Hurricane Harvey began on August 25th, and lasted through September 3rd devastating many Texas homes and people in need of help. Twenty-one Delphian students responded flying to Texas on September 8th to help for a week in any way they could.
Senior Delphian student Ashtyn Almstead led the charge in organizing and preparing the group for the trip. Here is what she had to say upon her return:
"It's really hard for me to put in words how much this trip has impacted and changed me. All of the challenges I faced, jobs I did and things I saw on this trip made me realize the power of help and how important and beautiful it is.
"I grew up in Florida, where we have hurricanes quite often. I had been in them as a little girl so I knew how scary they can be. When I saw the destruction of Hurricane Harvey, I immediately wanted to help. I called a volunteer group and told them I wanted to help and bring as many volunteers as I could with me. They were thrilled.
"Within three days we were off to Texas. I made announcements to all of the students students, staff and faculty, explaining the devastation and asking for volunteers and supplies. I asked individual students if they wanted to come help, and handled all the logistics to make it possible for them to come. Everything had to be planned in three days. I was the only adult on the trip, legal guardian for the entire Delphian team of twenty students. We left on Friday, September 8.
"In Texas we were briefed on what we had to do and the dangers we could be facing. On our first day in Rockport Texas, which had been hit hard, we noticed we were assigned all of the easy jobs. I met with all of the students and together we formulated a plan to prove that we could do the tougher tasks. After doing our first job, the leaders were completely blown away when they saw what hard workers we were. Prior to us arriving, the group did two or three houses a day, once we arrived we were doing six.
"We did many projects. Some of which involved cleaning up a church that had been gutted, cutting up trees, removing debris, and organizing supplies distribution for things as basic as diapers and toothbrushes. Our main job was to handle the properties of first responders who weren't able to spend the time to handle their own houses. However, we helped anyone that needed it.
"The first house we did on day one was the home of a local sheriff. Seeing his tears and how thankful he was for the help, I realized the importance of what we were doing. Reactions like his were consistent throughout the trip. Every time we arrived to a location to help, the people we were helping were usually in distress. Once we were done helping them they completely changed and were happy. They usually cried tears of joy and couldn't find the words to thank us. To be able to be a part of that change is the most rewarding feeling I have ever felt.
"There was one point during the trip that I took a step back and looked at all of the students working. They were all in harmony. They were working together, helping each other, laughing and having a lot of fun. The morale of this group was out of this world and the products they created will never be forgotten by the people we helped. One lady we helped called us the angels of Rockport. We decided that this would be our street name.
"Doing this project greatly changed my personal reality. It was the largest thing I've ever had to take responsibility for, and I'm sure my life will never be the same."