Hurricane Harvey

Houston-Area Teachers Helping Students In Shelters

Newly formed group of Houston-area teachers are organizing to help kids in the flood-ravaged areas of Southeast Texas brought on by Hurricane Harvey.

The Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation will manage the scholarship program for future teachers and has already supported stronger teaching in places like Port Isabel.
Houston-area teachers are eager to offer their services for kids in shelters who have been displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

Teachers Volunteering in Shelters is a newly formed group of Houston-area teachers who are organizing to help children in the flood-ravaged areas of Southeast Texas brought on by Hurricane Harvey. They only enlists certified, experienced teachers who can provide high-quality childcare and learning opportunities to children and teens of all ages. The group has already dispatched teachers to the George R. Brown Convention Center, NRG Center and Church of the Apostles Houston.

Simone Kern, Director of Literacy Interventions at YES Prep Public Schools, started the group on Facebook. Kern, who is currently recovering from surgery and cannot volunteer in the shelters herself decided to put her administrative skills to work by organizing teachers and connecting them with shelters in need.

"We know more than 200 shelters are operating in the Houston area. Parents in those shelters need high-quality childcare they can trust, so that they can take a shower, call the insurance company, work on their house, and know that their kids are in good hands," said Kern. "Our kids are very vulnerable right now and we want to make sure childcare is safe, effective, and therapeutic—and working with certified teachers is a great way to do that."

Kristen McClintock, a member of the group and a special education teacher at West Side High School in Houston I.S.D, felt the need to do something to help children after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area. As a special education teacher, McClintock was especially aware of the needs of children with autism, learning disabilities or other special needs.

"I was ready to begin the school year this week and after Hurricane Harvey hit, I knew I had to do something to help our students," McClintock said. "One of the first things I thought about were those children with autism who are sensitive to noise. It's really loud in the Convention Center, so I started out by setting up a ‘sensory space' that would allow these kids to calm themselves. We've also had a lot of noise cancelling headphones donated, so that also helps."

The group would like to coordinate with other area shelters and relief efforts to ensure that its teachers can provide their childcare and educational services in an effective, safe way to as many children as possible. Shelters and relief organizations can contact the group via Facebook or e-mail at teachervolunteershouston@gmail.com.

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