By Rebecca Harms, Disaster Recovery and Research AmeriCorps VISTA
High School freshmen, Tracy Wei, Kaylee Yu, and Raina Parikh are the creators of the SAY (Stories About You) Houston app that was recently published in the IOS Apple Store. The app gives children a chance to share their experience from Hurricane Harvey in a safe and anonymous environment. Children can also read other stories that are shared, take a survey of how Harvey impacted them, and find ways to donate to support the continuous recovery efforts. The app will be used by CHILDREN AT RISK to collect data and analyze the impact Harvey had on children across Houston.
While brainstorming ideas for an app, the students were first looking at global issues, such as poverty. After experiencing Hurricane Harvey and its impact on their community, they soon realized they could create an app to help people affected by the storm. Being kids themselves, they wanted to create something that would help other children so they created an app to bring children together and give a voice to all children that went through Harvey. They hope the app will help children recover and bring awareness to how children were recovering from the storm.
When beginning to create the app, the students had no prior experience in coding. They worked with their teachers, Coach Mac and Mrs. Gray, to learn the basics of coding. They watched countless hours of videos and read articles which helped them learn how to code their app.
They hope their app can help children all over Houston and allow them to overcome any challenges they are facing because of Hurricane Harvey. In addition to helping children emotionally, they encourage app users to donate to organizations in different sectors of the community that are still working on Hurricane Harvey recovery as well as those preparing for the next storm. Although the app is limited to Hurricane Harvey right now, they hope that it can also inspire people outside of Houston that may have been impacted by other natural disasters. The students are currently working on a new app focusing on speech therapy for young children.
The SAY Houston app is now available in the IOS Apple Store and the Google Play Store.
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