Letter to those Affected by Hurricane Harvey

A Letter to Those Impacted by Hurricane Harvey
by Beth Filson

The International Association of Peer Supporters stands with the people of Texas and Louisiana as they grapple with the aftermath of hurricane Harvey.

Twelve years ago I was fortunate to be a part of a peer led response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In connecting with people in various peer support programs in Jefferson Parish and beyond, I understood, maybe really for the first time, what peer support is. I learned quickly that in mutual, reciprocal relationships there is no need for one of us to be the “expert”. I learned that we are all impacted, that no one person can carry the totality of others’ despair, that mutuality and reciprocity are how all communities the world over survive, and that every single one of us – whether we know it or not — has something to contribute – and must contribute if we are to thrive. I learned that being of use is a way to purpose and meaning – whether that means clearing a storm drain, or sitting with someone who is terribly lost and afraid. Perhaps most important, most amazing — I learned that we all already know how to live beyond devastation, we’ve been “prepping” for years.

To the Texas and Louisiana peer support communities, friends, family and allies — you have already survived this story that you will one day tell others.
You are strong. You are important. You are not alone.