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Social Work Students, Workers Staff Organize Hotline for Hurricane Victims
11/16/2004

FORT MYERS, FL - This month, students in the social work degree programs at Florida Gulf Coast University launch a toll free telephone support line to help hurricane victims sort through the myriad of emotions they feel resulting from recent storm activity in Southwest Florida.

"Its purpose is to help with the emotional fallout from all of these storms," associate professor of social work Myra Marcus said. "It is to be run by our social work students."

Licensed social workers as well as social work students manage the telephone calls. The group is organized to help victims cope with feelings of anger, aloneness and pessimism spawned by the number and ferocity of recent hurricanes.

The group was originally dubbed "Charley's Angels" after Hurricane Charley devastated the region.

"The hurricanes have altered some lives irrevocably. The wrath of nature, the fear of dying or losing others, and the loss of one's possessions and dreams are devastating events. The sense of shock, powerlessness and vulnerability make it difficult to comprehend what has happened and the world suddenly seems like a strange and foreign place. We will provide support to victims as they put the pieces of their lives back together," Marcus said.

The support line is operated 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Mondays through Fridays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays. The number is (866) 635-HOPE.

For more information, contact Marcus at (239) 590-7827.

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