Samantha Ramirez is an alumna of YES Prep East End and a senior at Salem College, majoring in Religion with a minor in Communications and Media Studies. Her younger brother attends YES Prep Fifth Ward, and her sister, an alumna of YES Prep East End, attends the University of North Texas. Ramirez works as an intern on YES Prep’s Communications & Marketing team. In this guest blog, she shares her family’s experience with Harvey and the YES Prep Family Relief Fund.
2017 was a rough year for my family. In March, we lost my grandfather and in August, we lost our home. Hurricane Harvey took and took and took from my family– so many belongings and memories lost in the water. My sister and I were away at college when the storm struck, so my mom and brother took the hardest hits. Still, it was devastating to be 1,000 miles away from home, receiving desperate phone calls from family, unable to do anything.
When water entered our house, my mom and brother went to stay with a neighbors’ family in their two-story home. That night, my mom had to leave my neighbors’ house and swim to our house to check on our three dogs, who were left on a high mattresses. The next day, when the Coast Guard came to rescue them, my mom could only take my two chihuahuas with her, leaving my 100-pound dog to be rescued a few days later.
After Harvey, there was so much lost and so much to clean. My mom says that the water inside the house was never-ending. Thankfully, family and friends were able to help my mom with the process. Now that we live in another house and five months have passed, we are incredibly grateful for all the help and donations given to our family. My sister and I received anonymous donations from students at our schools– Salem College and University of North Texas. YES Prep, through the YES Prep Family Flood Relief Fund, provided my family with furniture and other necessities like linens and toiletries. No other school district would have done this for my family.
When I was a student at YES, teachers always talked about how it was a family-oriented school. I didn’t realize it immediately, but teachers and administrators truly do care—not just about your education, but also about you and your family. For seven years, YES Prep provided me with an education, life- long friends, a safe environment and now four years later, with donations for a new house. For the past month, I’ve interned at the Home Office with the Communications and Marketing team, and I have been able to see how invested everyone in the home office is in making sure all students and families are cared for. It’s truly an amazing experience to be part of the YES Prep family and to know that even after you graduate, the organization still supports you and your family.