In a city as large and diverse as New York, we all know someone affected by recent natural disasters across the Caribbean, Florida, Texas, and Mexico. All of us are concerned for our JCCA colleagues who are heartbroken with worry for their parents, grandparents, children, cousins, family, and friends. Our clients and their families have also been terribly impacted and many of you have asked me how we may help them.
The islands of the Caribbean are part of the fabric of our community and Puerto Rico is home to more than three million U.S. residents. While it is heartening to see people come together to help each other and rebuild, it is difficult to watch the devastation unfold from far away. The news coming out of Puerto Rico grows more dire by the day, with millions struggling without food, water, and electricity. We may feel powerless to help, but, of course, we are not.
As with the trauma and heartache we confront every day as part of our work, we should remind ourselves, our colleagues, and our clients that our ability to make a difference and offer support will make a difference and will, as a result, assuage our anxiety and sadness. It is important to check in with your coworkers who may be distressed about news and worried about their kin. Our EAP is a resource for staff. This is a time when we should be taking full advantage.
There are many legitimate organizations doing important work on the ground. Some of them are listed below.
My heart is with Puerto Rico, Dominica, Barbuda, St. Martin, St. John, other impacted Caribbean islands, Mexico, Florida, Texas, and every other locality struggling to return to normalcy in the face of unprecedented natural disasters. I hope your loved ones are safe, that you are soon able to get regular status updates, and that the next few days and weeks bring progress and positive news.
Ronald E. Richter