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EMSB DOES ITS PART FOR HURRICANE VICTIMS

MONTREAL, SEPTEMBER 20, 2005- Schools, centres and the head office of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) are doing their part to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. Gulf States.

Last year, in the wake of the tsunami in South East Asia, EMSB schools and centres raised more than $50,000 and held a wide array of activities.

"The EMSB, as part of our world community, has been deeply affected by the enormity of the devastation and human suffering caused by Hurricane Katrina in the U.S. Gulf States," stated EMSB Director General Antonio Lacroce. "It is possible that both staff and students may have relatives who have been victimized by this natural disaster, but what is certain is that all of us have been moved by the tremendous suffering which our neighbours, the citizens of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have experienced as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."

Mr. Lacroce has urged schools to engage students emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. In this regard, he has encouraged the entire school community -staff, students, and parents- in fundraising activities with a view to sending donations to support hurricane victims "who are our neighbours." More specifically, the Canadian Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund (www.redcross.ca), Canadian Relief Foundation (www.canadianrelief.ca) and UNICEF Hurricane Katrina Relief Efforts (www.unicefusa.org) have been identified.

"Many of us have spent hours witnessing this disaster on television, radio, or internet and thus can be considered secondary victims and, as such, can experience trauma and stress reactions," said Mr. Lacroce. "It is important to understand that, following a traumatic event, even if it happened to someone else, it is normal to feel it personally. Although each person reacts differently, according to his or her own personality and life experiences, there is a wide range of normal feelings and reactions that are generated by these horrific events. Those who are particularly vulnerable because of previous experiences of trauma or loss may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder."

At the EMSB head office, a raffle ticket sale will take place from Sept. 19 to 22. The grand prize is a gift basket containing four bottles of American wine, plus an assortment of American made goodies. Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the Canadian Red Cross Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. Staff members will also gather at the EMSB head office Mon. Sept. 26 to conduct a memorial service for the victims of the hurricane.

Schools and centres have already begun organizing a variety of activities, including dress down days and a unique "Hurricane of Chores" by raising money through students doing chores at home for a given sum of money.



Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213
E-mail: mcohen@emsb.qc.ca