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Red Cross Awards $1.25M for Emotional and Mental Health Support

Red Cross Awards $1.25M for Emotional and Mental Health Support.

Pictured L-R: Tzivy Reiter, Margaret Crotty, John Miller, Jeffrey Friedman, and Dr. Kerry Symon

"We are grateful to the Red Cross for recognizing how critical these funds are to our community."

The American Red Cross today announced nearly $1.25 million in grants to four New York nonprofit organizations to support long-term recovery services, including emotional and mental health support for individuals and families affected by the storm.

Nonprofit organizations receiving funding from the Red Cross today include Central Nassau Guidance and Counseling Services, OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services, Partnership with Children, and Visiting Nurse Service of New York. The announcements of these new grants come during May, which is National Mental Health Month.

Central Nassau Guidance and Counseling Services will receive a $150,000 grant. The group will use the funding to provide or coordinate services for people affected by Sandy in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, including case management, family recovery planning and counseling. The funding will enable individual counseling for tasks like creating and fulfilling a personalized plan for program participants and troubleshooting specific obstacles that families are facing in their recoveries from the storm.

“For some, Sandy is a distant memory; but for many others it is a daily struggle to overcome the massive devastation this storm has left behind,” said Jeffrey Friedman, CEO, Central Nassau Guidance and Counseling Services. “We are grateful to the Red Cross for recognizing how critical these funds are to our community. We cannot underestimate the impact of a grant like this on the lives of everyday people.”

The Red Cross has awarded a $250,000 grant to OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services. The group will use the funding to provide mental health services and resources to individuals and families in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan who are still struggling with Sandy’s lingering effects. Those services will include counseling, school programs, educational workshops, referrals, and assistance with accessing benefit programs.

"In the aftermath of Sandy, OHEL received much recognition from many government agencies for its innovative work through Project Hope at OHEL - a program that helped elevate the lives of thousands of victims," said David Mandel, CEO, OHEL. “Now, thanks to this generous Red Cross grant, OHEL can further build upon this success and general trauma expertise, and provide much-needed mental health services to Sandy-affected individuals and families through Project Renewal in Brooklyn, Queens and Lower East Side Manhattan.”

Partnership with Children will receive a $195,000 grant, and will use the funds to provide counseling and services in Brooklyn and Queens. The grant will serve between 175 and 250 children affected by Sandy, and the caregivers and educators who work with them every day. The partnership will place two full-time clinical social workers in the schools to provide individual, group, and classroom counseling services.

“As a leading provider of trauma-informed counseling in high-need public schools, Partnership with Children has worked with thousands of students, families and teachers impacted by Superstorm Sandy,” said Margaret Crotty, executive director, Partnership with Children. “We are so grateful to partner with the Red Cross to continue to provide vital services to the students—and their families and school communities—who continue to be impacted and vulnerable. The funding provided by the Red Cross will help restore hope in the communities that need it most.”

In April 2013, the Red Cross awarded a $1 million grant to Visiting Nurse Service of New York to provide mental and community health services, including crisis counseling, case management and outreach, and follow-up support to people affected by Sandy in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Nassau County. Today, the Red Cross announced an additional $650,000 grant to Visiting Nurse Service of New York to continue work in those areas through March 2015, and to expand services to include Suffolk County as well.

“The effects of Sandy have continued well after the initial wave of devastation, profoundly impacting the way thousands think, feel and conduct their lives,” said Dr. Kerry Symon, program director, Visiting Nurse Service of New York Disaster Distress Response Program. “Thanks to the generosity of the Red Cross in April 2013, VNSNY developed the Disaster Distress Response Program, a model of care that addressed the mental health needs of more than 13,600 individuals affected by the storm. Today, the extension of the Red Cross grant enables us to expand our outreach to additional communities, and help forgotten victims of the storm once again tap into their resiliency and rejuvenate their lives.”

John Miller, CEO Red Cross on Long Island, said: “With help from our non-profit partners, the Red Cross is helping rebuild not only homes, but lives as well. We are proud to work with these organizations to help provide services for people on Long Island and across New York affected by Sandy.”

“OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services, Partnership with Children, and Visiting Nurse Service of New York provided outstanding crisis counseling services to children and adults through Project Hope in the year after Sandy,” said Tamar Renaud, director, NYC’s Project Hope. “Though Project Hope ended, the need for emotional support has not. For survivors most traumatized by the impact of the storm, the Red Cross funding will help New Yorkers move forward with their lives.”

Superstorm Sandy is the largest U.S. operation by the Red Cross in more than five years, and thanks to the public’s generous support, the Red Cross has received $311.5 million in donations for Sandy emergency relief and recovery efforts. As of February 28, the Red Cross has spent or committed $291 million – more than 93 percent of the donated funds.

The Red Cross has partnered with and funded numerous community-based organizations to support the recovery of individuals and families who were affected by Sandy. Recovery efforts focus on the areas of housing assistance, case management, mental health services, volunteer coordination, and food security. Additional community grants will be announced in the weeks ahead.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @LIRedCross.

About Central Nassau Guidance and Counseling Services:

Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling Services is one of the region's leading mental health, behavioral, and addiction-related service providers. Established in 1972, the mission of this nonprofit organization is to provide clinical treatment, housing opportunities, social and support services, counseling, and guidance to individuals, families and the community affected by mental illness, developmental disabilities, psychological difficulties, addiction and/or dependency problems. In recent years, CN Guidance has been a leader in providing outreach, supports, and counseling to community members during tragic and traumatic events including 9/11 and the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

About the OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services:

Since 1969, OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services has served as a dependable haven of individual and family support, helping people of all ages surmount everyday challenges, heal from trauma, and manage with strength and dignity during times of crises. Driven by service excellence, OHEL’s professional staff meet the myriad social service needs of the general community, while at the same time providing culturally-sensitive services to the Jewish community, including Yiddish, Hebrew and Russian speakers. Through highly-rated foster care, developmental disability, mental health, and other programs and services, OHEL provides supportive housing, treatment, care coordination, education, outreach and much more to elevate lives and strengthen individuals and communities in New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Florida, California and worldwide on the web.

About Partnership with Children:

Partnership with Children is a nonprofit organization addressing the traumatic effects of poverty that prevent children from succeeding academically and socially, and schools from educating their students. Partnership with Children collaborates with 44 public schools and 17,000 youth, throughout all five boroughs of New York City, providing counseling, crisis intervention, school-wide services, and family and community outreach, helping to increase attendance; strengthen teacher effectiveness; lower dropout rates; and systematically build safe and healthy classrooms. For more information, visit

About Visiting Nurse Service of New York:

Established in 1893 by Lillian Wald, the founder of public health nursing, VNSNY is today the largest not-for-profit home- and community-based health care organization in the United States. VNSNY focuses on promoting the health and well-being of patients and families by providing high-quality, cost-effective health care to vulnerable individuals in their homes and communities. It currently provides home care services in all five boroughs of New York City and Nassau and Westchester Counties. In 2013, VNSNY clinicians made more than 2.3 million home- and community professional visits, serving approximately 163,500 New Yorkers.