Representatives from Children at Risk, Save the Children, BakerRipley, and HISD gathered at Peck Elementary School on Thursday to emphasize the importance of being prepared when the next hurricane threatens Houston.
HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan shared the hurricane’s impact on HISD schools and how the HISD Foundation provided $13 million in relief, as well as $300,000 in direct-to-teacher grants. The district’s Social and Emotional Learning Department trained hundreds of teachers and staff on how to recognize and deal with trauma in children.
“The impact on HISD was over $200 million, and thousands of our families and staff members were affected,” Lathan said. “In fact, Peck Elementary Principal Carlotta Brown had to be rescued by boat.”
Save the Children Director John Bracken opened the press conference with a quiet moment of reflection on how Hurricane Harvey affected everyone present.
“After the hurricane, we came together, and we built back even stronger,” Bracken said. “That’s because we are Texas- and Houston-strong.”
Save the Children came to Houston in advance of Harvey to set up child-friendly spaces in city shelters. Afterward, they donated money for child-care centers and after-school programs to get back on their feet, as well as provide resources to help children deal with trauma.
BakerRipley Senior Vice President Ann Hilbig spoke about helping set up NRG Stadium to shelter 7,400 people after the storm. They have also provided $4.2 million in financial assistance to families.
After the press conference, Peck students received backpacks containing lifesaving information and items to take with them if they need to evacuate. After that, everyone signed the Preparedness Pledge: “I pledge to work with my family and my community to make a plan and be ready for any disaster.”