Give a Child a Chance Luncheon

Road to Recovery: One Provider's Story

Caron Solomon still has vivid memories of the dirty, smelly water that saturated the inside of her home child care center during Hurricane Harvey last year. Mud-covered toys and school supplies she had acquired over the years to provide quality early childhood education were strewn all over the center, ruined.

Solomon, owner of A Positive Place Child Care, called the insurance company that same evening to file a claim. She soon learned, to her surprise, that her household furnishings were the only items covered under the policy.

“I just broke down crying,” said Solomon as she recounted on Tuesday how she eventually recovered from the devastation with assistance from Collaborative for Children and its Hurricane Response, Recovery and Resilience program.

As this year’s keynote speaker at Collaborative’s annual Give a Child a Chance luncheon, Solomon thanked the Collaborative for its generosity and support during a time when she needed it most. Her center was one of the more than 400 damaged child care centers in the Greater Houston Area that received help from our response program. Providers, such as Solomon, received nearly $3 million in financial assistance to purchase equipment and materials or recovery reimbursements thanks to funding from Save the Children, the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund and our donors.

“You don’t how much it meant to us, especially the children,” said Solomon, who received funds to buy new classroom and outdoor equipment.

More than 250 guests and donors attended this year’s fourth annual luncheon, benefitting Circle of Friends annual fund. During the event, attendees got a glimpse of what many child care providers experienced during Hurricane Harvey. A video depicted the aftermath, our rapid response, and the resiliency of child care providers. One year later, our response team continues to work with centers still recovering.

Hurricane Harvey shocked the child care system, especially those in Houston’s vulnerable communities. Helping them rebuild aligns with our mission to increase quality early education throughout the Houston region. Many child care centers with our assistance have reopened better equipped to teach our future workers.

In her remarks, Dr. Melanie Johnson, Collaborative’s president and CEO, noted our 30-year history of working to improve the quality of early childhood by training those most influential to our children – parents and teachers. Our staff gives them the tools to create environments for children to become kindergarten-ready and achieve their fullest potential, Johnson said.

“My fellow Tuskegeean, Dr. Booker T. Washington, said ‘I want to see quality education as common as grass and free as the sun and rain.’ Collaborative for Children has already begun that vision,” she said.