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Florida Urban School Districts Help Bahamian Hurricane Victims

  • Hurricane Dorian devastated the northern Bahamas in early September, causing unprecedented and extensive damage, and destroying homes, businesses and schools. Several urban school districts in nearby Florida are stepping up to the plate and providing much-needed assistance to those impacted by the Category 4 storm.


    Miami-Dade County Public Schools is collaborating with several organizations, including United Way of Miami-Dade, the Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald and Univision, in Operation Helping Hands, which supports the response, relief and recovery efforts in areas of the Bahamas affected by Hurricane Dorian.

    Monetary donations toward these efforts can be made online through the district’s direct-support organization, the Foundation for New Education Initiatives Inc., at www.giveourstudentstheworld.org. The district also is encouraging people to bring donations, particularly non-perishable food and basic first-aid items, to any district site or school. To further support relief efforts, the school system plans to hold a benefit concert.

    The school district has enrolled 26 students from the Bahamas displaced by Hurricane Dorian, according to a district spokesperson.  

    Broward County

    Broward County Public Schools is collaborating with several organizations, including the Broward Education Foundation, to collect and deliver donations and resources in support of Hurricane Dorian recovery efforts. Donations can be made at https://browardedfoundation.org/dorian/

    In addition, as part of its ongoing recovery and relief efforts, the district opened a Welcome Center to help students and families arriving from the Bahamas. It has accepted 17 students, according to WSVN 7News.

    The Welcome Center supports families with student registration into schools and connects them to school social workers, who provide school supplies, uniforms and clothes, food, and information on local resources. The center also offers access to a variety of health services, in partnership with the Florida Department of Health in Broward.

    Palm Beach

    The School District of Palm Beach County has launched PBCSD Reading, Writing and Relief, a campaign to assist people recovering from Hurricane Dorian. The district, along with its philanthropic partner, the Education Foundation of Palm Beach County, set a goal to raise $100,000 by September 20. Staff, students and families were encouraged to join the campaign. The Education Foundation will route all funds raised to the American Red Cross, which has more than 200 volunteers in the Bahamas helping with the relief efforts.

    “It’s heartbreaking to see the devastation; our hearts go out to the Bahamian people who have lost everything but hope,” said Palm Beach Schools Superintendent Donald Fennoy II. “One of the greatest lessons we can teach our students is empathy. Through this donation drive, children will feel empowered by their giving.”

    The school district has enrolled 15 students from the Bahamas, according to CNN.