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Helping Houston's Kids Get Back to Learning After Hurricane Harvey

October 27, 2017

Two months after the storm, UNICEF USA is providing much-needed educational supplies. 

Hurricane Harvey's flooding caused one of the worst weather disasters in U.S. history, with recovery costs estimated in the billions of dollars. UNICEF USA is working with the Houston departments of health and education, the mayor's office and NGO partners to provide counseling and education for the most marginalized and vulnerable children in Harvey's wake. UNICEF USA is also providing educational materials to students and teachers displaced from their schools by the storm. Houston teacher Jackie Garcia, a longtime UNICEF volunteer, recently helped fill School-in-a-Box kits for those hardest hit.

I have lived in Houston since 1994 and I have never seen Houston the way I saw it after Hurricane Harvey.  I had no idea it was possible to see so much water in such a big city, but it was. People were being rescued by boats, neighbors were crying out for help, and the whole city was coming together to help one another. So many houses were damaged; buildings were flooded; and even more devastatingly, schools were affected. 

I had no idea it was possible to see so much water in such a big city.

As a teacher, I cannot image what it would be like to not be able to return to a classroom, not be able to give my students the education they need and deserve. Since I began volunteering for UNICEF in 2010, I have become a staunch advocate for equitable education for all children. This time, it was our city’s children who were impacted. So many children were misplaced due to the hurricane and something needed to be done about it.

Houston teacher Jackie Garcia has volunteered for UNICEF since 2010. This year, she helped prepare School-in-a-Box kits full of educational supplies for children and teachers in Houston whose schools were damaged by Hurricane Harvey. 

I have volunteered in many ways to help the world's children, and this time, I needed to help the children of my city.

When UNICEF USA partnered with UPS to prepare and deliver School-in-a-Box kits, I had to be there. For the past seven years, I have volunteered in many ways to help the world’s children, and this time, I needed to help the children in my city. Houston needed help and UNICEF USA was there to help our most affected, most vulnerable children recover from Hurricane Harvey and get back to school. As a volunteer, it warmed my heart that UNICEF USA was going to come to Houston to help us.

While helping out to assemble education kits for classrooms, I enjoyed talking with the many UPS volunteers onsite and sharing my experience with UNICEF USA with them. Most of all, while stuffing the boxes, I reflected on my own involvement with UNICEF USA in college and today.

Today, I helped nearly 13,000 displaced students and teachers from my very own backyard receive supplies to continue their learning regardless of the damage that has been caused to our city.

Today, I am teaching students who have shared stories wtih me of how they came to the United States, and in certain cases, how grateful there were to receive aid from UNICEF while abroad. Today, they are here continuing their education. Today, I have helped nearly 13,000 displaced students and teachers from my very own backyard receive supplies to continue their learning regardless of the damage that has been caused to our city.

No matter where they come from, children should always be put first. This experience has strengthened my resolve to help children in whatever way possible and has proven the importance of advocating for their rights. 

Help Houston get back on its feet. A full 100 percent of your donation goes directly to helping children recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

 

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