown, 85 West Street. The day includes panel discussions, workshops, and 9/11 exhibits. Scottie Hill, Director of Recovery & Advocacy at NYDIS, will be joined by other recovery and treatment experts speaking on a panel entitled, “The Unmet Needs of the 9/11 Community: A Discussion of their Work and the Challenges Ahead.”

To view a schedule of the day’s events, click here:

For more information, contact:
Mary Fechet, Director - Voices of September 11th
:: NYDIS Receives Honors from Arab Muslim American Federation & BP Scott Stringer

NYDIS will receive double honors for its work in the Muslim community this September. On September 4, the Arab Muslim American Federation recognized NYDIS at its 12th Annual Ramadan Iftar dinner in Brooklyn. And, on September 10, NYDIS will be honored again by Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer at his 1st Annual Ramadan Iftar Dinner. Along with NYDIS, Women In Islam, Inc.; Barbara Nimri Aziz, author and executive producer of RadioTahrir.org; Mika’il DeVeaux, VP of Citizens Against Recidivism, Inc.; and Aziz Huq, Deputy Director of NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice, will be honored at this prestigious event for their notable work in the Muslim community.
:: 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 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
:: 9/11 Survivors or Health Impacted Recovery Workers Needing Assistance

     Ian Hartman-O’ Connell, NYC WTC Health Communicator
:: NYC OEM Announces September is National Preparedness Month & Events

This September marks the nation's fifth National Preparedness Month (NPM). The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Citizen Corps sponsor this event every year to encourage Americans to prepare for all kinds of emergencies. Locally, the NYC Citizen Corps Council (CCC) and NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) offer educational events all month throughout the city.

This week, New York City's NPM focus is preparedness for immigrants. Immigrant communities are often difficult to reach with this important information. OEM translates its Ready New York guides into as many as 14 languages and works with community news outlets to spread its message to as many groups as possible.

  • Find a National Preparedness Month event near you
  • Get your organization involved
  • Learn more about the New York City Citizen Corps Council

  • To get involved with Citizen Corps Council, contact:
    Herman Schaffer, Community Outreach, Disaster Education Coordinator at OEM
    :: DHS's Ready Campaign Sponsors 5th Annual National Preparedness Month

    The Department of Homeland Security’s Ready Campaign is sponsoring the 5th annual National Preparedness Month (NPM) this month. This year, NPM is being supported by over 2,700 coalition members, more than any other year. NPM coalition members are national, regional, state, and local organizations that work together to encourage Americans to do what they need to do to prepare themselves for emergencies. Some necessary steps in preparedness include getting an emergency supply kit, making a family emergency plan, and becoming educated about potential disasters and emergencies.

    Read the August 26 DHS press release:
    :: Report Concludes 7 WTC Fell Because of Fire, Not Explosives

    FDNY WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program (FDNYWTC-MMTP) has become a national model in terms of both providing services for Department members and developing comprehensive data on the effects of exposure to the WTC site. These objective data were an important part of the Mayor’s WTC Health Panel’s deliberations and recommendations released in February 2007. This report provides some background on the FDNY-WTC-MMTP, aggregate data on the physical health effects of exposures at the WTC on and after 9/11, and aggregate data on the mental health effects of 9/11. It also shows the effects of 9/11 on FDNY member retirements and disability pensions collected. Finally, it provides a summary of efforts to date, a brief look at future plans, and information about funding.

    To download the report, click here:
    :: NYC - 911 & 311 Can Now Receive Pictures/Videos from Cell Phones/Computers

    Mayor Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Kelly, DoITT Commissioner Cosgrave, and Criminal Justice Coordinator Feinblatt today announced that callers to 911 and 311 are now able to send photos or video to assist in crime fighting. Callers to 911 will be able to send photos or videos from a cell phone or computer to the NYPD's Real Time Crime Center, where relevant images may be used to assist in crime fighting or in responding to other emergencies. The public will be able to send pictures and videos from computers and web-enabled cell phones and PDAs to accompany certain 311 quality of life complaints.

    For more information:
  • Read the press release
  • Learn more about 311 & NYC.gov program
  • :: Police Department Calls for Tight Security Zone at Ground Zero

    The New York City Police Department has developed a security plan for the new World Trade Center site. Part of the Lower Manhattan Security Initiative, the plan is designed to prevent further terrorist attacks there. It would only allow taxis, cars, and limousines which have been screened by police into the area surrounding the World Trade Center through five special barriers. Other guard booths would be established around the area to monitor pedestrians entering the site. All delivery trucks would be screened for bombs before they are allowed access. While community leaders are eager to have a secure World Trade Center, some are concerned that all of the restrictions will make it difficult to incorporate the site into city life.

