This 10-Year-Old Found Shelter In Austin. Now She's Helping Other Evacuees

Aug 31, 2017

Some evacuees from Hurricane Harvey are coming up on a week living away from home. That’s a long time to spend on a cot in an unfamiliar city, especially if you’re a kid. So what is there to do?

At the Delco Center shelter in East Austin, one 10-year-old volunteered to help others.

“When we first came, there was nothing. Then they gave us cots and blankets and pillows and toothbrushes and toothpaste,” says Zada Brown from Victoria, “I just wanted to volunteer because they helped me out and I just wanted to help them out.”

On Tuesday, she says she spent time handing out care packages, bringing food to evacuees and helping with cleaning.  

At the center on Wednesday, other children jumped rope, kicked soccer balls or drew pictures with shelter volunteers. Zada’s older brother, Noe Alvarez, sat with their other sibings and grandmother.

Patricia Belcher speaks with her daughter as she lays with her grandchildren, Kamayiah Franklin, Zada Brown and Noe Alvarez at the Delco Center.
Credit Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

“I just… keep to myself,” he said, looking at pictures a friend had posted from flood-devastated Houston.

Noe Alvarez watches videos recorded by friends showing flooding in Houston on his smartphone.
Credit Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

“All the water got into her home, “ he said pointing to one, “this is her neighborhood.”

Zada said she wasn’t didn’t know what her next week after the storm would be like. But she was sure of at least one thing.

“I know that we’re going to be safe.”

Zada Brown and her sister Kamiyiah Franklin.
Credit Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT