Rebuilding Communities: Always Look for the Helpers

“Always look for the helpers.”

That was the advice a young Fred Rogers received from his mother whenever he would see scary images of disasters on the news when he was a child. It was a message he kept close as he grew up to become the venerable children’s entertainer Mr. Rogers, and an idea he shared broadly throughout his career.

And despite the number of natural disasters and tragedies in recent years across the United States, among the images, time and time again we still see helpers. Beyond state disaster relief teams, these helpers are friends and neighbors who band together to support the people of their community and bring hope to dark moments. And from what I have seen, there are always images of hope.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and the resulting floods in the Houston, Texas area in 2017, there were no shortage of inspiring stories, including reports of people rescuing trapped neighbors on boats and jet skis, school bus drivers organizing evacuations, and local businesses opening their stores to help displaced people.

In times of crisis, it’s up to all of us to band together and rebuild communities. At Samsung, we believe in helping the people who live in the communities where we reside and work, across this entire country, no matter the disaster or challenge.

All too often, the long term impact of these kinds of disasters goes well beyond the need to rebuild structural damage and centres more around the emotional scars that linger in younger generations. That’s why organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs of America are so important to the rebuilding efforts. These centres are sanctuaries for young people, where they can find some respite from the destruction left behind, and calm among chaos as they rebuild in their communities.

Long-term recovery plans in these kinds of situations, where communities need to be re-established, depend on restoring some semblance of normalcy to those affected. So when three Boys & Girls Clubs of America centers were severely damaged in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the local communities of Houston quickly rallied to help fix the damage. As a proud partner, Samsung Electronics America was one of many organizations that also pitched in to help restore the clubs to their former glory. Working closely with Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, we helped to identify the clubs that sustained the most damage, and set about to support the people on the ground who were actively trying to get these important community institutions open again.

Two of these Clubs received full makeovers, while all three received donations of Samsung technology to create Tech Centers, with each one designed to be modern and functional spaces for club members to inspire students to learn, grow, and pursue careers in STEM-related fields.

Our hope is that by partnering with the Boys & Girls Clubs, Samsung can help create true community impact, give kids a safe place to go, learn to code and do their homework while also connect with other kids their own age.

When disasters like this strike, we know people want to help, even donate where they can, but we also know as a partner, the team at Samsung has the privilege of being able to go beyond what individuals can do. We work hard to identify the needs of the communities as well as where our investment of time and technology can make the biggest difference. We see these efforts as simply lending a hand because we’re in a position to do so. We hope these rebuilds and remodels, serve as a point of inspiration and continue to highlight the wise words of Mr. Rogers’ mother – always look for the helpers – they’re always there.

About the contributor

Ann Woo is the senior director of corporate citizenship at Samsung Electronics North America.


Download Assets: