Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Will You Step Up?

Remember that the happiest people are’t those getting more, but those giving more” - H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

A major Category 4 Hurricane hit the Corpus Christie area in South Texas last Friday leaving a path of destruction.  The worst rain event in United States history is currently impacting Southeast Texas and now other parts of the state as well as Louisiana.  Flood waters continue to rise in many parts of Houston. There is no way at this point that anyone can begin to estimate what the eventual damage will be financially. Water isn’t the only thing rising. I have watched on the news and seen firsthand while delivering supplies and donations the power of the human spirit.  People are rising up to face this monumental challenge.  Not just Texas, but people from all over the country are stepping up to help those in need. Regardless of race, religion, politics, ethnicity, and sexual orientation Houston is showcasing the best in humanity.  We are seeing the same further south around Corpus Christie. 

People still need you help. Fellow Texan Kasey Bell penned an informative post the other day detailing how you can help ALL areas of Texas that have been impacted by Harvey.  Please click HERE and see all the options that are available.  Houston Texans star J.J. Watt has done an incredible job raising millions of dollars (donate HERE). Houston ISD in particular needs help for their students.  Check out this amazing letter from Los Angeles Unified School District, which outlines what HISD needs.  You can also donate directly to the HISD Foundation. You can also find a list of schools all over the Houston area who need help HERE. If there are links to what schools need down in the Corpus Christie/Port Aransas area please post below in the comments.

"The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others." -  Albert Schweitzer

I am currently working on a longer post that outlines what I experienced during Hurricane Harvey these past couple of days.  For days my family and I were trapped in our home surrounded by flood waters.  No water got in our home. We were lucky.  Once the storm began the true power of social media took hold. Friends, family, colleagues, and connected educators used the medium to reach out.  Even people that I didn’t think I had the strongest relationships with put any differences they might have had aside and demonstrated empathy and compassion.  With each message I teared up. Small gestures of kindness mattered to me and they matter to others. I have no problem stating that I really needed it because I did. Each message made a positive difference.

While being trapped in my home I was able to spend a great deal of precious time with my family.  At other times I took to social media and utilized my large networks to build greater awareness of the catastrophe taking place right before my eyes.  This is where a person's lens can change.  I have learned that Tweetdeck, my Twitter tool of choice, is both a blessing and a curse.  On one hand, it was great to see so many people across my network offer words of support, prayer, and compassion.  These messages were not just directed to me, but to others.  That is how social media should work.  

On the other hand, I saw silence. The power of social media is squandered if it is not used to build awareness and people up during challenging times. Influence in a box doesn’t matter much to those outside of it.  Now is the time to actually back up all the talk about relationships, empathy, and leadership on social media. Not everyone can donate money or be on hand to volunteer.  We will continue to work down here to address the physical needs of displaced families.  However, anyone can send messages of encouragement, hope, and support. I implore you to use your networks, influence, and social media channels to build more awareness as to the situation down here.  It only becomes real for some people if those with large followings start discussing it. It also provides an opportunity to deliver much needed emotional support and compassion to people that really need it right now.

Houston and Southeast Texas are watching. Corpus Christie and South Texas are watching. The world is watching. We all have not just an opportunity, but a responsibility to use this amazing tool that many of us talk about professionally to do some real good.  Sharing this post is a start. Reaching out to educators and schools to see what help they need or offering kind words is another option. Will you step up? 


  1. I was wondering what powerful content would come from my friend and Co-author out of this terrible tragedy. I knew it would have a heart and call to action. We can respond in many levels, sharing with out networks in realtime and online, contributing in any way to resourcing this damaged community, praying and sending connecting inspiration. Thank you Eric. Those who respect and love you won't let you down ... the community of education is behind this.

  2. Eric, we hear you. We will not let you down or the state of Texas! Staten Island schools and our communities are already collecting donations to send your way. I've connected with Melissa in the past days and I will continue to be in touch so that we can help. I know how tough its been for all of you. I was thinking this morning how your very young children, Bella and Nick, have been through Hurricane Sandy on Staten Island and now this - two catastrophic events. You were #StatenIslandStrong and now you are #Texasstrong. We support you.