Buzz: As Hurricane Ian threatens Tampa Bay, a Hillsborough teacher's act of kindness

On Monday, schools and government buildings across Tampa Bay closed and evacuation orders were issued as Hurricane Ian moved closer to the Bay Area.

It was time for anxiety and preparation. It was also a time for acts of kindness. One example is Liz Valdez, a second-grade teacher at Hillsborough County's Pizzo K8 School on the University of South Florida's Tampa campus. 

Teachers and staff across Tampa Bay prepared schools for use as emergency shelters during the storm. Valdez went above and beyond for the families that would be staying in her classroom. She cleared a space for the parents, making sure they had access to the room's electrical outlet. She prepared an area where the children could "have some fun and kind of relax a little bit" and play games. She also set up a small snack station. 

On the classroom whiteboard, Valdez left a message: "Welcome guests, I've prepared some goodies and space which hopefully brings comfort in these times. Please be safe and love one another."

In a video interview with Hillsborough County Public Schools communications staff, Valdez explains why she put in the extra effort when she still had to go prepare her own home for the storm.
 
“We’re here for the community," Valdez says in the interview. "We love our community and we want to build that trust with our families and this is the place to start by offering that fellowship."