Spring teen keeps hundreds of girls from blank out on homecoming traditions

  • Janiyah Tells, 16, second from left, watches as Tammy Reel, center, and Laura Clements, left, assistance her with her dress and shoes, as her mom Rosenda Cuevas, right, and her crony Shyra Moody, second from right, demeanour on, during Reel's house, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Spring. She didn't wish to tell me she wanted to go to homecoming, Cuevas said. She didn't wish to be a burden. Reel's daughter Ashley collected roughly 2,000 homecoming dresses to discharge to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Photo: Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle / © 2017 Houston Chronicle

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Janiyah Tells, 16, second from left, watches as Tammy Reel, center, and Laura Clements, left, assistance her with her dress and shoes, as her mom Rosenda Cuevas, right, and her crony Shyra Moody, second from right, demeanour on, during Reel’s house, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Spring. “She didn’t wish to tell me she wanted to go to homecoming,” Cuevas said. “She didn’t wish to be a burden.” Reel’s daughter Ashley collected roughly 2,000 homecoming dresses to discharge to victims of Hurricane Harvey. less
Janiyah Tells, 16, second from left, watches as Tammy Reel, center, and Laura Clements, left, assistance her with her dress and shoes, as her mom Rosenda Cuevas, right, and her crony Shyra Moody, second from … more

Photo: Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle

Janiyah Tells, 16, second from left, watches as Tammy Reel, center, and Laura Clements, left, assistance her with her dress and shoes, as her mom Rosenda Cuevas, right, and her crony Ronisha Banks, second from right, demeanour on, during Reel’s house, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Spring. “She didn’t wish to tell me she wanted to go to homecoming,” Cuevas said. “She didn’t wish to be a burden.” Reel’s daughter Ashley collected roughly 2,000 homecoming dresses to discharge to victims of Hurricane Harvey. less
Janiyah Tells, 16, second from left, watches as Tammy Reel, center, and Laura Clements, left, assistance her with her dress and shoes, as her mom Rosenda Cuevas, right, and her crony Ronisha Banks, second from … more

Photo: Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle

Ashley Reel, 14, center, explains a homecoming silent to Ronisha Banks, right, Rosenda Cuevas, left, and her daughter Janiyah Tells, 16, second from left, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Spring. Banks, Cuevas and Tells are from Indiana and had not seen mums before. “But what do they do with them?” Cuevas asked. less
Ashley Reel, 14, center, explains a homecoming silent to Ronisha Banks, right, Rosenda Cuevas, left, and her daughter Janiyah Tells, 16, second from left, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Spring. Banks, Cuevas and Tells … more

Photo: Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle

Janiyah Tells, 16, from left, Ashley Reel, 14, her mom Tammy Reel, Ronisha Banks, face not shown, and Tells’ mom Rosenda Cuevas, conflict after Ashley Reel asked Tells, “Do we contend approbation to a dress,” Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Spring. Ashley Reel collected roughly 2,000 homecoming dresses to discharge to victims of Hurricane Harvey. less
Janiyah Tells, 16, from left, Ashley Reel, 14, her mom Tammy Reel, Ronisha Banks, face not shown, and Tells’ mom Rosenda Cuevas, conflict after Ashley Reel asked Tells, “Do we contend approbation to a dress,” Sunday, … more

Photo: Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle

Rosenda Cuevas, from right, reacts as her daughter Janiyah Tells, 16, tries on a homecoming dress during a home of Tammy Reels, second from left, and her daughter Ashley Reels, left, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Spring. Ashley Reels collected roughly 2,000 homecoming dresses to discharge to victims of Hurricane Harvey. “She didn’t wish to tell me she wanted to go to homecoming,” Cuevas said. “She didn’t wish to be a burden.” less
Rosenda Cuevas, from right, reacts as her daughter Janiyah Tells, 16, tries on a homecoming dress during a home of Tammy Reels, second from left, and her daughter Ashley Reels, left, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in … more

Photo: Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle

Janiyah Tells, 16, second from left, a tyro during Davis High School, reacts as she gets feedback from a organisation of people, while perplexing on homecoming dresses during a home of Tammy Reel, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Spring. Reel’s daughter Ashley collected roughly 2,000 homecoming dresses to discharge to victims of Hurricane Harvey. less


