Mar 20, 2020

Community Youth Leadership: A Second Round

New group of youth leaders in training
New group of youth leaders in training

Dear friends,

We hope this update finds you in health and peace. The current pandemic is affecting each of us in ways we could have never imagined. Nonetheless, we are hopeful that the measures taken by each country and person will allow us to overcome this crisis.

Although the year 2020 started with a 6.5 magnitude earthquake which had the most devastating effects on the southwestern region of Puerto Rico, our Community Youth Leadership Program started its second training module, known as Tiboco II. This module follows our successful pilot program which graduated 11 youth with new and advance leadership skills in 2019 thanks to your support.

We are extremely excited to see 11 new young participants begin their journey to become ethical and solidary community leaders. This group is composed of youth from different residential areas of the Municipality of Naguabo, a beautiful township located in the eastern region of Puerto Rico, boasting with beautiful nature and coast, but also ridden with poverty and lack of services for children and youth. Many of the participants have already shown interest in volunteering and leadership within their schools, universities and communities. The training module we are offering will allow them to acquire new skills to serve more widely and effectively.

January was dedicate to learning about social activism from the human rights framework. Participants began to identify their social purpose, what they want to contribute to the country and their communities, as leaders. February was focused on learning about the reality of organized communities and the role of youth leaders within them. They specifically learned about the work of eight communities located in San Juan (known as the G-8 organization and the Enlace Project), their struggles for fair housing and better environmental conditions, specifically the Dredging of the Caño Martín Peña, along tidal channel which is contaminated an affects the community’s health and wellbeing. This experience sparked the participant’s interest in contributing to improve environmental conditions in their own communities. As part of this workshop, they also visited abandoned urban areas, which have been restored and repopulated through art. They had the opportunity to relate to urban centers and how art is an alternative to initiating social transformations.

These first two months of the Tiboco II Project show the possibility that more young people can transcend the social risks they face and stand out by assuming leadership at the community level.

These activities are possible with your support! Would you consider continuing to support these youth in strengthening their ethical and solidary leadership skills, and from that context serve their communities?

Thank you and keep safe,

Your friends from Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc.

Visiting and learning about Cano Martin Pena
Visiting and learning about Cano Martin Pena
Learning about urban art and social transformation
Learning about urban art and social transformation
Dec 26, 2019

Volunteers Make It Happen

Doreen- Outstanding Volunteer Awards
Doreen- Outstanding Volunteer Awards

Dear friend:

As we approach the end of the year, we are grateful for the support and opportunities that 2019 brought. We are most thankful for our volunteers, donors and staff who believe in our mission of transform the lives of at-risk youth so that they can develop into ethical and solidary leaders in our communities.

By supporting our current project, we have been able to advance our organizational resilience efforts. Progress is a direct result of key staff members who develop and cultivate our volunteers and community resources, which in turn bring organizational growth.

The work we do with the most vulnerable youth in Puerto Rico would be impossible without the commitment of our volunteers. Having an organized and functioning body of volunteers takes hard work. Thus, we celebrated a “Gratitude Dinner” as part of the International Volunteer Day activities. We thanked and recognized our volunteers for their service during the past year. We are extremely proud of their dedication and want to acknowledge how special they are.

Three of our volunteers received special awards from local organizations this year. First, Doreen was recently recognized as a Volunteer of the Year by the Governor’s Office of Community Service and the AmeriCorps State Program. She was presented this award because of her service to train disadvantage youth as future community leaders.

Second, Miguel and Xavier were chosen among the Top Ten Outstanding Youth of Puerto Rico by the Junior International Chamber of Puerto Rico.

Miguel received an award for his contribution to youth, peace and human rights. His work with youth at risk of dropping out of school and using drugs has changed many lives. He offered over 300 hours of volunteer service.

Xavier received an award for his contribution in humanitarian and volunteer service. He is one of our hardest working volunteers offering coaching in many of our workshops, developing training manuals and reconstructing homes after the hurricane devastated the Island.

We hope you can continue to collaborate with our mission of transforming the lives of local youth so that they can recognize their value and potential to achieve all their goals. This will be possible with the support of our dedicated volunteers and your contributions.

Gratitude Dinner for Volunteers
Gratitude Dinner for Volunteers
Volunteers receive recognition certificates
Volunteers receive recognition certificates
Xavier, Moises and Miguel during awards ceremony
Xavier, Moises and Miguel during awards ceremony
Dec 26, 2019

Our Young Leaders Thrive

Wesley- Community Youth Leader Incubator graduate
Wesley- Community Youth Leader Incubator graduate

Dear friend:

This year the initial phase of our pilot project titled TIBOCO: Community Youth Leaders Incubator concluded with the graduation of eleven new community leaders. We are excited to feature the story of one of these young, brave and dedicated youths, Wesley.

Wesley is a resident of the coastal municipality of Loíza. This community is well known for its strong African cultural heritage, amazing people, beautiful beaches and palm trees. However, it is also stricken with poverty and violence. Wesley completed our mentorship program which supported his efforts to graduate from high school and to start his bachelor’s degree in the University of Puerto Rico. Soon after, he joined the youth leadership incubator program with the goal of gaining knowledge and skills which he could use for the betterment of his community.

Given his hard work and commitment, Wesley was invited to deliver a welcoming statement at the 2019 Tina Hills Annual Award ceremony. The Ángel Ramos Foundation recognizes non-for-profit organizations for their contribution to quality of life, volunteering, sustainability, leadership and innovation. This awards ceremony is one of the most prestigious philanthropy events in Puerto Rico. Wesley had the honor of participating in this important event as a distinguished youth. His words reflect the growth of a true leader and we share them as a testament of the results of the project made possible by our donors:

“Today we thank and celebrate the love that extends beyond our family and immediate surroundings. Today, I Wesley Polish, neighbor of the town of Loíza and student of the UPR, appreciate the love in the form of support that I have received from the different organizations that have impacted my life. These have allowed me to expand my vision of life and have provided me the opportunity to give other people the love and support I have received so far. They sowed in me the sense of responsibility, both with myself and with my community. Today, when so many look to the future with pessimism, we ask for strength and wisdom to continue turning love into service, especially to the most needy and to our troubled planet.”

 Thank you for your continued support.

 
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