    Read the August 12 NY Times article: click here
    :: DHS Releases National Emergency Communications Plan

    On July 31, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP), the nation’s first strategic plan to support homeland security through improved communications during emergencies. The plan includes all levels of government and spans across all fields to facilitate clear and uniform communication. It outlines three communications goals involving the capacity of urban and non-urban areas to provide accurate internal and external messages during emergencies. These recommendations are consistent with the ones that are described in FEMA’s National Response Framework and the National Incident Management System.

    Learn more about the plan in the DHS press release: click here
    :: SBA Announces Improvements to SBA's Disaster Assistance Program

    SBA recently implemented improvements to their Disaster Assistance program, which may be of interest to private nonprofit organizations. The “Small Business Disaster Response and Loan Improvements Act of 2008,” signed by the President on June 18, authorizes Private Non-Profit (PNP) organizations’ eligibility (regardless of size) for economic injury disaster loans (EIDL). An EIDL can help meet necessary financial obligations that a disaster survivor’s business or private non-profit organization could have met had the disaster not occurred. It also provides relief from economic injury caused directly by the disaster and permits you to maintain a reasonable working capital position during the period affected by the disaster.

    For more detail, click here:
    www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance/businessesofallsizes/economicinjuryloans/index.html  and

    From Our Members & Partners

    • NYDIS Welcomes 2 New AmeriCorps*VISTA Members at OEM and World Vision

      On September 3, two new VISTAs joined the NYDIS AmeriCorps*VISTA program. Alec Glucksman, CERT VISTA at NYC OEM, will continue to develop, recruit, and enhance the CERT program and Ready NY training. He is a recent graduate of Columbia University where he helped to organize Students Prep America, an on-campus group whose goal is to prepare students to cope in emergency situations. Daniel Barton, VISTA Member at World Vision, will develop community outreach strategies and trainings that will engage faith leaders in emergency preparedness activities. A Bible and Theology graduate at Simpson University, he has seven years of experience in community outreach and development.

      For more information, contact:
      Amber Gibson, VISTA Leader
    • Church Of God In Christ Partners with Operation HOPE to Promote Financial Literacy

      Earlier this summer, the Church Of God In Christ (COGIC) and Operation HOPE (HOPE) signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to educate youth and adults about financial literacy. Operation HOPE, a nonprofit focused on social investment banking and financial empowerment, has the knowledge and capacity to educate large numbers of people about finances. Meanwhile, COGIC has a membership of over 6 million people. Its Urban Initiative includes a five-point program focused on improving the lives of underserved communities through improving education and employment, reducing crime, strengthening families, and increasing financial literacy. Operation HOPE also offers disaster financial planning tools for individual and families. By joining together, both organizations hope to make a greater impact on the communities that they serve.

      Read the August 18 press release: click here
    • DOHMH Offers NYC 9/11 Benefit Program for Mental Health and Substance Use

      The NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is offering a new benefit for NYC residents who were impacted by 9/11 and who are experiencing mental health and substance use problems as a result. The NYC 9/11 Benefit Program for Mental Health and Substance Use provides free or low-cost insurance, easy enrollment, and flexible treatment choices for people exhibiting the symptoms of a mental illness since 9/11. Common symptoms include anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping, and increased drug or alcohol use.

      For an overview of the program: http://nyc.gov/html/doh/wtc/html/mhb/mhb.shtml

      To speak to someone who can help, call:

    Preparedness Initiatives

    • NYDIS Preparedness & Training Resources

      • NYDIS's "Disaster Tip Sheets for NYC Religious Leaders"

        NYDIS’s Disaster Tip Sheets are a free resource to provide New York City’s religious leaders with a basic background in the skills and tools they will need during emergencies. The Tip Sheets can be used for mitigation education and preparedness training orientation, as well as for a quick reference in times of crisis.

        Download each Tip Sheet: click here

      • NYDIS Disaster Chaplain & Spiritual Care Worker Certification

        NYDIS offers a 16-hour Disaster Chaplain training, which includes a prerequisite course in FEMA Incident Command, as well as four advanced units, including disaster spiritual care, chaplaincy operations, self-care, and mental health assessment and referral. The course fee is $400.

        The training for Disaster Spiritual Care Workers is four hours long and offers basic instruction in disaster spiritual care, operations, self-care, and mental health assessment and referral. The course fee is $150.

