VOICES OF THE STORM: How My Family Has Overcome Losing Our Home to Harvey

Picture of the Ramirez's family at her graduation.

After Harvey hit, we were forced to move houses. The house on Wood Shadows Street had been our home for nearly 13 years until Hurricane Harvey hit. One year later, everything seems normal again. We live in a smaller house, which we refer to as “cozy”, and we appreciate each other so much more.

Miles away from home

One year ago, my sister and I were away at college and were not home during the horrific days that would follow after August 26th. We received distressing calls from our family telling us that the water was in the house and they had to evacuate. My mom and brother found shelter at our neighbor’s house and were soon rescued by the US Coast Guard.

During Thanksgiving break I was able to come home for the first time since Harvey hit. By this time, my family had moved into another house and had begun to settle in. Even though two months had passed, we still had so much to move out and throw away. I was saddened to see our belongings in a trash pile. The house had flooded about three feet and there was no way we could afford the repairs. My sister had already been home several times after Harvey because she was attending the University of North Texas, so she would just take the $20 bus ride home. She had warned me about the damage the hurricane had done but I couldn’t believe it. It was devastating seeing my family and community displaced.

Community to the rescue

Looking back, I find myself in awe. So many people helped my family during this difficult time. We received help from friends, family, the Houston Food Bank, Harvey Moms, and YES Prep.

Through the YES Prep Family Flood Relief Fund, we were able to buy a new couch, pay bills, and buy new things for our new house. As an alumna of YES Prep East End, I also received endless support during my last year at Salem College. My books and tuition were covered, and I was provided with funds to get me through my last year. For my family, this was a huge help. We felt and we still are eternally grateful.

From student to employee

Now, as an employee at the YES Prep Home Office, I see that this organization is dedicated to supporting the students, families, and communities they serve.

YES Prep’s mission is to serve and exactly one year ago they served my family. I am thankful to have attended YES Prep East End, and now I am thankful for the opportunity to work alongside the amazing and dedicated leaders who make it all happen.

YES Prep’s efforts during Harvey will never be forgotten. As an employee working at the Home Office, I can say that there are so many different departments that came together to help YES Prep families, like mine, during Harvey.

Forever grateful 

My family and I will never forget our experience. Nothing will ever go back to the way it was before but we are very hopeful for what the future has in store for us. My sister is now embarking on her second year at San Jacinto Community College and my brother is now a freshman at YES Prep Fifth Ward.

As for me, I plan to continue working with the Communications and Marketing Team at YES Prep and pursue a Master’s degree in Marketing at the University of Houston next year.

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About the author

Samantha Ramirez recently graduated from Salem College and is an alumna of YES Prep East End. Her sister is also an alumna of YES Prep East End and her younger brother attends YES Prep Fifth Ward. Ramirez interned on YES Prep’s Communications and Marketing Team in January 2018 and now works with the team as the Digital Content Coordinator.

In February 2018, Ramirez was a guest blogger sharing about her experience during Harvey. To read the first blog, click here.

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