In the wake of disaster, recovery must take many forms. There’s the physical recovery we can see in pictures and on the evening news – the clearing away of debris, the setting of broken bones, the rebuilding of homes and businesses. But the invisible recovery of mental and emotional healing is every bit as vital, even if it’s slower to come and harder to see.
On Sunday, I had the tremendous honor of volunteering alongside Team Rubicon in Houston, Texas. The organization’s model allows veterans to leverage their unique skills and experiences to support relief efforts and, in the process, regain their sense of purpose, community, and identity as they navigate the often difficult transition to civilian life. I’ve experienced the power of being kind as a tool for healing in my own life, and I was so thankful to be able to join these brave men and women for a few hours.
Along with my mom and several members of my team, we spent Sunday afternoon tearing out badly damaged flooring and ripping down rotting sheet rock in the home of an incredibly strong and brave woman named Pamela.
Pamela has been coping not only with the physical challenges of living alone in a house badly damaged by Hurricane Harvey but with the stress and emotional strain of that situation – of seeing every day the destruction of the place that should be her refuge and of the worry that comes from not knowing when or how the damage will be repaired.
There are millions of Pamelas who still need our support.
While our national attention may have begun to drift, many of those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria have not been able to move on so easily or so quickly. Such destruction doesn’t care about our ideological differences and tragedy spares no one. So our response must be just as fierce, sustained, and all encompassing. We must help survivors not only rebuild their homes and communities but cope with the psychological trauma of these devastating events.
That’s why I have donated $1 million to support the mental and emotional recovery of survivors of these storms as well as the two earthquakes in Mexico. I donated the funds to Save the Children, Volunteer Florida, Rebuild TX and the Greater Houston Community Foundation and Team Rubicon – and I hope you’ll join me in supporting these phenomenal organizations. Click on the links below to get started.
- Save the Children’s incredible Journey of Hope program helps children build resiliency skills and overcome the ordeal they have endured.
- One America Appeal worked with us to create a fund to help grassroots organizations in Texas and Florida provide mental health care to survivors at three organizations; Volunteer Florida, Rebuild TX and Greater Houston Community Foundation.
- Team Rubicon brings together military veterans with first responders, deploying emergency response teams to disaster areas.
Trauma and pain may be great equalizers, but so is kindness. We can all do something, whether it’s donating money, donating supplies, or donating our time. I hope every single person who can (and you can all do more than you think!) will join me in helping these beautiful, vibrant communities recover and rebuild.
– Lady Gaga