Project Hope and YES Community Counseling Center: Resources and Emotional Support for Those Hit Hardest by Sandy

YES Community Counseling Center is starting new support groups for children and adults, in addition to its existing programs for Hurricane Sandy survivors. The Center works with Project Hope, a program created by the New York State Office of Mental Health, with support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Center for Mental Health Services. Other funding for the program at YES Community Counseling Center comes from the Robin Hood Foundation.

YES Community Counseling Centers Post-Sandy Outreach in Massapequa and Seaford

YES Community Counseling Center, located on Grand Avenue in Massapequa, has been working with Project Hope since the storm. Specially trained counselors provide door-to-door support to Massapequa and Seaford residents who may need their assistance.

Jennifer DeMieri, Project Hope Coordinator at YES Community Counseling Center, praised the resources and informational programs offered by County Executive Mangano and Senator Fuschillo, among others. “Our goal is to get the information to the residents and offer them the emotional support to help them recover from this disaster,” she said.

A Day in the Life of a Crisis Counselor

Each morning, counselors meet to share information and resources before starting their days of in-home support. For residents, all counseling is confidential and free of charge,designed to “help [residents] understand their physical and emotional reactions,” DeMieri said. The counselors also provide information and referrals, helping residents determine their options as they continue with storm clean-up and restoration. Follow-up is also very important, DeMieri said, as the counselors provide much-needed supplies and information about volunteer programs.

Yet, with all the information and resources, the human touch is just as important. DeMieri elaborated, saying: “Many of the homeowners are overwhelmed and frustrated, and really just need a shoulder to cry on.”

New Support Groups in Massapequa for Adults and Children Affected by Sandy

YES Community Counseling Center’s new six-week support group for children and parents will address childrens feelings about Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. Topics discussed may include nightmares, sadness, and concerns about future disasters. According to DeMieri, the group will start next week and may be extended based on community need.

A six-week support group for adults is also forming, and it may be extended as well. “A support group can help you understand your feelings so that you can face tomorrow with greater certainty,” a YES Community Counseling Center flier stated.

The support groups will be small, and new groups may form to accommodate more people, DeMieri said. Residents of Seaford and the Massapequas may call (516) 799-3203. Others may call 1-800-LIFENET (1-800-543-3638) to find a Project Hope center in their area. You may also visit the New York State Office of Mental Healths Web site at http://www.omh.ny.gov/omhweb/disaster_resources/project_hope/

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