Being an AmeriCorps member is about so many things. It’s about community, dedication, grit, hard work, passion, and service. In honor and celebration of our AmeriCorps members this week, we feel it is of the utmost importance to reflect on a time where our community needed people with those qualities and ideals more than ever.
We would like to celebrate our AmeriCorps members for their unwavering commitment in and through a difficult time of need for our region.
On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, Texas and surrounding cities as a category 4 hurricane. The city of Houston experienced flooding like it had never seen before, with over 200,000 homes damaged and nearly 13,000 destroyed.
Members of our staff and AmeriCorps team experienced this disaster to differential degrees, some losing everything and others gratefully untouched. The beauty of our AmeriCorps team, however, shined even throughout the week that streets and businesses were flooded and closed.
As we checked in with each other over the days we were locked in, we offered each other words of encouragement and unity. Although we were in different areas across the city, we offered a helping hand to our neighbors and friends and shared our individual stories with each other in an attempt to keep our spirits high.
Once it was safe for people to travel again, our city went right to work, and AmeriCorps members from far and near stepped up to lead community repair and relief efforts with the compassion and spirit of service we know AmeriCorps members to possess.
They helped provide activities and assistance at relief camps for children whose parents needed time to figure out next steps towards recovery or who had childcare prior to the storm but found out it was destroyed.
Our members and staff provided assistance, allocating, organizing, and distributing resources at the NRG Stadium, which had been turned into a relief center. Our AmeriCorps team also volunteered with relief centers at local churches to lend a helping hand distributing resources as well.
Even members who were unable to join group efforts due to their circumstances found ways to help in their local communities if they were unable to join the rest of the AmeriCorps team. The belief our members held in their own abilities to make an actual difference to people within their community was outstanding!
Six months later, that experience for many of our AmeriCorps members has increased their investment in their respective communities throughout their service term. For their continued strength and dedication through times that were as personally challenging for them as for much as the community, we want to appreciate them for their service.
Many at times, AmeriCorps members are asked what their service means to them and are given the opportunity to describe with words what it means to be an AmeriCorps member, but during this time of need, our members answered that question soundly through their actions.
There was no question as to what serving the city of Houston in one of its most vulnerable times meant to them. It meant everything.
Interested in becoming a Playworks AmeriCorps member?