Act Now Houston, an initiative started earlier this year, plans to build on a series of successful summer volunteer efforts and encourage additional groups to participate in the future.
The initiative was created as a partnership between national Jewish organizations – including BBYO, Hillel International, JDC Entwine, Moishe House, OneTable, Repair the World and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston.
Facilitated by Repair the World, volunteers and national Jewish organizations were invited to participate and were given logistical and financial support to join the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. One year since the hurricane, volunteers supported by Act Now Houston have made a substantial difference in the lives of the flood victims – and learned important lessons which they have brought back to their own communities.
One participating group was Capital Camps (Waynesboro, PA) where 45 Counselors in Training (CIT’s) voluntered early in the summer. For the CITs, it was their first of a seven week experience with Capital Camps as they train to become counselors.
Many of the houses were in terrible shape when the group arrived, and the CITs sought to make an impact by working tirelessly during their brief time in Houston. “I am very proud of how the teens approached their work, not just the physical labor but the intention and mindset as well,” said Adam Broms, Camp Director with Capital Camps. This type of physical labor might have been unfamiliar for the CITs. Despite that, they worked tirelessly to play their role in what has been a significant effort to rebuild communities in Houston.
During the service trip, the group also volunteered at Houston’s JCC and experienced Houston through the Jewish Community’s lens. One highlight while at the JCC, was a panel discussion featuring five community members who were affected by the flood. CIT Coordinator, Isabella Zissman, shared that “the group’s empathy and understanding of the storm really evolved after hearing different perspectives, especially from the teens who spoke. Many of the discussions during the panel connected directly to the Jewish learning from the Act Now Houston curriculum. We had great conversations about how this work relates to our Jewish values and our Jewish community.”
To sign up a group for Act Now Houston, visit weRepair.org/Act-Now-Houston. There is no cost for group service programs and limited funds are available to defray group travel expenses.