Rebuilding After Hurricane Harvey
The Trinity family continues to support those affected by the recent storms.
Prior to packing Welcome Kits, the fourth grade girls took turns reading aloud lines from the following poem:
I Reach Out for Your Hand
When my world falls down around me
And the ground is sinking sand
When peace can't be found on this earth
I reach out for your hand
When your hand wraps 'round my own
A strength pours from your soul
It brings to me a quiet calm
Till once again I'm whole
A peace beyond all reason
A rest there in your touch
Something in your quiet words
My heart yearns for so much
If I but rest my worries
Upon your shoulder there
Strength that pours forth from your soul
Will wash away each care
Like a cool, sweet, taste of water
For a tired-thirsty man
My heart finds peace, my soul is calm
When I reach out for your hand
~ Allison Chambers Coxsey
They also wrote personal notes of encouragement, thoughts, drawings and prayers to include in each box of supplies, which contained essentials such as toiletries, diapers, formula, underwear, blankets and pillows. A few additional items such as gum, decks of cards, and phone chargers were also put into each bin.
The original goal was ten Welcome Kits, but because so many students were interested in helping, they were able to triple that number!
In total, twenty-five fourth grade girls and their parents participated. And a few little brothers as well!
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, our boys took the messages (from school and home) to serve our neighbors to heart. We organized an event that assembled Welcome Kits for those in shelters and displaced due to evacuation. The speed at which our families organized (5 days), and the level of involvement and participation, was truly remarkable. In fact, the day after the invitation to help was sent, all items needed were secured. There are 31 boys in 3rd grade, and 28 of the families participated. On the day of the event, siblings from other grades also participated, and many parents pitched in to make the event successful and meaningful for the boys.
Items from pillows and blankets, to toothbrushes and toothpaste, to towels and shampoo, and much more were included in the kits. In addition, we had a significant supply of baby related items - such as diapers, formula, bottles, food, etc. donated. Before assembling the kit, a parent shared a brief message on empathy, and all came together to make sure the children understood the meaning of our work together.
Then, each child had a large blue bag and put one of each item into it. They also sat at the Empathy Table where pictures related to the hurricane were displayed - again providing the children with an opportunity to consider the needs of their neighbors. Supplies were also provided there for the children to write notes of encouragement to those receiving the Welcome Kits. Their generous, caring, and encouraging hearts really showed in this exercise with messages ranging from reminding neighbors they were "loved Children of God" to sharing hopes of resilience like "Never give up. Even when you feel like giving up." All bags and notes were then delivered to the Austin Disaster Relief Network (ADRN).
Sept. 1, 2017
This week during our Chapel services, we have been praying for all the people affected by Hurricane Harvey. Chaplain Cannon and I asked students what they were hearing and how they were feeling. Their honest and poignant answers brought light into the darkness of this ongoing disaster. Words like scared, worried, fearful, sad, and helpless were almost immediately followed by, “Fr. Ken, how can we help?” At the end of the week in middle school chapel I talked about how the public responds to a natural disaster (rescue, relief, recovery, preparedness) in the hope of creating a framework for them to better understand the chaos they are seeing on TV and social media.
One of the most important things we can do as parents (my boys are at Trinity as well) is talk to them about what is going on, and listen closely to what they are and are not saying. There are several good resources for parents on the webpages of many relief agencies. I have culled the following list from Episcopal Relief and Development’s webpage www.episcopalrelief.org. I found some of their suggestions to be very helpful. The links to the full documents are at the bottom of this message.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.
The Book of Common Prayer, p. 134
Tips for Parents in Helping Children and Youth Cope with Disaster
These are tips for talking with young people in your family about disasters and helping children to find resilience in overcoming stressful events in their communities and in the world.
- Spend time with your child. Hold and hug your child. Tell your child how much you love him or her and that you will get through this situation together. Perform small acts of kindness and generosity.
- Be honest. Do not sugar-coat a situation or tell a child “everything will be fine” unless you can realistically say this.
- Reassurance is key! Tell your child often that you will do everything you can to keep him or her safe.
- It’s okay to tell your child that you don’t have all the answers to his or her questions. Validate their thoughtful questioning.
- Be supportive and sympathetic, but avoid overreacting. Don’t try to make it okay; let them express fears, thoughts, and worries. Sharing can be very healing for everyone. At the same time, don’t force them to share; let it come naturally.
- Turn off the television news to prevent overload of disturbing images. Also, monitor your child’s conversations with other children and be prepared to gently correct misinformation.
- Encourage teens and older children to check in with their friends. Social interaction with friends will help teens find comfort and stay connected with their peer group. Give liberty to teenagers around how they make themselves feel better, i.e. turning the stereo on loud, talking on the phone more than usual to their friends. Allow them privacy (both in physical space and to deal with their feelings) if they need it.
- Try to follow typical routines and daily schedules as much as you are able, in order to give your child a sense of familiarity and security. Pray. Pray with your children. Pray for your children. Practice your faith and model resilience in the face of hardship.
- Don’t expect your child to take care of your fears, e.g. don’t keep your child home from school because you are afraid to be separated from him or her. Find help to cope with your fears.
Link to full articles:
August 29, 2017
I know we are all worried and concerned about the people and communities affected by the ongoing destruction of Hurricane Harvey. Many of us have family and friends who are in the midst of this tragedy.
In Middle School chapel today, we talked about what it means to let go and place our trust in God during difficult times like these. During our quiet meditation time, which we do every chapel, the students offered up prayers and concerns. Our response of prayer is critical.
Psalm 46 verse 10
Be still then and know that I am God
FATHER KEN SPEAKS ON OUR RESPONSE TO THE STORM
WE WANT TO HELP — WHAT CAN WE DO?
As this tragedy unfolds, our role during the rescue and relief phase of response is to stay in contact with our loved ones and to pray for all the people in harm’s way. As we move into the recovery phase there will be plenty to do.
WHAT IS MOST HELPFUL RIGHT NOW:
Donate funds to the relief effort.
- Episcopal Relief and Development is a great place to start. They have several different resources available including a detailed explanation of disaster relief and specifics on what we can do to help now.
- Central Texas Red Cross needs financial donations, people who can give blood, and volunteers to help at their shelters. The volunteer process is quick and easy: register online, attend a one-hour training, and sign up to help in the Austin shelter.
WHAT NOT TO DO:
When events like this occur, we sometimes feel the need to do anythingto try to help. Usually that takes the form of donating goods. DON’T DO IT. The goods almost always go unused and burden an already overburdened relief effort. It would be better to hold a community garage sale and donate the proceeds. The exception, of course, is when a relief agency like Central Texas Food Bank asks for specific donations.
Trinity is also working with the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools (SAES) to coordinate relief and recovery for Episcopal schools in the affected areas.
If you have any questions or concerns or just want to sit and chat please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Most high and Holy God, be with our sisters and brothers in the midst of this disaster wrought by hurricane Harvey. Protect them and lead them on their path of healing and restoration, and guide all of us who walk along with them. May they perceive your love and mercy in the partnerships they build with the members of your body, and may they know your mercy as they minister one to another. In your blessed name we pray. Amen.
(Adapted from a prayer written for Haiti after the earthquake)
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