We have been following and sharing updates about the great effort by Hurricane Harvey Teachers in Need (who have now also created Hurricane Irma Teachers in Need) and the leadership of these inspiring teachers wanting to help others impacted by the recent storms. We decided to reach out to Brianne Walterhouse, who has been at the forefront of this effort with other teachers to share how this came about. We are grateful that in the middle of organizing this initiative, she took the time to write this piece.
Teachers for Teachers
I have had many people over the past couple of weeks ask me why I would take on the task of helping get teachers adopted in Texas when I have so much going on at home. It’s the beginning of a new school year and there has been a TON going on in my personal life. So they always say, “Why would you add this to your plate?” The answer is simple. It’s who I am. It’s second nature. It’s how I was raised. In 1991, I lost my home in the Oakland Hills Firestorm. I remember the days after the fire even now. Going down to our church hall to pick out a new backpack, supplies, and clothing that had been donated. I saw for the first time what it meant to really come together in a time of need. Every year since then, our family has adopted a family for Christmas.
Teaching Kindness and Service
As an adult, and a teacher, I teach my students what kindness and service is about. Whether it’s collecting toys for our local fire department, or doing drives for local fire victims, I want my students to see that they are making a difference.
Teachers Coming Together
When I heard about the devastation that Hurricane Harvey caused to the Houston area, I knew immediately that I needed to do something. I reached out on Instagram and with three other AMAZING teachers, got an adoption list going. Kristi Stanfa from Hooray for Third Grade and Allie McMillen from Third Grade Parade and I worked through Instagram Messenger to come up with a plan. With the help of Kori Markussen from True Tales of a Teacher , we were able to create a Facebook Group that gave both people in need of support and those wanting to support a central place to gather. Even now, we have new members joining and we are still getting classrooms adopted. We have had 289 teachers in need and I know there will be more!
Much Work to Be Done
We aren’t done, either. Hurricane Irma has taken a beating on Florida and the Caribbean. I know we will continue to come together and support classrooms, teachers, and their students through this difficult time! It has been amazing to see what our teacher community has done, and my heart is so full to see us come together to help those in need!