Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tornado: Part Two

Shortly after 5:30 on "that day", my cell phone obtained enough reception to receive a text message from Dawn Brockman, the sponsor of the Student Congress at Norman High School (community immediately to the south of Moore/SW OKC).  She reached out to me due to our connections with Student Council activities in Oklahoma (we've also previously worked together at Moore High School several years ago).  Her message was that her students were already putting in to place an action plan to provide donations to help provide relief for the family of my Southmoore students/families.  Their donation blitz was being RAPIDLY organized for Tuesday, May 21st.

Much of the rapid nature of their activities was due to social networking, especially a twitter account which they had created for a previous charitable outreach program: @tigerpalooza.

In that Moore Public Schools were obviously going to be closed on Tuesday, I made the decision to drive down to Norman High to help Dawn and her students in anyway I could.  You'll notice that I underlined the word "organized" above.  When I walked in to Dawn's classroom at approximately 9:30 Tuesday morning I can't even try to describe how well organized their process was:
  • Gently used clothing was being sorted in multiple phases: 1) into what was legitimately appropriate to donate to families in need, you might call it quality control, 2) into gender appropriate items, 3) into type of clothing like pants, t-shirts, nicer shirts, coats, 4) into sizes.  Then the sort items were placed with like items into boxes and labeled (i.e. "women's medium t-shirts")
  • Diapers, wet wipes, paper towels, toilet paper, and various hygiene products were taken and sort in a classroom next door.
  • Bottles of water and a variety of sports drinks were being staged in a classroom across the hall
Delivery was scheduled for early that afternoon.  Since the current students would not be allowed to drive vehicles or otherwise help deliver to items to relief sites due to legal liabilities, the organizing team had galvanized their alumni base, many of whom live in this University of Oklahoma community, to assist with delivery.  I was blown away by the number of alum volunteers who showed up to help.

In all actuality, this WHOLE organized effort blew me away.  I had gone to help them work, but it was clear any work I would add would just be me getting in their way.  So I stayed back, took pictures, and tried to be an encouragement to them in their efforts to be an encouragement to my students and the community of my school.  Below are some pictures of this efforts:

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