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Group helps young victims of Hurricane Sandy

April 5, 2013 3:08:32 PM PDT
After Superstorm Sandy hit, many New York City students struggled with huge losses at home. Many of them had to live with friends or relatives, but a program in some schools called "Crew" helped a lot of students weather the storm.

As part of our "Protect Our Children" special we found out how "Crew" is helping kids deal with stress and anxiety.

"We all got split up. We didn't all want to stay at one person's house because we didn't want to overstay our welcome or anything," one student explained. "I get homesick."

Stories like this one were all too familiar at Channel View High School in the Rockaways after Superstorm Sandy. Almost half of the students here were displaced or relocated and many teachers credit Crew for helping kids cope.

Crew is a set group of students who meet regularly starting in middle school.

"Once they're in that crew of fifteen students, they'll have a crew leader and that group and the crew leader will stay together for the next year and the next year and the next year," Pat said.

Typically the discussions involved adolescent issues, but after Sandy things were different.

"Talking in our Crew, it releases all the stress," one student said.

When one student lost her dad two weeks after the storm, she had a built in support system.

"When they showed up at the funeral, I couldn't even express how happy I was to see them, to see my Crew people. To see everybody there just to support me, it just really meant a lot. It really did and I think Crew helped me through everything," she said.

The crew program began in 2004. It begins with a weeklong wilderness experience that includes bonding and character building. So far, it's been very successful at the "NYC Outward bound schools" and it's an idea that could be used in more schools.

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