The HealthCorps team in Houston share stories from their volunteer efforts post Hurricane Harvey
Rachel Cary, Program Coordinator
For the past two weeks, I have been fortunate to volunteer my time at both the George R. Brown Convention Center and NRG Stadium. I have had a wide array of opportunities to serve this incredible community! Whether it’s organizing medical supplies for the amazing doctors and nurses working at the shelter, collecting individual’s clothing to be washed for the first time in weeks, or hanging out in the “Children’s Zone” to help the kids feel like kids again, I have experienced firsthand how strong Houston is. Despite the devastation that has occurred, the shelters are so full of life! I wish it could have been under better circumstances, but through this experience I have met some of the most incredible people in this city, both in fellow volunteers and guests staying at the shelter. I leave every day with a huge smile on my face – even after a 12-hour volunteer shift I took one evening. Completely exhausted, a little delusional, yet still walked out smiling.
I only moved to the Houston area about three weeks ago; however, this city already feels like home. It is so important we all keep looking out for one another! Houston has been a shining example of what a supportive community can accomplish. I am so thankful to be a part of an organization that encourages me in these efforts and champions for the communities in which we’re rooted! Keep fighting for a better today and a healthier tomorrow, Houston!
Maegan Lewis, HCU Specialist
I volunteered at the shelter in NRG stadium where I was placed in child care. My task was simple- to be a happy distraction to those who had been displaced. The center was overwhelmed with volunteers, and it made me proud to see how our community banned together through such devastation. The rebuilding has just begun, but Houston will be even stronger in the end.
Liberty Robson, daughter of HealthCorps President Michelle Bouchard
High School Freshman, HealthCorps Ambassador
I spent my time during a school break volunteering for Hurricane Harvey. I enjoyed it very much and felt very good helping people in need. I worked with other teens from my church, St. John the Divine, in areas all around Houston, but mostly in Meyerland, one of the most flooded areas of the City. I packed boxes, vacuumed water and did lots of drywall demo and cleanup. It was challenging but totally worth it despite the hard work. The people living in the flooded houses were instructed us on where to put things as we cleaned up. It really made me grateful to live in the wonderful community of Houston where everyone comes together to do great things for others. It was so sad to see houses with wonderful families living in them, so demolished because of the hurricane. Some houses had up to 4-5 feet of water. Everything these people owned was ruined.
Kristina Mariswamy, Development Manager
The week Harvey hit, one of the hardest things to do was watch the city I lived in submerged underwater, and fellow Houstonians crying for help on their roofs through the news – whilst being stuck indoors due to flooding on my own streets, unable to do anything to help. The first chance we got my husband and I volunteered at the NRG Stadium. The amount of volunteers lined up at the registration line amazed me. There were people from all walks of life there, giving their time, helping those in need.
We were placed in the KidZone, where the instructions were clear – just play.
There, with teachers, doctors, a museum director, two engineers and massive piles of toys, we put together puzzles, played parachute and as instructed, played. Hearing the kids laugh and have fun really made my day. For a few hours, we all forgot what a rough week we had, and had fun.
I have only been in this city for two and a half years, and I have never been more proud to call it home.