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Harvey should prompt Hyde Center consideration

Nick Fahy '18, Managing Editor

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It took less than a week of rain to wipe out 100,000 homes. Less than a week of rain to move the 30,000 people who lived in those homes into shelters. Less than a week to turn the cities of Houston, Beaumont, and Corpus Christi into nightmare-scenario extensions of the Gulf of Mexico. To spill over Houston’s Addicks Dam for the first time in its seventy-nine-year history.

It took less than a week of Hurricane Harvey to claim forty-seven lives – a heartbreaking total which seems to rise with every “refresh” of the New York Times storm coverage.

The past weeks have seen an outpouring of support for those afflicted by the tragedy. Already, as of Aug. 31, according to estimates offered by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, corporations have donated $113 million to relief efforts, with Verizon leading the way at $10 million.

Houston football star J.J. Watt raised more than $17 million for the victims of the hurricane, while the President has pledged $1 million of his own money to go towards disaster relief.

Closer to home, Mayor Martin J. Walsh has announced a city-sponsored “Boston for Houston” drive, collecting food, clothing, toiletries, and other items to send to those impacted by Harvey. BC High will dedicate two Mite Boxes to Harvey relief efforts.

And yet, the disaster remains. 30,000 Americans, and perhaps more before the storm has run its course, will wake up in a shelter tomorrow in need of food, water, and basic necessities, not to mention the 47 families who will have to bury a loved one.

What if there was a more direct way for BC High students to help?

The Hyde Center for Global Education sponsors fifteen international immersion programs for BC High students, and several other domestic immersion programs.

Each of these programs is planned months in advance, often in conjunction with local schools and nonprofit organizations, such as the Romero Center in Camden, NJ.

Perhaps, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, it is worth asking whether the Hyde Center should orient at least one service program towards rapid response, with a relatively improvised trip plan that takes input from participating students and faculty.

This would allow BC High students to serve people who need it most in the time of their greatest need. The Hyde Center could coordinate with non-profits like the American Red Cross to support their work wherever they are directing their resources.

Might it also be possible for older participants on this “rapid response” trip to receive basic medical training from BC High science teachers, enough for the students to help in the most basic supporting roles in triage centers or hospitals in afflicted areas?

Perhaps rapid-response oriented trips are an opportunity for the Hyde Center to go a step further in living out BC High’s “Man for Others” doctrine.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, there are a lot of “others” in Texas and Louisiana who could use the ministry of presence and service of BC High students.

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Harvey should prompt Hyde Center consideration