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Alan E. Gross

2006 Volunteer for Victims Award | National Crime Victims’ Service Awards

Alan E. Gross | Volunteer for Victims Award
Safe Horizon, Inc.
New York, New York

Alan E. Gross is a mediator, counselor, community organizer, trainer, mentor, and volunteer for Safe Horizon. He holds a Ph.D. in social psychology and is a respected academic who is at ease counseling the grieving and traumatized clients who represent New York's most vulnerable citizens. 

Gross has volunteered with the Safe Horizon Mediation Program in many capacities, including chairing its Advisory Board and serving as Acting Senior Director. He was a driving force behind Safe Horizon's September 11th Victims' Assistance Initiative, which provided material and financial assistance, counseling, mediation, and children's services in the immediate wake of the tragedy. 

One of the challenges of meeting victims' needs post-September 11th was coordinating the activities of a vast range of service providers, governmental entities, and community-based organizations to avoid redundancy and provide the most efficient response. In his role as Safe Horizon's Resident Outreach Manager, Gross worked tirelessly to build bridges among the stakeholders, facilitating meetings between Safe Horizon, the Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, New York City Council members, and community organizations. 

Most importantly, he consistently put victims at the center of his work. Gross recognized that victims' voices needed to be heard in the recovery effort. He personally visited the 25 housing units most affected by the disaster and quickly realized that many inhabitants were too frail, traumatized, or uninformed to access relief services. 

With other team members, Gross devised a strategy to bring services to the affected residents, establishing onsite case management programs in the lobbies or basements of the buildings. Material assistance applications, grief counseling, life skills training, and referrals to a broad range of victims' services were all available onsite. 

His contributions toward and compassion for victims is immeasurable. Thanks in part to Gross's significant efforts, including his work as the Disaster Relief Volunteer Coordinator, whose team mobilized, trained, and deployed more than 2,000 volunteers from around the Nation, Safe Horizon is now widely recognized as an example of how a nonprofit agency can efficiently and inclusively respond to unprecedented catastrophes. 

Gross was nominated by Gordon J. Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, Safe Horizon, Inc.