Disaster Shakti – Katrina Recovery Update

Hurricane Katrina’s Anniversary (PDF 26K)
Hurricane Katrina Recovery Team Journals

Photo of students from University of Florida together with Antioch students listening to Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji speak about her work at the Nelson Charter School in New Orleans.Disaster Shakti
Multicultural Center for Research and Practice
August 15, 2006

Disaster Shakti thanks deeply all individuals in Antioch and in the Keene community who generously donated school supplies for the students of New Orleans. The supplies were varied and fun, which included crayons, No. 2 pencils, colored pencils, markers, pencil sharpeners, erasers, book packs, different sized note pads, stuffed toys, handmade decorative bags, rulers, candy, as well as two boxes of brightly colored children’s toothbrushes from a local dentist. Our school supply drive was a resounding success as we were able to take 12 large boxes to New Orleans. We also thank donors who gave us money, which enabled us to mail the boxes by UPS.

We divided the school supplies between the two locations that we worked at in New Orleans. The first was a local hotel and the second a charter school. The director of the hotel’s human resources was especially pleased to receive our school supplies as she had distributed such supplies in previous years to the hotel staff, but would have been unable to do so this year if we had not shown up with Antioch’s supplies.

The charter school was also thrilled to receive supplies that can be distributed to the many children who do not have the resources to purchase their own back-to-school supplies. The toothbrushes will be given out in a health class and some of the other fun stuff (e.g., whistles, masks) will be given as rewards. The school principal put us right to work inventorying Antioch’s supplies so that these can be more easily sorted and distributed.

Photo of Gargi Roysircar-Sodowsky and Cirecie West-Olatunji conduct a story sharing circle with Hotel Monteleone employees in New Orleans.Our trip to Orleans is part of a collaboration that I am developing between Antioch University New England, University of Florida, University of New Orleans, and Fordham University. At the recent American Psychological Association Conference, I called a meeting to discuss the development of an organization of disaster volunteers, called, Counselors and Psychologists for National and International Disasters. My call generated interest among APA members of various psychological disciplines who have been doing long-standing or more recent disaster recovery work. Read the minutes from our initial meeting (PDF 23K).

Disaster Shakti in partnership with academic programs in other universities will continue to work with the local New Orleans charter school and the hotel in the future to assist them in the process of environmental, psychological, and societal recovery.

To learn more, visit Disaster Shakti. Here you will find information including our mission statement, goals, activities, and disaster outreach work.

Thank you again for your wonderful generosity and thoughtfulness.


Gargi Roysircar, EdD
Professor of Clinical Psychology
Director, Multicultural Center for Research and Practice
Editor, Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development
Department of Clinical Psychology
Antioch University New England