In honor of the one year anniversary since our record-breaking storm, Hurricane Harvey, struck our city, we look back on the past year in gratitude and amazement of our community. Communities In Schools of Houston’s foundation is built on the concept that it takes a community to support our students in schools, but as this storm reminded us, that support extends far beyond the school walls. Despite Harvey’s devastating effect, this tragedy provided the opportunity for our community to come together and to show our strength. No matter who you were or how the storm affected you, Houstonians immediately jumped into action and made it their mission to help others, igniting a feeling of togetherness during this unfortunate tragedy. It would not have been possible to overcome the very real challenges from Harvey without our community, and so we salute you and thank you - every single one who served others, donated supplies or funds, or pooled their energy and resources to help in the recovery after Harvey.
This time a year ago, our staff was just getting settled in their schools, never imagining what was about to take place. Because we are on the school campus every school day, year round, we were on the front line to identify those in need and serve as a connector of resources when the storm hit. Our Student Support Specialists, despite being hard-hit themselves, were among the first who were ready to serve and ensure the safety of students and families. After the water receded, the work was not over. CIS continued to provide students with basic needs like food and clothing, and later when schools finally reopened, we helped in getting students and families the school supplies and uniforms they needed as well.
But it didn’t stop there. Countless families throughout Houston, from Alief ISD, HISD to SBISD, still couldn’t return to their homes even months after the flooding. Our Student Support Specialists were there every step of the way, helping families with a place to live, as well as coordinating rental and utility assistance. When the emotions from this traumatic event became too much for a student to handle on their own, we offered Mental Health and Case Management services by trauma-informed counselors to students on the campus.
While our Student Support Specialists have been on the ground and in the schools, we could not have helped as many families as we did without the outpouring of support from the community. Your donations helped students and families in their moment of crisis to rebuild their lives after Hurricane Harvey.
In the midst of a year that has been filled with upheaval and transition for many of Houston’s students and families, we can reflect and be grateful for the community we have behind us who are there to help when we need them most. While there are not enough words to express our gratitude, CIS of Houston is forever grateful for the response we received throughout the city, state, and even country following Hurricane Harvey.