Photo: Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle

Ashley Reel, 14, right, and her mom Tammy Reel, left, review a note that came with a box of donated dresses, as she sits among a roughly 2,000 homecoming dresses she has collected for high propagandize students who were victims of Hurricane Harvey, during her house, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Spring. “Hope it will pierce complacency to those in need,” a note read. Reel posted on Facebook that she is collecting and distributing a homecoming dresses to anyone who wants one. less


Photo: Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle

Ashley Reel, 14, reads a note that came with a box of donated dresses, as she sits among a roughly 2,000 homecoming dresses she has collected for high propagandize students who were victims of Hurricane Harvey, during her house, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Spring. Reel posted on Facebook that she is collecting and distributing a homecoming dresses to anyone who wants one. “My idea was 50 dresses,” she said. “I’m approach past my goal.” less


Photo: Jon Shapley, Houston Chronicle


It was a formidable thing for a teen to confess.

Admitting we wish something that your mom can’t afford. Admitting that homecoming still mattered after your family has mislaid all to Hurricane Harvey. Admitting that we still wanted to be a child when we were perplexing to be clever for your family.

So Janiyah Tells kept quiet. The 16-year-old didn’t contend anything to her mother, who was already fretting about anticipating a new place to live, already frazzled from shuttling 6 children separate between opposite proxy homes.


Still, her mom knew.

Rosenda Cuevas, whose possess mom died when she was 17, always regretted not participating in high propagandize dances and other teenage traditions. She didn’t wish her daughter, a youth during Davis High School, to skip out.

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But income is tight. The family’s Greenspoint unit was gutted by inundate waters, their effects destroyed.

Then Cuevas listened about Ashley Reel — an Oak Ridge High School beginner who had started a debate to collect homecoming dresses for girls impacted by Harvey. The dresses looked flattering online. Full of shine and sequins and sparkle.

Just like she illusory for Janiyah.

So Cuevas emailed Reel, not utterly meaningful what to expect.


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To review this essay in one of Houston’s most-spoken languages, click on a symbol below.

*********

Ashley knows her family is luckier than many.

During Harvey, rising H2O swarmed by a circuitously inlet center, knocking down fences and withdrawal buildings in shambles. About 50 homes in a abundant resolution in Spring were flooded.

But H2O never reached a Reels’ front door, that is ornate by a brightly colored “Welcome” wreath.

After a storm, Ashley and her family prepared sandwiches and dishes for a replaced and a volunteers mucking out houses and ripping out drywall.

Not startling for a family with a record of village service. Ashley’s 10-year-old hermit combined a non-profit that distributes food to a homeless and has adopted 100 families to feed for Thanksgiving. Her comparison hermit is an Eagle Scout who palm done 300 blankets for a Star of Hope shelter.

As a inundate waters receded and a range of Harvey’s drop was revealed, Ashley kept meditative of kids her possess age — classmates who mislaid homes to Harvey, a students during Kingwood High School whose building was ravaged, a teenagers all around Houston whose lives have been disrupted by disaster.

She wanted to give them something special, to revive a tiny patch of normalcy in a universe unexpected incited upside down.

Her mind incited to homecoming, an autumn sermon in high propagandize — and a final thing on a minds of relatives struggling to repair houses, acid for places to live, worrying about money.

Ashley put out a call on Facebook and on a internal Nextdoor forum, seeking for donations of homecoming dresses.

Her strange idea was to collect 50.

She met that on a initial day.

By Sunday, she had some-more than 2,000 — collected from all over Houston, some-more than twelve other states and Germany.

They took over her family’s vital room. Dresses in any shade of a rainbow — pinkish and purple, cobalt blue and copper brown, lilac and lemon. Slinky and poofy, brief and gown-length, sizes 0 to 26. Draped on hangers, piled on a kitchen table, lined on racks that made a intricacy of ideal and taffeta. Some with engineer labels and cost tags still attached.

Many of a donations came with records that done both Ashley and her mother, Tammy Reel, cry.

“This is a smashing tour we have started,” review one in a package shipped from New York. “I wish God’s speed in a liberation from all a drop Houston has suffered.”

Ashley’s strange goal of providing dresses for girls in Humble ISD fast stretched to embody any lady in need of a gown, either since of Harvey, financial hardship or family distress.

Yet, something — a tradition as dedicated in Texas high schools as football — was still missing.

