Being civically engaged means much more than serving in elected office. At IGNITE, it means rolling up your sleeves to tackle pressing community issues.
For Veterans Day 2017, IGNITE college students and staff volunteered in Houston to help families rebuild after Hurricane Harvey. IGNITE teamed up with Good Samaritan, an organization at the heart of disaster relief. Good Samaritan provided the tools, guidance, and coordination. We just had to bring gloves, goggles, masks, lunch and plenty of elbow grease.
Angelica Ramirez, IGNITE College Chapter President at the University of Houston, was personally impacted by Hurricane Harvey. She was volunteering to help her neighbors:
“I am grateful to be part of an organization that cares so deeply about my city. After this tragedy, I was left feeling defeated. IGNITE women lifted me up.” - Angelica
The team’s first project of the day was helping a couple gut their home. They needed us to remove sheetrock and tear out portions of a leaky ceiling damaged by severe winds and heavy rains. Wearing masks and gloves, IGNITE volunteers treated the home for mold as well. With most of their belongings destroyed, they are hopeful their family home for over 40 years can be preserved.
The next stop was to the home of a woman and her son. While she has received some assistance, they both remain displaced. Since Harvey, they have lived in a shelter, motel and, currently, at a friend’s house. The devastation and loss have been unimaginable. IGNITE volunteers gave it their all but only scratched the surface of what still needs to be done to recover this home. The house will need several more teams to help before contractors can come and rebuild.
Shaken by the extent of the devastation, IGNITE women traveled from as far as Dallas Fort Worth to volunteer. Many families remain homeless. Homes are not ready to move back in. Harvey recovery is far from over, and there are a lot of families and individuals that need help with water, supplies, and rebuilding their homes from the foundation up.
Volunteer engagement like this can be a tipping point for young women as they realize they are changemakers.
“IGNITE women are powerful. We are your future leaders. IGNITE gave me the confidence to do my part to help rebuild Houston.” - Angelica