Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc.’s (JPRR) staff has been working in the development of the pilot project Youth Community Leadership Incubator since August 2018. We are very excited to see the Incubator take shape as it will fulfill a need that was uncovered after Hurricane María hit Puerto Rico: the need for young trained leaders who can take action from within their communities to deal with their needs and unforeseen situations, such as natural disasters. Weekly meetings have resulted in these major milestones:
A part-time General Coordinator/Consultant (Dr. Mercedes Cintrón) and a full-time AmeriCorps VISTA member (Alyssa López, doctoral student of Community Social Psychology) have been designated. This allocation required a proposal to the National the Corporation for National and Community Services and it has the potential of being extended for two additional years.
We have identified partners with expertise in community youth leadership who will: serve as coaches and assist us in designing the incubator in a way that is consistent with community work. We have also confirmed the participation of the Enlace Project (an NGO with broad domain of the subject) and the Social Activist Margarita Morales.
Community-based organizations have been consulted about their work experience with youth leadership within the municipalities of Caguas, Salinas, Cataño and San Juan.
Literature review on the subject of youth leadership and specific experiences in Puerto Rico has been completed.
A preliminary framework of the theory and training practice of youth community leadership has been developed.
A preliminary Project presentation was delivered to the JPRR Leadership and Service Program members in their Initiation and Assembly to generate interest, and with JPRR staff of each of the service centers in San Juan, Canóvanas, Naguabo and Juncos, to start coordination of services and use of office resources.
Focus groups with young people from the JPRR Project’s host communities, including the town of Loíza, have been scheduled.
A profile of potential participants and preliminary identification of potential candidates has been completed.
Possible internship settings where the trainees can practice their new skills have been identified.
This initiative is being developed as part of the JPRR's Leadership and Service Program.