Proyecto Matria, Miraflores

Since 2000, the nonprofit organization Nuestra Escuela has tackled the issue of school dropouts  through alternative education. Their model doesn't just focus on academic and intellectual development, it also addresses the emotional, social, physical and spiritual needs of the students.

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Instituto Nueva Escuela ( the New School Institute) is a nonprofit organization that aims to transform Puerto Rico's public school system through the Montessori teaching method. The number of INE schools has been growing over its 17 years of existence to now include 49 public Montessori schools in 27 municipalities around the island, serving students from 0 to 18 years of age, including special education students. The participation of the family in the child's education is an integral part of the child's development. "With every child that comes, we enroll the family," states INE's website.

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The passing of hurricanes Irma on September 5th and Maria on September 20th severely damaged three of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Puerto Rico (BGCPR)’ s 13 centers in Puerto Rico. Many of the BGCPR staff personally suffered the effects of the storm. But a few days after the Hurricanes, they returned to work to assess damages and determine how best to help their communities.  A survey of BGCPR programs participants revealed that 10% of them had lost everything and many others were in need of food and water.

The BGCPR offers after-school programs for kids and teens throughout Puerto Rico through community-based centers. Programs are designed to empower youth to become good citizens, and lead productive and healthy lives.  Educational programs include bilingual tutors and provide recreational activities in a safe environment. Ninety percent (90%) of children who participate in these programs live in households with a median income below the poverty level.

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Among the many projects and initiatives spearheaded by the community organization Casa Pueblo, located in the town of Adjuntas, those involving solar power have become a priority since Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September. The topic of renewable energy becomes more and more relevant as the months pass and many of Puerto Rico's rural communities, including most of Adjuntas and its neighboring towns, remain without power.

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For the eight communities that border the Martin Peña Canal, a 3.7-mile-long body of water that connects the San Juan Bay with the San José Lagoon, Hurricane Maria worsened an already dire situation. Extreme poverty, faulty infrastructure and recurring public health issues have plagued the 25,000 residents of this area for generations. The source of many of these issues is years of garbage and vegetation accumulating in the channel, blocking the flow of water and flooding the communities whenever it rains. For years the nonprofit organizations that work with these communities have demanded that the government dredge the channel.

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