Counties After The Storm!
The Family Service Bureau of Newark’s NJ Hope and Healing team has provided crisis counseling and support to more than 25,000 persons both directly and indirectly affected by Superstorm Sandy, which hit New Jersey with a vengeance last October. The FSB team is comprised of nine crisis counselors and is a diverse team with seven foreign languages spoken, including Spanish, Polish, Arabic, Hindi, Taiwanese and Chinese. This diversity has allowed the team to connect with the vast majority of cultures represented in both Essex and Hudson counties, which suffered severe damage from last year’s monster storm. The team outreach efforts have included Dametria Wertz and Agnes Raczynski partnering and making several connections with local food pantries. This has allowed team members to not only serve as volunteers, but to have a listing of resources available locally that can be shared with storm survivors. Shawna Hinkson and Elyse Giuffre have canvassed most of Essex County, identifying areas that were badly affected by the storm and providing emotional support to residents. They have also provided anger and stress management workshops, in addition to resiliency training at local libraries, churches and camps. Sister Lucy Zhang and Paul Tew?k, two other team members, have contacted local churches, resulting in the team being invited to present the NJ Hope and Healing program to thousands of parishioners. Meanwhile, Meg Superstorm Sandy caused severe ?ooding in Hudson and Essex Counties. Zarnick and Cindy Castaneda have had a presence at several Long Term Recovery Group meetings in both counties to provide monetary assistance to those residents still rebuilding their homes. The team recently partnered with eight assisted living centers and will be providing ongoing groups and workshops to the senior population in these areas. They have also had a presence at local farmer’s markets, health fairs and other community-sponsored events and institutions, including schools, churches and most recently, colleges and universities. To commemorate the storm, the FSB-NJ Hope and Healing team attended a one-year commemoration at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark on October 29th. “We are invested in the local community and feel con?dent that community resources and connections are being made available to those affected by the storm. Our goal is to have the community work together and be self- suf?cient, as our endeavors will be coming to an end in early 2014,” Castaneda said.
Anyone still in need of support or who would like more information should call 1 800-294-HELP.
Article submitted by Cynthia Castaneda, a NJ Hope and Healing crisis counselor.