Jul 28, 2020

A New School for Leaders

School of Leaders virtual session
School of Leaders virtual session

Dear friends and supporters,

This year has posed the unprecedented global challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although we face many uncertainties, we have focused on making sure participants and volunteers feel connected and supported as we navigate a new way of living, trying to keep everyone safe and healthy. In Puerto Rico a government ordered quarantine interrupted our ongoing projects and pushed us to find new ways to maintain services while continuing to build resiliency. Thus, the School of Leaders was developed.

In Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc. we believe that preparing our youth to become leaders of their own lives and their communities is essential for resiliency and recovery in the event any unforeseen challenges. The current social distancing order gave way to a virtual leadership curriculum which we know as “Escuela de Líderes”, or School of Leaders. This new initiative allows youth who have participated in one of our previous projects to complete a virtual course in advanced personal development focused on the 12 principles of ethical and solidary leadership. The School has 22 youths, who along with volunteers and staff, are committed to become better resources for their communities. An example of the activities completed is a social media campaign to spread solidarity. You can watch a clip of this campaign here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1QBEWNIF2uYzuUvFUhnqklb9FRlKs6QAD/view?usp=sharing

Training young leaders now, prepares them for the recovery and rebuilding efforts of the present and the future. This is especially necessary when the pandemic has interrupted regular schooling isolating students from support networks and enriching activities. As we adapt to a changing reality, we have maintaining our mission of being present and relevant to youth at risk.

We greatly appreciate your continued support.

Sending our wishes of hope and health,

The Jovenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc. team

Inspirational social media campaign
Inspirational social media campaign
Jul 24, 2020

Being Present for Youth

Community Youth Leadership Incubator goes virtual
Community Youth Leadership Incubator goes virtual

Dear friends and supporters,

This year has posed the unprecedented global challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our daily lives and organizational plans have completely shifted to a new reality. Although we face many uncertainties, we have focused on making sure participants feel connected and supported as we navigate a new way of living, trying to keep everyone safe and healthy. Our belief is that “social distancing does not mean emotional distancing”. Thus, we have used multiple ways to maintain a virtual community were youth, staff and mentors can support each other.

The program which you have supported, the Community Youth Leadership Incubator, was paused due to a government ordered quarantine. However, our young leaders did not lose their enthusiasm and motivation. The project meetings and trainings were adapted to digital platforms and three online workshops were completed during the month of June. The topics included: establishing alliances with sensibility, respect and inclusion; learning non-verbal communication in video conferencing; and, practicing sustained communication so that they can have effective and respectful dialogues between groups with diverse perspectives.

As the project advances, we have seen the participants gaining the skills and confidence which they will apply to any challenge, be it personal or at a community level. Also, we have realized that even through virtual channels, the program creates a support system that is even more relevant as we emerge through the current pandemic.

When we work with youth, we realize their energy, hope and determination are vital for our community. It is crucial to be present and constant for them, now more than ever. You can also be present for them by contributing to this project. Together we can ensure that Puerto Rican youth become the leaders they wish to be and the leaders their communities need. 

Thank you for your support and stay safe!

Jovenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc. Team

Mar 23, 2020

Expanding Our Network

Ready for ropes challenge during initiation event
Ready for ropes challenge during initiation event

Dear friends,

We hope this update finds you in good health and spirits. As you may know, Puerto Rico experienced a 6.5 magnitude earthquake which had the most devastating effects in the southwestern region of the Island, but shook us all to the core. Although this event affected our regular operations, it also challenged our resiliency and creativity. It seems that every event we face collectively pushes us to grow in kindness, empathy and solidary action.

Amid the crisis, our first response was to serve those who lost their homes and sense of safety. We quickly organized our staff and Leadership and Service Program members to visit temporary shelters for families affected by the earthquake. Together we designed and organized workshops focused on art, writing and collaborative games as a healthy channel for children and youth to deal with feelings and stress. A group of 30 volunteer members joined the call to action.

We have found that when facing unforeseen challenges, our capacity to respond rests solely on a small group of staff and a strong volunteer base. Thus, we continue to expand our network by strengthening our volunteer body and to building the relationships which allow us to grow.

As the Island regained some stability, we reestablished services. On February, we celebrated the annual Leadership and Service Program Initiation for new members, which included 32 youth who completed one of the personal and social development programs, 13 mentors who wish to continue involved with our programs, and 4 youth family members. The Initiation is a weekend event which serves as a rite of passage into an intergenerational community committed to mutual support, respect, volunteering and service learning. This activity serves as a way to renew and strengthen our volunteer program, one of our greatest assets.

Other efforts led by our development staff brought amazing opportunities to continue expanding our network with two new partners: Feedback Labs and the American Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Group. We held two interactive workshops which allowed us to share and showcase how our programs work. The special sessions focused on collaboration and leadership through games and activities which were led by our own young leaders in training. We were extremely proud of our youth as they took the lead and interacted with grace, positive energy and fearless leadership. This type of event is essential to building new relationships which in turn provide new opportunities and growth.

We want to thank our donors and friends. Your continued support allows us to expand the activities which build our organization’s resiliency and capacity to serve our at risk youth.

Stay safe and strong,

Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc.

Writing activity for children and youth
Writing activity for children and youth
Arts and crafts for children
Arts and crafts for children
One workshop participant having fun
One workshop participant having fun
Ready for ropes challenge during initiation event
Ready for ropes challenge during initiation event
Writing activity for children and youth
Writing activity for children and youth
American Bar Association Workshop
American Bar Association Workshop

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