Fifteen months after Hurricane Harvey slammed the Texas coast, many residents there still haven't returned to their flood-ravaged homes. The recovery effort in Houston has relied heavily on volunteers, including a group of high school students from Lewisville ISD, who recently did their part.
The skills being taught in Joe Davis's wood manufacturing technology class are the kind of skills which can last a lifetime.
“I really enjoy engineering, designing things and building things,” said Randy Allen, a Flower Mound High School junior. “It just lets you be more creative than in something like math class."
Allen attends Lewisville ISD’s Dale Jackson Career Center. Recently, he took part in a life-changing road trip.
“We missed a few days of school, but it's worth it,” said Nathan Newbern, another junior who also took the trip. “Helping others.”
Allen, Newbern and their teacher spent several days in Houston as part of “Eight Days of Hope” – a Christian, non-profit organization which organizes volunteers and sends them into areas hit by disaster, to assist in the recovery.
In the Houston area – there is still a great need.
“Oh my goodness,” said Davis. “There's a lot of work to be done down there still."
While there, volunteers helped rebuild homes still devastated by flooding. Allen and Newbern built cabinets and vanities, installed molding, and anything else which was needed. They did most of their work in a home where the 70-year-old owner slept on her sofa for over a year, just to stay away from the mold and devastation.
“I think it's a huge opportunity and honor,” said Allen. “You don't get many chances in life to change somebody else's live for the better."
“It brings so much joy,” added Newbern. “You have no idea how much it makes you feel good about yourself."
Through the eight day volunteer effort, more than 140 homes were repaired. For the local students who pitched in, came another life skill learned: compassion.
“I think it really made an impact on their lives,” said Davis. “You could tell. They grew a lot just in those three days we were there."