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Building Organizational Resilience

by Jovenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc.
Building Organizational Resilience
Building Organizational Resilience
Building Organizational Resilience
Building Organizational Resilience
Building Organizational Resilience
Building Organizational Resilience
Building Organizational Resilience
Building Organizational Resilience
Building Organizational Resilience
Building Organizational Resilience
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
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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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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
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Leadership & Service Program meeting
Leadership & Service Program meeting

Strengthening our organization requires that we put in place the building blocks which will serve as a base for our growth. Thanks to the support we have received from donors, we are working on two essential building blocks: emergency response capability and financial development.

One of the pillars of our organization is the Leadership & Service Program. This program incorporates graduates and mentors from our different projects who commit to continue their personal and social development through community service activities and leadership development workshops. A group of over 400 active volunteer members support our prevention projects for youth at risk, as well as the communities we serve.

On the one hand, members provide volunteer service which allows us to implement our projects at a lower cost. On the other hand, because members participated in our projects, they still live or have a strong connection to the communities where we provide our services. As a result, our organization has a strong network of alumni within the communities we currently serve.  After Hurricane María hit the Island, our volunteers served as the first line of response in the communities where we carry out our work. This proved to be an excellent resource to connect with our participants and their families and it enabled us to provide support and meet immediate needs after the devastation.

Based on our experience, and looking forward to being more resilient in the future, our Leadership & Service Program is already implementing a needs assessment of the different municipalities where we have presence. This stage of our resilience building plan requires the regional chapters to evaluate available resources and services, as well as vulnerabilities in each community we serve. Another important step we have completed is the evaluation of our organizational emergency response plan, so that it can be adapted to regional chapter capabilities and needs in coordination with our main office.

Along with the effort to strengthen our emergency response plan and structure, we are working to expand our development activities. Our coordinator of development continues to maintain our established fundraising efforts in addition to implementing new activities. One of the efforts entails reaching out to mayors of the municipalities where we carry out projects. Relationship building with local governments will provide access to funding and resources we have never tapped into before. In addition, we are reaching out to untapped government funding which is designated for youth development in economic development agencies. Finally, we are also focusing on regional businesses and industries which we have not contacted in the past.

All these efforts are made possible with the support of donors who believe in grass roots organizations which change lives everyday with very little resources. We are confident that putting in place these essential “building blocks”, or strategic efforts, will allow us to reinforce and grow our organizational structure. Our mission and passion are to serve more students who are extremely vulnerable to dropping out and becoming involved in delinquent activity. Supporting our efforts results in life changing programs for the youth who need it most.

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What does building organizational resilience mean to Jóvenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc.? It means building a solid financial base that will support the continuation of our services in the case of a future natural disaster o emergency. After experiencing the terrible organizational devastation due to Hurricane María, we have begun the planning and design phase of our emergency response plan. This plan will allow us to train our employees and volunteers so that we can respond efficiently in the event of an unforeseen disaster. However, the backbone of this plan depends on having the economic resources to maintain the employees who provide the direct services to low-income youth at-risk of dropping out of school and becoming involved in delinquent behavior whom we serve.

One of the most important elements of building our resilience was the recruitment of a dedicated team member who is designing and who will implement a new development plan. We are happy to have welcomed our newest team member Ivelisse Reyes, the Coordinator of Development. Ivelisse has been working non-stop on strategies to diversify and grow our funding resources. This is a great achievement for a small non-for-profit which focuses all resources on direct services to youth.

The support of individuals and private organizations has allowed us to bring this new member who will lead our efforts and activities to access new funding and financial resources. We hope to generate additional contributions to ensure this development plan is implemented. As a result, we will be able to train, develop and maintain the human resources necessary to respond and continue our mission to serve the most vulnerable sector of Puerto Rico’s youth, even in the face of future disasters.

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Organization Information

Jovenes de Puerto Rico en Riesgo, Inc.

Location: San Juan - Puerto Rico
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Jóvenes en Riesgo
San Juan, Puerto Rico
$4,112 raised of $4,000 goal
 
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