Proyecto Matria, Miraflores

During the crisis that followed hurricanes Irma and Maria, one of the biggest challenges was effective communication, particularly between people with the resources and ability to help and communities in urgent need of supplies and assistance. Responding to this situation, the non-profit organization Caras con Causa, led by executive director Michael Fernández, recruited programmers from the technology company Propel BI to create ConnectRelief, a digital platform for collecting data after natural disasters.

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Inside a small classroom in a church located in the Miraflores sector of Orocovis, about 20 people, mostly women, graduated from the first empowerment workshops of the Casa Solidaria program, created by the non-profit organization Proyecto Matria. They stepped outside to pose for a photo -- smiling and enthusiastically holding up their certificates with the mountains as the backdrop -- which is later published on social media with the hashtag: #MirafloresEsElFuturo. Miraflores is the Future.

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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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