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Cristina

cristina and her family

"I feel lost and grateful at the same time."

Sound familiar? So many felt that way after Harvey took such a terrible toll on our city. Grappling with a new normal, and grieving so much loss - and yet grateful. Grateful for unstinting generosity from friends and strangers alike, for the loving arms of family, for a warm and caring community across the city that rallied round to hold people steady and tell them, "We will not let you fall."

apartment before
Cristina's apartment before the storms
Cristina's apartment after the flooding, as the mold takes over
Ruined by mud and water, Cristina's car waits to be towed away

A week after the storms, Cristina found herself sleeping on the floor of a friend's apartment with her husband and son. In the past week, she'd watched the rising floodwaters claim first her car, then her apartment and almost everything in it. She and her family had left their neighborhood on a boat piloted by a big-hearted neighbor.

And now here she was, lying on the floor of her friend's small apartment in the darkness, wondering what would happen next - feeling lost, and grateful, at the same time.

But Cristina had a support system standing ready to help her.

Cristina had you.

“Literacy Advance was the first one to call me, and to help me. I didn’t know where to go to get food for my family, or uniforms for my son. You were there for me. I will never forget that.”

Through the Literacy Advance Transition program, Cristina was quickly linked to practical help. She took home food, clothes, and school supplies, all standing ready for her because of generous private donations to our students in the aftermath of the storm. We referred her to Memorial Assistance Ministries (MAM) for further recovery resources and help finding permanent housing.

And Cristina was one of the first students back in her Saturday English class when Literacy Advance finally re-opened, two weeks after the storms.

"Coming to my class was good for me. It made me feel I was slowly getting back to a normal life, and my mind was occupied with good things in class. What happened to me and my family wasn’t easy."

There's still a long road to recovery for Cristina and her family. We'll have an update on her soon - watch your mailbox! But she's walking down that road to recovery with confidence and greater optimism every day.

And that's because of you. Your kindness and care have made the difference for this family, and others like them - and will continue to do so as the city continues to get back to normal. Thank you.

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The Literacy Advance Transition program has been stretched to capacity in recent weeks - and there's still more to do. As we start to move beyond urgent recovery needs, there'll be more and more requests for help with jobs, and more need for practical, work-related assistance.

Will you stand by these students and families for the long haul as they work to regain their stability?

Your gift today will continue making the difference for Cristina and other students just like her. We cannot do it without you. Thank you for caring!

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