When hurricane and other natural disasters brought damage and devastation to communities in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and beyond, Achieve3000® sought ways to support educators and students. In addition to providing districts with replacement school supplies, we created special web pages in both English and Spanish for easy, free access to our Student Edition; this way, kids could continue learning even before schools were able to reopen! (We’re now delivering print versions of lessons to teachers in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where Internet connections are not yet restored.)
We also published a periodically-updated current events article, “Hurricane Heroes,” within our platform’s Student and Teacher Editions to ensure students stayed informed. Using the article as a jumping off point, we asked students to submit messages about their own experiences or to share messages for others who were affected by these weather catastrophes.
More than 31,000 responses written in English and Spanish poured in from all directions! Some children described their own struggles and others sent encouragement to strangers experiencing hard times. The volume of messages speaks to the impact of these natural disasters, as well as the importance of giving kids a place to express themselves and reach out to others about difficult events. Students from as far afield as Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin offered reassurance to those affected. “We care and we support you,” the messages told victims in distant states.
It’s clear that the messages were being read and appreciated by students in affected areas. One child wrote, “I just want to say how happy I am for all the support. Hearing those other messages really made me feel better.” Another student sent inspiring words that also recognized the public nature of the messages: “For the people affected by this, no matter how alone you feel, you are not. Thousands of people are hearing these stories…”
So what did they all say?
In reviewing the messages so many students shared, several themes rise to the surface. Following is a round-up of some of these themes, along with a few student responses for each If you’d like to print and display a selection of the 31,000 “Hurricane Heroes” messages in your school to remind students of the amazing support they provided for other kids, please download our Thank You brochure in English or Spanish
It was my first time going through something as stressful as this. Although I and hundreds of my other friends and family around Jacksonville lost power, I knew others were flooded. Houses were destroyed. People lost the things they loved… There was flooding up to the roofs of cars, and even a turtle swimming through the flood waters. There were knocked over trees and broken windows as well. But we are recovering every day. We are raising money and helping people who will be forever changed by this storm. This was a very stressful time in my life, but we found ways to stay safe and have enough food and water. And I hope everyone can recover soon.
My family was also affected by Hurricane Harvey. The water was waist-deep outside by the time we needed to evacuate. I lost a lot of my favorite things and a lot of clothes. However, someone allowed us to stay with them until we could find a shelter or hotel. With great fortune, our uncle found us a place to rent out and live in permanently. The house is still being fixed up (replacing furniture, putting down tile, cleaning, placing in baseboards, etc.). But I really do love my new home, and hope that everyone else that was displaced by Harvey finds one to call their own as well.
Hello! I am in fourth grade. I hope you’re having a good day today. Well, I think you can guess why I am sending you this message. I know things may be hard. You might have lost your house, friends, family maybe. And I am so, so, so sorry. I know how you feel. I’ve lost some family and friends too. Sometimes we just hate how this world spins. How it takes things from us that we don’t want taken. I am extremely sorry for your losses.
Hey you guys, I know how you feel out there. I was caught in Hurricane Sandy back in 2012. I was 8 years old then. I saw the destruction and was devastated. And I see that there was worse damage because of Irma and Harvey. Just know that we see your struggles and we care so much. I’m praying for you.
It was nice to see everyone come together and help out the day after the storm. I never realized that after a big disaster like this everyone grows a little closer.
The hurricanes have caused a lot of heartbreak and misery for thousands of people, but at the same time, brought people together… seeing how far others have gone to help people that they’ve probably never met before is a great thing to witness and keep in your heart.
I noticed that everyone pulled together to help one another. After the hurricane passed, many people helped others with yard work and house repairs. It was so wonderful to see communities working together to help each other. People were offering to help strangers, too. It was comforting to watch people help with sharing and preparing food, clothing, and other resources.
This is a tough and terrible time for everyone, but I know that we can get through this together! Anyone who is affected by the storms, please stay strong!
I hope that everyone affected by the hurricanes can recover. Even though I have never been in a hurricane, I am sure it must be really scary. So stay strong.
I am 9. I want all of you out there to know that we can take anything. All of you out there, be kind, be safe, be who you are. We stand strong. Thank you if you have read this.
Dear Hurricane Irma and Harvey victims, we hope you guys are okay and want you to know people all around the U.S. are thinking about you.
For those who were suffering because of the hurricane, I am really sorry for what happened to you guys. If you guys were me, I would be scared too. And it’s OK to be scared. I am truly sorry, friends. I hope your lives return to normal.
I am 12 years old and only a kid but it does not mean that my heart has less feeling of sadness for your homes, memories, loved ones. My heart has torn for all of your losses. I am so sorry that almost everything feels gone.
I hope everyone is ok. I am 11 years old and will try and send food.
I have been watching the news lately and I am so sorry for the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, I really am. Just know that the people of Philadelphia are donating water to the Red Cross for you guys.
I am 10 years old and am in the fifth grade… If I could rebuild your house, I would.
Home Is Where the Heart Is
It’s OK. My mom told me that wherever your heart is, is your home.
Your house may have been destroyed, but your home was not. Your home is in your heart, in your spirit. Nothing can take that from you.
Home is not the house you live in, but where you and your family are together.
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