Brandon McElveen's Ford F150 pickup is lifted up about six inches. He says that's just the style in the South, but this week, "it's come in handy" for driving through up to four feet of water.

McElveen's a counselor at the KIPP Explore Academy elementary school in Houston. Within hours of the flooding this week, he began getting calls and messages asking for help. One was from a family with two girls on the middle school softball team he also coaches.

With his truck and a borrowed kayak, he estimates he's helped more than 20 people to safety. When NPR reached him by telephone, he was making grocery runs for others stranded by the water, including a colleague, a second-grade teacher. "It's just really surreal," he says of the destruction of his city.

"You don't want to sit in your house and watch TV while so many people around you have things that they need."

McElveen's rescue missions are just one way that educators around the region are trying to help.

Students also drew pictures and wrote stories about their experiences. "We made sure we provided the opportunity for kids to be creative in the expression of their trauma," says Harp. "Some are able to talk about things and some are not."

Now, students across a vast area face the same task of rebuilding and recovery, measured in months and even years, not days. McElveen, as a school counselor, will be there for his students' mental health needs. "I know they're going to need support emotionally," as well as practically, he says. "Everything we can think of, we're going to try to coordinate a way to do it."

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