Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:September 5th, 2011 12:55 EST
St. Luke's Back-To-School Event Assists Underprivileged Kids

St. Luke's Back-To-School Event Assists Underprivileged Kids

By SOP newswire2

The Child and Family Institute`s 4th Annual Back-to-School Event

Since back to school is a difficult time for many kids, a yearly Back-to-School Event at St. Luke`s-Roosevelt Hospital assists youth in this transition. This September, the Department of Psychiatry, Child and Family Institute, Outpatient Department (CFI OPD) is including a special workshop at their 4th annual Child and Family Institute`s Back-to-School Event. The workshop, presented by the Global Kid Connect Project, includes self esteem exercises, healing songs, and an exchange of dolls made by children from Haiti and Japan who survived the recent tsunami and earthquakes.

Where: St. Luke`s Hospital, Babcock Cafeteria, 419 W. 114th St. (btw Amsterdam Ave. & Morningside Dr.), NYC

When: Thursday, September 8, 2011, from 3:00 to 6:00 PM

Last month, 100 dolls were decorated by Japanese children after the recent tragic tsunami/earthquake in that country and brought to Haiti where they were given to children who survived the earthquake there. At the Back to School event, dolls made by Haiti children will be given to the New York children, who will make dolls with messages of hope to be sent back to children in Haiti and Japan.

"The circle of dolls makes the children who have gone through terrible tragedies know that children in other countries care about them. The psychological impact of this, and learning simple techniques to feel good, is healing and also fun,"says noted New York clinical psychologist, Dr. Judy Kuriansky, founder of the Global Kids Connect Project. The popular radio and TV personality, humanitarian and NGO representative at the United Nations for the International Association of Applied Psychology has done psychological first aide after 9/11 at Ground Zero and at the Family Assistance Center in NYC, as well as after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and worldwide after the Haiti and China earthquakes, Asian tsunami and other natural disasters.

Including New York youth in the circle of children is significant at this time, given the upcoming 10th anniversary of September 11 when New Yorkers will all be aware of the need for healing. Many of these children are dealing with other major stressors such as family problems, poverty, poor living conditions, and family financial problems that prevent them from buying supplies school essential like notebooks and pens.

"The doll exchange is based on sound psychological principles applied in other disasters, like the teddy bears given to children after 9/11, which represent `transitional objects` and `contact comfort` symbolic of a nurturing maternal figure offering security and safety essential for children after disasters," adds Kuriansky.

At the event, an original song, "Towers of Light," written in commemoration of 9/11 to promote healing and honor the heroes of that day will be performed by the Stand Up for Peace Project (www.towersoflightsong.com). The song has been performed yearly at 9/11 memorials in New York, as well as in Japan and around the world, including for the Dalai Lama.

Other partners for the Event include Nozomi Terao, founder and Executive Director of HappyDoll, Inc. (www.happydoll.org) and formerly of Morgan Stanley; Russell Daisey, internationally known composer and co-founder of the Stand Up for Peace Project; Father Wismick Jean Charles, a Haitian Catholic priest who preaches in Westbury, Long Island and teaches at New York`s Fordham University; and the International Association of Applied Psychology, an NGO accredited at the United Nations. Partners in Haiti are Centre Bon Samaritan and The Haitian Action for the United Nations.

The Back-to-School Event fosters excitement about education by creating a fun environment with confidence-building activities designed to teach kids that academic success is key to achieving future goals. The Department of Psychiatry CFI OPD provides therapeutic services to over 730 children and families with emotional, behavioral, family and learning issues. At last year`s Back-to-School Event, 130 children and teens participated in activities to promote school achievement, study skills and self-esteem. Refreshments and backpacks and other school supplies were donated by Staples, BJs, Whole Foods, the DiscoveryCenter and others, and a computer was raffled off.