*******

Inside a bishopric gymnasium of Holy Comforter Episcopal Church on Saturday, a pop-up public line was in full prolongation mode.

Ashley stood during a conduct of one table, snipping 1-foot lengths of white badge from spools threaded by a brush handle. At another station, 14-year-old Shyanne Prothro and her aunt made loops and points from 4-inch pieces, while Oak Ridge comparison Deanna Blunt twisted prolonged bullion strips with a zip of a scissor.

In a corner, late florist Lynette Christenson expertly wielded a pinkish glue gun, attaching a pieces and pieces to a china disc.

“Here’s a initial finished one,” Christenson said, holding adult her creation.

A white silk flower centered on an detailed round and ornate by streamers in white and blue. A golden trinket, with a observant “The Tassel is Worth a Hassle,” dangled from a core.

This was a blank partial of Ashley’s dress drive: a homecoming mum.

The tradition, that began in a post-war epoch as corsages given by boys to their homecoming date, has grown into impracticable displays of flowers, cowbells, pressed animals, flashing lights and jingling attracts that students wear to propagandize a day of a homecoming football game.

It is a loving partial of homecoming week for Texas high propagandize students — and an increasingly costly one. Some elaborate mums can cost $500 or more.

Ashley disturbed that teenagers harm by Harvey would not be means to means such an responsibility this year.

So she and her mom collected volunteers to make 1,127 mums for seniors during Kingwood High School and Summer Creek High School, that have been forced to share a building this year. They are also creation some-more for Oak Ridge students flooded out of homes.

“These forms of things, these long-standing traditions, are so important,” remarkable Tammy Reel. “Whether it’s pity a drink for adults or a stupid dance for kids, they are an denote that life will lapse to normal.”

********

It hadn’t taken prolonged for Ashley to respond to Cuevas’ email.

By Sunday, Janiyah and her mom, accompanied by dual family friends, were during a Reels’ home and Janiyah was ensconced in a initial building bathroom, perplexing on dresses.

A ideal purple series was fast rejected. As was a white form-fitting style.

No to a cream-colored dress with a prolonged train. No to a one in burgundy.

A wrinkled nose to this one. A discerning conduct shake to another.

“Do we wish to try this one?” asked Laura Clemens, a neighbor who volunteered to assistance arrange dresses. “That one is really cute.”

Outside a bathroom, a fabricated cluster of women hold their breath, watchful for Janiyah to emerge with a smile. Waiting for that impulse when a dress is only right and a carol of “oohs’ cascade around a room.

Every few minutes, a doorway would open and Janiyah would demeanour out, palm extended to sell one dress for another.

Cuevas, who has taken time off from work to reconstitute her life after Harvey, shifted from side to side, fervent to locate steer of her daughter.

Finally, Clemens seemed with a bullion sleeveless dress with a beaded bodice and a stormy skirt.

“Ooh, pretty,” Ashley cooed, as she examined a offering.

The dress was slipped into a bathroom.

One notation passed. Then another.

Janiyah emerged, a bashful grin on her face.

The fit was perfect. The golden fabric shimmered opposite her copper skin.

“I like that one! we like that one!” her mom shouted. “I’m about to cry.”

A carol of “oohs” cascaded around a room.

Janiyah complicated herself in a full-length counterpart and pronounced softly: “I like this one.”

“You demeanour like a small princess,” Cuevas said. “I’m perplexing not to cry my lashes out.”

A span of strappy bullion sandals and a relating bracelet finished a look.

“She was frightened to come,” Cuevas told Ashley, who can’t go to her possess homecoming since of a tone ensure competition. “You are doing a smashing thing for people.”

As they headed out a door, dress in hand, Cuevas speckled something unresolved in a kitchen.

What is that? asked a Indiana native, who changed to Texas 3 years ago.

“It’s a homecoming mum,” replied Tammy Reel, as Cuevas complicated a 4-foot-long red, white and blue floral pattern accented with a blue feathered boa. “We can make one for you.”

Cuevas wondered: “What do they do with it?”

“This is a Texas thing,” explained one of Cuevas’ friends.

Ashley and Janiyah only grinned during any other.

Harvey had taken divided so much, though some things are stronger than a storm.

For some-more information about a homecoming dresses, contact: hurricaneharveydressdrive@gmail.com and a Facebook page: Hurricane Harvey Homecoming Dress Drive.

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