Students lend their support at the ninth September 11 Memorial in New York City

NEW PALTZ – Students from the disaster studies and counseling programs from the State University of New York at New Paltz were on hand with the American Red Cross in lower Manhattan in support of the memorial held on the ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Most of the student volunteers at this year’s event were stationed at the reflective pool at the World Trade Center site, offering mental health counseling and bereavement support to anyone in need. Groups from New Paltz have supported these commemorative events since 2005.

Dr. James Halpern, professor of Psychology & Counseling and director of the SUNY New Paltz Institute for Disaster Mental Health (IDMH) commented, “It was a long and difficult day, not only for survivors but also for volunteers who were exposed to enormous grief. (Our) students were grateful that they were able to be of use and support to the community.”

SUNY New Paltz volunteers on hand were Kristen Fox (Mental Health Counseling graduate program), Jessica Purcell (EOP advisor), Meredith Johnson (coordinator, IDMH), Dr. James Halpern (director, IDMH), Jessica Lester, Alana Doran, Storey Day, Nekisha Walters (all undergraduates in the Disaster Studies minor), and Rachael Bisceglie (graduate assistant, IDMH).