Helping Hands

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, students at Upper Arlington High School take initiative to help those affected.

by Dylan Carlson Sirvent, ’19

One Donation, Three Lives: Luke Landis

As Hurricane Harvey stormed across Southeastern Texas, UAHS junior Luke Landis received an phone call from the Red Cross asking for a blood donation. Landis volunteered and donated a pint of blood, the medical maximum. This, however, is not a one-time thing for Landis — he donates blood to the Red Cross every six weeks.

Landis became involved in donating blood last year after participating in 2017 alum Katie Trace’s Blood Drive, which she did as part of her Senior Capstone Project. “Ever since then, I have just continued to donate blood,” Landis said. “You know, it’s a good feeling… the Red Cross says ‘one pint of blood can save three lives’. So, just by taking 15-20 minutes out of my time you can possibly save three lives.”

Labor Day Weekend Volunteering: Kenan Candas

UAHS junior Kenan Candas didn’t spend his Labor Day weekend like most UAHS students. He wasn’t at any parade or barbecue. He was in Corpus Christi, Texas volunteering along with his father who is a resident of the city to help clean out homes damaged by floodwaters in Port Aransas.

Candas remarked on how different it is to physically be in Harvey-damaged areas versus simply seeing the aftermath on the national news. “You are experiencing, witnessing other people’s’ lives. It’s their house, where they sleep, and wake up every morning. So to see all of that gone is kind of devastating,” Candas said.

For many of the city’s residents it will be a long time before their lives return to normal. Candas saw how the hurricane brought people together. “When I was there people didn’t have time to be sad, or angry, just to recover,” Candas said.  “Everyone’s houses were open. Strangers would come and help. You weren’t on your own.”

Helping the Animals: Student Council & Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program

On Tuesday, Sep. 12, and Thursday, Sep. 14, Student Council members and students from the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program went to 6th period classes to collect donations to raise money to support the organization Houston Pets Alive.

Kim Brown, the Student Council co-advisor, felt motivated to start a project to send relief to Texas after seeing the damage Hurricane Harvey had caused. “I started seeing pictures of abandoned animals, and it reminded me of Hurricane Katrina,” Brown said. “There were so many animals displaced by that tragedy. I wanted to do something.”

Brown contacted Lisette Tedeschi, head teacher of UAHS’ Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program, to make a short list of organizations that were helping rescue displaced animals. After receiving the list, Student Council voted at a meeting to support the nonprofit organization Houston Pets Alive. According to their website, they “save as many animals as [they] have foster homes available. Animals are spayed and neutered, microchipped and vaccinated.”

Junior Marysia York, a student from the Deaf and Hearing Program who collected money along with Student Council members sophomore Olivia Blazek and senior Kasey Dewalt, thinks it is important to send as much support as we can to help those affected by Harvey. “You should tell friends and family also to donate. We are just trying to encourage as many people as possible to donate money and to support these animals who have lost their home,” York said.

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