Marisa hugs her daughter Caley, 3, at her daycare in Texas. They’re standing in a newly refurbished library that was destroyed in Hurricane Harvey, 2017. Save the Children funding helped rebuild the new library, as well as the daycare’s infant and toddler playground, and occupational therapy gym. Save the Children, June 2018.
One Year after Hurricane Harvey, Save the Children Remains On-the-Ground in Texas, Helping Children Fully Recover
Efforts Focus on Restoring and Improving Early Learning and Education Programs, Helping Children Emotionally Heal, Building Resilience, Preparing for Next Emergency
HOUSTON (August 23, 2018) – Hurricane Harvey was the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years, and one year later, Save the Children remains committed to supporting children who are still deeply impacted by the catastrophic storm and recovering from the emotional distress of having their worlds turned upside down.
More than 3 million children were affected by Hurricane Harvey, which displaced over 1 million people and damaged hundreds of thousands of homes in a path of destruction that stretched more than 300 miles. Save the Children’s Emergency Response Team deployed to Texas in advance of Hurricane Harvey to meet children and families’ immediate needs, and has been on the ground, based in Houston, since the earliest days of the storm.
Save the Children is working to ensure the storm’s most vulnerable victims – children – have access to early learning and educational services where they can safely play, learn and develop, and are equipped to cope with and process their feelings, while becoming more resilient and ready in the event of another disaster.
As a national leader in early childhood education, Save the Children continues to partner with local education networks and programs in greater Houston, the Coastal Bend region and across Southeast Texas, to restore and improve child care, early learning, summer and afterschool services. Save the Children has supported more than 575 education programs serving over 90,000 children, to date.
“The well-being of Texas children – both today and in the future – depends on quality early learning and education programs. When these services are disrupted – as too many still are – children and families suffer,” said Mark Shriver, Save the Children’s Senior Vice President of U.S. Programs and Advocacy. “That’s why Save the Children is working with local partners, doing whatever it takes to help restore and improve education programs and get children back to learning.”
“For instance, one of our partners in Houston sustained severe flooding in all but one of their afterschool program facilities. The floodwaters caused major structural damage and destroyed furniture, learning materials, and food supplies – effectively closing programs for 150 children for more than four months. Save the Children stepped up to provide the support and materials they needed to build back better and allow children to return to learning,” Shriver added.
In collaboration with local mental health providers, Save the Children also continues to partner with schools, child care centers, clinics, and community centers to roll out its signature emotional support program Journey of Hope in greater Houston and along the Texas coast. The evidence-based program, developed after Hurricane Katrina, has – to date – helped nearly 8,000 Texas children and more than 12,000 caregivers cope with trauma, reduce stress and become more resilient in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
“As the recovery process continues to evolve in Texas, so do the needs of children,” said John Bracken, Save the Children’s Texas State Director. “In addition to losing their homes and access to education, children have lost their sense of security and need time and help to heal emotionally. Save the Children is dedicated to supporting the wellbeing and education of Texas’ children for the long-term.”
“The consequences of severe distress for children include health problems, difficulties with learning, ongoing behavior problems, and fractured relationships – so it’s critical that they have the opportunity to process their feelings after traumatic events,” added Bracken. “Save the Children’s Journey of Hope program provides children a safe, small group setting to explore and normalize emotions, develop healthy coping skills, build confidence and foster positive peer relationships.”
In addition to building children’s coping skills and resilience, Save the Children is leading disaster preparedness programs and training – including its interactive Prep Rally activities – to help Texas children, schools and communities better prepare for the next disaster.
Save the Children’s immediate response efforts included implementing its Child-Friendly Spaces program, which provided safe and protective play areas for children at seven evacuation shelters throughout the state, and distributing thousands of child-focused supplies, including cribs, strollers diapers, books and hygiene kits to families in need.
To learn more about Save the Children’s Hurricane Harvey response and ongoing recovery work, visit www.SavetheChildren.org/Hurricane-Harvey. To see how Save the Children has supported Texas children and families, visit YouTube.
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