What was your first thought when you heard about the devastation in Houston?

The first thing I remember thinking when I heard about the devastation in Houston was, “Are my family and friends OK?” It’s scary to think that so many people in your life are in the middle of one of the biggest disasters in history.

How did growing up in Houston affect your response to Hurricane Harvey?

Growing up in Houston made me feel more connected to the affected community. When it’s a place that you know, and are used to seeing look a certain way, seeing it in complete devastation is difficult. You want to help get it back to what it was as quickly as possible, or even make it better than what it was. 

What recovery initiative are you most proud of?

I’m proud of all the small and large programs that have come together to help the city recover. Specifically, All Hands and Hearts — Smart Response, a U.S.-based non-profit that provides relief to residents in areas affected by natural disasters, stands out for their long-term commitment to help communities get back on track. In addition to the repair work they did on The Rhodes School, they provided support that went well beyond the initial rebuilding process.  

What was the most inspiring part of the relief effort?

The most inspiring part of the relief effort was seeing the entire community, and in this case the entire country, come together to help everyone in need. The recovery process is still in progress, but the support for Houston has made the future of the city bright.