Almost 200 Sharpstown High School students took to the streets Thursday to help flood victims clean up their homes, but they never realized how personal the service day would get when they wound up helping one of their own.
Like most of their neighbors, Johanna Adame and her family lost everything inside their home to Harvey.
“We really thought we were going to die,” she said. “The water … kept going up and up and up.”
Her family home was filled with about four feet of water. Now, the floor is ripped up and there’s nearly nothing left inside.
“We lost a lot of pictures,” said Adame. “A lot of memories. The furniture, I don’t care. But it took a lot of money.”
Adame and her mother have been doing all the work by themselves – until Thursday, that is.
She saw posts on social media about her old Sharpstown High School classmates lending a helping hand.
She called her old band director for help, and within minutes, dozens of volunteers were busy at work.
It took serious pressure off Johanna, who has been taking care of her mother and siblings for the last two weeks.
“(My mother) has been very depressed,” she explained. “She’s been crying. She wakes up in the middle of the night crying because she just can’t believe this just happened to us.”
Adame’s mother only speaks Spanish, so at age 19, Johanna is dealing with insurance agents and rebuilding a home.
“It’s a lot of pressure,” she said. “People my age are usually going out with friends. But I’m like the man of the house for my mom, because I’m the one that has to take care of everything.”
That’s why she gets so emotional seeing her friends step up to help. She has one message for the Sharpstown students who helped her clear out the house: “I love you, and thank you.”
Adame doesn’t know what’s next, or even when all the curbside trash in her neighborhood will be picked up. She’s staying optimistic, both to be strong for her family and because of the help of her classmates.