Teen Comforts Houston’s Flood Victims

(Last Updated On: June 26, 2016)

Houston, TEXAS, June 2, 2016 – As Houston’s hardest hit areas continue to recover from the devastating April floods, Jasmine Geyen, fondly known as Jaz, is still providing hope and comfort to young traumatized children in Houston’s Greenspoint flood area. After seeing young children floating on mattresses and in store containers, the teen was moved to action to help restore their sense of security. She began by organizing a teddy bear, diaper, and baby wipes drive with her friends to donate to the youngest victims of the flood. She formed an organization called “Hugs 4 Houston” to provide ongoing comfort to other young people who are experiencing a traumatizing incident.

A 16-year-old junior attending The Awty International School, Geyen is fluent in French and is an equestrian rider who loves music and people. With a heart as big as Texas, the compassionate teen made the selfless decision to organize a teddy bear, pamper and baby wipe drive for young flood survivors who lost everything in the flood, including their sense of security and community connection.

Rep. Senfronia Thompson recognizing Jasmine Geyen, founder of Hugs for Houston.
Rep. Senfronia Thompson recognizing Jasmine Geyen, founder of Hugs for Houston.

When students at Dezavala Elementary School in Channelview Independent School District heard about the teen’s effort, they decided not to have an end-of-the-year party to donate to the cause. Others who have joined Geyen’s ongoing efforts are her parents: Janice M. Beal Ed.D and Dashiel J. Geyen Ed.D, MPH along with State Rep. Senfronia Thompson-District 141, Aldine ISD, her friends and partnering organizations: Grandparents Support Group (GPS) and Tammie Lang Campbell, founder and executive director of the Honey Brown Hope Foundation.

Thompson presented Jasmine with a certificate of recognition for helping to restore a feeling of security among young survivors in the Greenspoint flood district. Jasmine has collected over 300 bears along with other stuffed animals, approximately 55 cases of diapers, 20 cases of baby formula and 200 packages of baby wipes, which were presented to Aldine ISD’s Superintendent, Dr. Bamberg at Spence Elementary. Also, donations were recently distributed at Calvert Elementary to students and parents who were affected by the flood.

“Everyone needs a hug. I am excited to receive this prestigious award from a State Representative of Texas and am equally excited that “Hugs 4 Houston” is helping to restore a sense of security and hope to all of the young students here today who were impacted by this devastating flood,” said Geyen on being recognized by Thompson.

Greenspoint, a low-income area in Thompson’s district comprised of about 112,000 residents, is among the hardest hit communities from the recent floods. The state representative is leading the charge to provide residents with needed resources to get them back on their feet.

“I am so grateful for the outpouring support and prayers the city and community have shown to my constituents during this difficult time. Once more, Houstonians have answered the call of humanity and together we will rise again,” said Thompson.

The teen’s mother, Dr. Janice Beal Geyen – a child psychotherapist, indicated that parents, educators and child care providers need to beware of post-traumatic stress symptoms that may be experienced by children who are exposed to a disaster such as the flood. Some of the symptoms could include, but may not be limited to:

Increased feelings of insecurity: unfairness, anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, despair, worrying about the future, dreading a flood reoccurring, reactions of distress and anxiety when reminded of the flood
Disruptive behaviors: irritability, temper tantrums, agitation, or hyperactivity, clinging-dependent behaviors stemming from separation anxiety, reclusiveness
Irrational fears (phobias): disturbances in sleep or appetite
Somatic symptoms: stomachaches or headaches
Increased concerns: safety of family members, friends and loved ones
School-based problems: decreased motivation and a decline in school performance.

“My husband and I are extremely pleased with our daughter and her friends for not only being sensitive to others during times of trauma, but also for helping them to regain resilience and resources after this heartbreaking flood,” Dr. Beal said. “One of the best ways to help young people to cope is providing them with a sense of security such as a teddy bear to help them deal with the displacement of losing everything that is familiar to them.”

For additional event details, contact Dr. Beal at (713) 337-2457.

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From left, Spence Elementary Asst. Principal Ms. Charles, Jasmine Geyen, founder of Hugs for Houston and junior at Awty International School, Dr. Janice Beal, Jasmine’s mother, Texas State Rep. Senfronia Thompson, District 141, and Honey Brown Hope Foundation Founder Tammie Lang Campbell, a contributing partner for initiative.

Teen offers comfort to Houston flood victims