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Our Heartbeat for Houston

I’ve been doing relief/humanitarian/missions work for twenty years and am often asked, “Why do you spend so much of your time and money overseas when so much help is needed here at home?” I’m always flummoxed by that question because in my mind humanity and compassion knows no borders. People are hurting everywhere. There is need everywhere. It’s a mindset that I make no apologies for. A team of HopeRoad volunteers just returned from Kenya, and the beauty of the Kenyan people – and their deep, deep need – left an indelible imprint on every one of our hearts. We have found that people are vulnerable and in need in Africa, Haiti, and all over the United States.

While in Haiti several years ago, we facilitated a summer day camp for children who were still living in tents as a result of a devastating earthquake. Turns out we were there during monsoon season and the weather did not disappoint. Torrential rains poured down every night. While we were holed up in our comfortable house in the city, we laid awake worrying for the thousands of parents living in the tent cities who were up all night trying to keep their children safe and dry, away from the streams of sewage and debris that were now running though their homes. Right now my thought is that there are thousands of parents in Texas who are worried about the same things. How will they keep their children safe and dry tonight? As a parent, that’s a devastating question which I can’t imagine having to ponder. Right now Houston needs our compassion, humanity, and commitment. And we’ll be there doing what we can to offer it. It’s my hope that our international communities will also set borders aside and join us in helping those in Texas.

My dearest friend lives in Houston and thankfully her family is safe. But while texting her to check on the safety of her family, she told me her 6 year old daughter was scared and wanted her to “feel her heart.” This little girl means the world to me and I can’t wait to get there in October to feel her heart. I want to meet and try to comfort parents who have experienced more than a parent should, and I want to feel their hearts.

Years ago, I started HopeRoad with a desire to bridge a gap between those wanting to volunteer and those who needed it the most. I believe that gap narrows every time someone on either side of the bridge says, “Let me feel your heart.”

I’m grateful for the heart of a six year old girl, and what I wish for all of us is that when we’re in a position to, we wrap our arms around her and say, “Yes. I feel it too.”

Stephanie Flynn

President and Founder at HopeRoad Foundation
Stephanie Flynn

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