        NYDIS training faculty are available to teach all four units of the curriculum to any community in the United States. This includes the trainings above as well as Chaplain Supervisor Training and Train-the-Trainer Certification.

        For more information, contact:
        Ruth Yoder Wenger, Community Outreach & Training

      • NYDIS Emergency Rest Centers Training

        NYDIS Emergency Rest Centers (ERCs) are houses of worship that volunteer, in partnership with NYDIS, to be activated to serve the public by offering hospitality and safe haven during emergencies. NYDIS offers a 90-minute orientation for senior religious leaders from interested houses of worship. The orientation is followed by a 3-hour training for volunteers and volunteer managers for each ERC.

        For more information about ERCs, view the ERC Program Profile: click here

        For more information, contact:
        Ruth Yoder Wenger, Community Outreach & Training
    • Preparedness for Diverse Communities

      • Emergency Preparedness Resources for Culturally Diverse Communities
        Developed by the Drexel University School of Public Health’s Center for Health Equality, the National Resource Center on Advancing Emergency Preparedness for Culturally Diverse Communities is the first online center designed to improve communication, advance preparedness efforts, and increase resilience among racially and ethnically diverse communities. It aims to eliminate disparities in the emergency preparedness and recovery capabilities of these communities through information-sharing and networking. The National Resource Center includes training curricula, research tools, public health emergency news, and translated materials. Its exceptional new e-newsletter provides subscribers with new resources, events, and updates concerning public health and emergency preparedness for diverse communities.

        Visit the National Resource Center:

        Subscribe to the free e-newsletter:
    • Pandemic Influenza Preparedness

      • NYDIS Resources Featured in ASTHO Pandemic Flu Planning Guide
        The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the national nonprofit organization that represents state and territorial public health agencies of the United States, released a pandemic flu planning guide called the At-Risk Populations Project. This project aims to provide guidance for local and state public health officials as they plan to protect at-risk populations during a pandemic flu outbreak. Two NYDIS resources, HOWCALM® and NYDISnet, are featured as best practices in faith-based risk communication and asset management. HOWCALM® is listed as a resource in Chapter 1, page 14. NYDIS’s
        e-communications resources, NYDISnet and NYDISnet Alerts, are featured in Chapter 3, page 22.

        To download the whole guide or individual chapters: click here
    • Public Health Preparedness

      • Bioterrorism Continues as Top Security Concern
        According to the Wall Street Journal article, “Bioterrorism's Threat Persists
        As Top Security Risk,” the federal government has spent nearly $50 billion to develop programs that confront the threat of bioterrorism. Even so, bioterrorism remains a taxing concern for the security of the United States. Biological attacks are difficult to detect, and some major challenges that would come along with one include distributing drugs to protect against a specific threat as well as processing high volumes of victims who need medical care. New York City has made large strides to improve its capacity to detect and respond to such an attack. It currently employs a system of sensors that can detect the presence of a lethal pathogen. If a sensor is activated, officials plan to quickly begin distributing drugs that will protect against the pathogen. The article stresses that even such a cutting-edge system has its weaknesses, and the country still has far to go in its bioterrorism prevention strategies.

        Read the August 4 article in the Wall Street Journal:

      • GAO Report: States Are Planning for a Medical Surge
        The Government Accountability Office released a June 2008 report concerning states’ ability to respond to an influx of patients needing care after a mass casualty. The report examines what states are doing to prepare, what the federal government is doing to help them prepare, and what concerns have arisen during the preparations. Most states have begun to plan for such a surge by following guidelines from the federal government and by using the federal money allocated to them. The report outlines the challenges and concerns that states face as they continue to meet the government’s guidelines about preparing for a surge. States have requested guidance about the critical issue of how to distribute scarce resources during an emergency.

        Read the June 2008 GAO Report:
    • Special Needs Preparedness

      • New FEMA Planning Guide for Special Needs Populations
        On August 15, the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and FEMA released an Interim Emergency Management Planning Guide for Special Needs Populations. This guide is intended as a tool for state, territorial, tribal, and local emergency managers in the development of emergency operations plans (EOPs) that are inclusive of the entire population of a jurisdiction of any size. It provides recommendations for planning for special needs populations. The information in this document is universal in its application and tied to national planning policies and guidance such as the National Response Framework (NRF), National Incident Management System (NIMS), and Comprehensive Preparedness Guide 101 (currently under development).

