Prekindergarten through Grade 12 Education

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New York State Schools and the Situation in Haiti

A-Z List of
Key Program Contacts

The earthquakes in Haiti caused devastating damage and an inconceivable loss of life.  This event has touched the hearts of all New Yorkers and has had a direct impact on many students and staff of Haitian descent. Over the past two weeks, we have witnessed an outpouring of caring and support in our schools across the State.  Staff in many local schools have responded with great strength and compassion to the needs of their students and families.   Schools are providing counseling to students and professional support for guidance counselors and other personnel.  They are partnering with community-based organizations to ensure that culturally sensitive support services are reaching students.  In districts that have been less directly affected, staff and students are often aiding in charitable endeavors.

In regards to charitable giving, cash donations are best in this situation.  Cash donations allow relief agencies to purchase goods that meet victims' needs and help support the local economy.  If students want to undertake a solicitation, they should be advised to donate the proceeds to a credible relief organization.  Regents Rule 19.6, which governs the solicitation of charitable donations, states that "Direct solicitation of charitable funds from children in the public schools shall not be permitted on school property during school hours."  The purpose of this Rule is to protect public school children from exposure to coercive charitable fund-raising activities while they attend school.  This Rule does not prohibit three types of activities:

  • Fund-raising activities that take place off school premises or outside of regular school hours. 
  • Arms-length transactions where the contributor receives a consideration for this donation, such as the sale of goods or tickets for concerts where the proceeds go to charity.
  • Indirect forms of charitable solicitation on school premises that do not involve coercion, such as placing a bin or collection box in a hallway or other common area.

Finally, the following list of resources includes general information, educational materials, and resources specific to New York City where most of the State’s students of Haitian descent live.  This information is current as of January 22, 2010.

Thank you.

Resources: Federal | New York State | Non-Governmental | New York City

Federal Resources

U.S. Department of State

U.S. AID – U.S. AID is the principal U.S. agency to extend assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms. Haiti Earthquake Page: http://www.usaid.gov/helphaiti/ external link icon

The White House
Haiti Earthquake Relief Site external link icon

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services
For information on immigration issues associated with the Haiti earthquake disaster, see: http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis external link icon

Diversity Preparedness at Drexel University
National Resource Center has highlighted a number of resources that may be useful and can be found on their homepage: http://www.diversitypreparedness.org/ external link icon. These resources include translated material, toolkits, online training, and guides.

New York State Resources

New York State Registry of New York Citizens in Haiti: https://haiti.nyalert.gov/ external link icon
An online system to register the names of individuals from New York State who were in Haiti at the time of the earthquake and have not been heard from. This information will be used by the NYS Emergency Management Office (SEMO) and may be shared with federal, state, local and charitable relief organizations for the sole purpose of helping to locate and identify family and/or friends known to be in Haiti and other related purposes. For those who do not have access to the web, the Governor has established a hotline (1-888-769-7243).The hotline is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

New York State Office of Mental Health (NYSDOMH)

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (NYSOTDA) Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance (BRIA):
external link icon or toll free number: 1-800-566-7636.

BRIA provides the following services for refugees:

  • Job preparation, training, and placement, and other employment services
  • Mental health, English as a Second Language, case management, and resettlement assistance
  • Case management services to elderly refugees, ensuring access to mainstream aging services
  • Foster care to refugee children in the US without a parent or guardian
  • Health screening within the first 90 days of eligible immigration status to assure appropriate medical care, and access to the US health care delivery system
  • Health and mental health care through case-management and outreach
  • Temporary assistance for refugees who are not eligible for other cash or medical assistance programs within eight months of being granted an eligible status

Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Resources

American Red Cross Masters of Disaster®: Educator’s Kit external link icon
The Masters of Disaster® Educator's Kit contains lessons, activities, and demonstrations on disaster-related topics that can be incorporated into daily or thematic programming. The Masters of Disaster curriculum materials meet national educational standards and are specifically tailored for lower elementary (K–2), upper elementary (3–5) and middle school (6–8) classes.  Facing Fear, one of the modules, is divided into two sections: Fear and Facts, and Tough Issues.

InterAction: A United Voice for Global Change - InterAction is the largest coalition of U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) focused on the world’s poor and most vulnerable people.
Recovery and Reconstruction in Haiti: http://www.interaction.org/ngo-impact-haiti external link icon

NYC Resources - includes informational/educational materials anyone can access as well as services for NYC residents

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)

Office of Emergency Management (OEM)
List of mental health resources available in English, Creole, and French: http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/html/home/home.shtml external link icon
http://nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/mental_health_combined.pdf external link icon

MediSys Health Network
The Network has established a Resource Center at one of its Family Care Centers and will offer free group and individual counseling to Brooklyn and Queens residents:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/CommunityMentalHealthFlyerFinal.pdf (English) external link icon
http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/mental_health_french.pdf (French) external link icon
http://www.nyc.gov/html/oem/downloads/pdf/mental_health_hcreole.pdf (Haitian-Creole) external link icon

Mental Health Association of New York City external link icon
LIFENET:  A confidential, toll-free help line for New York City residents operated in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. LIFENET operates 24 hours per day/7 days per week. The hotline's staff of trained mental health professionals help callers find the most appropriate mental health and substance abuse services for their needs. LIFENET is multilingual and multicultural.

Last Updated: August 24, 2010