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Lakeshore In the Community

In Katrina’s Wake
New Orleans, Louisiana / Houston, Texas

Hurricane Katrina wreaked unimaginable devastation on the Gulf Coast—and turned thousands of families into evacuees overnight. As countless individuals and organizations turned out to help with disaster relief, a call from Houston, Texas, gave Lakeshore an amazing opportunity to contribute to the relief effort.

Shortly after the disaster occurred, Lakeshore was contacted by Kay Albrecht, who spearheaded the response by the Houston area Association for the Education of Young Children (AEYC) to Katrina evacuees in the Houston Astrodome and Reliant Center. We were asked to help with the situation at the Astrodome, where there were thousands of displaced children. We immediately rallied and, in a matter of days, delivered enough materials to open a child care/preschool program—including furniture, cots, manipulatives, blocks, activity carpets, arts & crafts supplies, and more.

Lakeshore volunteers helped set up a play space of over 5,000 square feet, with 18 different learning environments! The change in atmosphere was absolutely amazing, with children standing around the barricades begging to come in as the school area was put together. Local AEYC volunteers helped man the learning centers, and teachers were sent over to start pre-kindergarten groups in the new space!

A few days later, the learning centers were moved to other locations as the children and their families were moved into more appropriate temporary housing. The materials we sent continued to serve children while their parents met with FEMA officials, and later they were distributed to undamaged schools in the area that enrolled children displaced by the disaster. Ms. Albrecht wrote to us, “This has been an interesting, frustrating, and challenging situation—yet your beautiful equipment made the experience better for the children.”

Click on the images below to enlarge.

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A young evacuee rolls her new baby doll across the new carpets!
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Houston AEYC volunteers unload the furniture at the Astrodome.
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Engaging the displaced children in activities, volunteers begin providing much-needed structure to the kids’ day.
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Posing outside the children’s area after setup.
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Even the boxes provide hours of entertainment!
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Families rejoice at the materials made available to their children.

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