        Download this draft guide:

    We Recommend

    • Watch the Film, "9/12: From Chaos to Community"

      Chosen as a “Best Documentary of 2007” by Video Librarian magazine, “9/12: From Chaos to Community” tells the story of a group of volunteers at Ground Zero who came together from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives as they worked to heal their city and themselves. The film has received high acclaim from the fields of disaster studies, psychology, and emergency response training. As it highlights the topics of collective recovery, self-care, and post-traumatic stress, it has been widely used as a training tool and discussion starter in these communities.

      For more information:
    • The Interfaith Manual by the Rev. Dr. Stephen Albert

      A compilation of the beliefs and thoughts of 12 different faiths, including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Judaism, Islam, New Thought, and Sikhism, this manual is the first of its kind. Well-received at the 2008 North American Interfaith Network (NAIN) conference in San Francisco, the manual is an excellent resource for classes and workshops, as well as for general reference. It offers each faith’s perspective on 40 topics as well as its general customs and traditions. It was edited by religious leaders from all 12 of the faiths it covers.

      Order The Interfaith Manual: click here
    • Read the President’s “Fact Sheet: Protecting America from Terrorism”

      On August 20 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Orlando, Florida, President Bush spoke about the policies against terrorism that the government has established since 9/11. The President described the progress of the War on Terror and of homeland security initiatives. He also explained his Administration’s efforts to promote freedom across the globe.

      Read the press release:

    Save The Date

    • The National September 11 Memorial & Museum's StoryCorps Initiative

      September 5 and 12
      The National September 11 Memorial & Museum Office
      One Liberty Plaza

      The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is pleased to invite people affected by 9/11 to participate in the StoryCorps September 11 Initiative, which aims to collect and preserve memories from 9/11 and the 1993 WTC bombing. These remembrances will be permanently archived at both the Memorial Museum and the Library of Congress. Staff from StoryCorps and the Memorial Museum will help participants record their story on an appointment basis. Each appointment will last approximately 40 minutes.

      To get more information or schedule an appointment, contact:
      Caitlin Zampella, Director of Program Partnership Initiatives

      Learn about the StoryCorps September 11 Project:
    • 9/11 Interfaith Unity Walk

      September 14
      5:00 pm
      Battery Park by the 9/11 Memorial

      Sponsored by Religions for Peace – USA, the 9/11 Interfaith Unity Walk aims to bring people of different faiths and cultures together to demonstrate unity, peace, and shared hope. The walk will begin by the 9/11 Memorial in Battery Park and will continue up through the Financial District, with a brief stop by Ground Zero for a flower ceremony. The closing ceremony will take place at St. Peter’s Catholic Church at 22 Barclay Street.

      See the flyer on the website: click here

      For more information, contact Claire:
    • VOAD Mental Health and Chaplaincy Committee

      September 18
      9:00 am – 11:00 am
      State Office of Mental Health (OMH)
      330 Fifth Avenue (at 33rd Street), 9th Floor

      At the September meeting of the VOAD Mental Health and Chaplaincy Committee, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) - Office of Mental Health Disaster Preparedness and Response will offer a presentation on current DOHMH response planning and an overview of current response training. Ms. Adela M. Rodriguez, LMSW, Field Response Coordinator, and Ali Gheith, Coordinator of Population Based Resilience, will be presenting.
    • Responding to the Disaster Mental Health Needs of the Community

      October 17
      9:00 am – 2:00 pm
      Center for Disaster Mental Health
      Binghamton University, University Downtown Center, 67 Washington Street

      This is the first annual conference for education and discussion on the ever-changing focus on disaster and trauma mental health.  This event will offer workshops on community response to flooding, working with the Military, and innovations in mental health during major disasters.

      For More Information: click here
    • Worker Safety and Health Technical Conference

      October 28-29
      EPA East Building
      1201 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, D.C.

      The Worker Safety and Health Subcommittee of the United States National Response Team focuses on oil and hazardous materials response and recovery. It is hosting this conference to generate awareness and offer insight about issues surrounding worker safety during emergency response. The conference will provide networking opportunities while it engages participants about the topics of Operational Risk Management and Emergency Response and Recovery.

      See the flyer: click here

    Job & Volunteer Opportunities

    • Internal Planning Specialist, NYC Department of Homeless Services

      The New York City Department of Homeless Services is seeking an Internal Planning Specialist for their Emergency Preparedness and Operations Unit, Shelter Security Management Division. This individual will develop and implement the agency’s all-hazards plans and oversee its emergency functions, including its role in the Coastal Storm Plan. During an emergency, the Internal Planning Specialist will serve at the Emergency Operations Center.

      View the job posting: click here

    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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