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Posted at 3:10 PM ET, 01/14/2010

Schools help Haitian relief effort

By Valerie Strauss

Students, teachers and administrators quickly jumped into the Haiti relief effort in the greater Washington region and around the country today with donations of food, money and medical care.

Countless tweets on are urging people to donate small amounts by texting on their cell phones, prayer services are being held and kids are bringing in canned food to send to the shattered island nation.

At Howard University, students prayed for the victims at services in the school’s chapel while student leaders planned a unified response.

Catholic University is holding a special Mass for the victims, and money is being donated for Catholic Relief Services.

There was a lot of activity at the University of Virginia, where students were asked to donate to the American Red Cross and where the Medical Center prepared to help with the relief effort.

Intensive efforts are also underway in the two school systems located in cities with the largest Haitian communities in the United States--New York and Miami.

The New York City Education Department is soliciting funds for Haiti through the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York.

The Miami-Dade County Public School system established a hotline with information on how to help (305-995-3000), and put out calls for donations as well as search and recue volunteers and equipment such as first aid kits, sleeping bags and mosquito repellent.

Schools in the greater Washington region were active too; at Oxon Hill High School in Prince George's County, kids in just a few hours filled a room with food for the Haitian relief.

A group of about 20 students from the Wayne State University School of Medicine chapter of the World Health Student Organization discussed stepping up their efforts for a previously scheduled trip to Haiti from Feb. 25-March 7.

“As soon the students heard about the earthquake you would have thought they would have been concerned about still going on the trip, but the reaction was the total opposite,” Rosita Iordanova, a second-year medical student, said in a release. “The students are even more motivated to go to Haiti and make a difference in people’s lives.”

Emergency physicians from George Washington University’s Medical Center have already been deployed to Haiti as part of the Fairfax Urban Search and Rescue team, and other GWU physicians have volunteered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

For those wondering how they can help, the U.S. Department of State and humanitarian organizations are advising that monetary donations are the best way to provide aid at this time.

For a list of dozens or organizations involved in the relief, you can go to or text "HAITI" to 90999 to automatically donate $10 to the American Red Cross.

Tell us what your school or your child's school is doing to help the Haitian relief effort in the comments below or at


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By Valerie Strauss  | January 14, 2010; 3:10 PM ET
Tags:  haitian relief  
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