In the last quarter (September 1 to Dec 1, 2022), we have increased the amount of individuals reciving food boxes to over 200 each month from three of our community centers located in San Juan, Maunabo and Cabo Rojo. Each individuals has also had the opportunity to meet with a mental health care provider to assess needs and work with a case manager.
The needs increased after the impact of hurricane Fiona on the south coast of Puerto Rico. We have not only provided hot meals, food boxes but also mental health interventions (short-term) to more than 420+ individuals living in the south coast area of Puerto Rico.
In the ucpoming months, we will continue to provide food boxes and mental health supports to individuals, couples, and families in 2023.
Waves Ahead continues to provide program participants with life saving resources such as food and skills to lower stress, sadness, and anxiety. In the last three months, we continued to provide monthly food boxes plus educational sessions on nutrition and home gardening. Each month, 100 individuals receive food boxes and in the last few educational sessions we impacted 48 individuals. A total of 138 unduplicated clients received these food boxes for a total of 300 boxes distributed.
On an ongoing basis we provide mental health and ancillary services to individuals from Waves Ahead' community centers located in four points of Puerto Rico. During August, we opened the fourth community center in the town of Loiza. The four Centros de Todes provide a safe space for all to receive the supports needed plus classes of yoga and meditation, musictherapy, counseling and therapy.
Our Reconstruye Q: Food Sustainabilty program has continued to provide individuals and families with food boxes and materials to create a home garden. Every month 100 individuals receive boxes of rice, beans, produce, and others to be able to create meals in the comfort of their space for a total of 238 unduplicated individuals. In addition, since january until now, we have provided 83 individuals with the materials and education to create a home garden and be able to grow vegetables, fruits, and herbs; from our three community centers located in San Juan, Cabo Rojo and Maunabo. These program participants are from Lajas, Cabo Rojo, Maunabo, Humacao, San Juan metro area, and Yabucoa.
The need continues to grow for programs like ours that focus on the LGBT+ and older adult. As the leading organization focusing on these communities, we will continue to advocate for them and provide programming that assist their mental health and physical wellbeing.
In the last six months, Puerto Rico has been impacted, even further, with COVID cases impacting not just our participants but our staff. Although Waves Ahead has needed to confront our "new way of providing services" we have met the challenge head-on. Waves Ahead has provided the following:
1)We provided a total of 83 Food & Gardening Boxes to individuals from our Maunabo and San Juan sites. These boxes included food to prepare as well as soil, seeds, small plants, and pots that can be used to develop a small garden in either your balcony or your home. In addition, we provided seminars during distribution on how to harvest using mindfulness techniques.
2) Mental health sessions: We provided an increase number of hours of mental health therapy to LGBT older adults to improve mental health alongside mindfulness sessions, yoga and meditation, and peer lead support groups. We provided a total of 135 new clients with sessions for a total (in the four months of this grant) 362 unduplicated clients/participants in individual sessions, yoga and meditation groups, mindfulness support groups, music-therapy sessions, and peer lead support groups focused on the transgender and non-binary individuals.
2) We held Education Circles, particularly health education, promote awareness and prevention, and develops healthy attitudes and behaviors towards food sustainability and healthier way of living. We held four health education sessions focused on mental health; two educational sessions focused on food sustainability; and four meetings with local legislators and employees where a training was included focused on diversity related issues and the treatment of LGBT older adults. A total of 10 sessions impacting 124 individuals plus all of the other individuals who will be able to view the four health education sessions that were kept in our YouTube channel.
The highlighted achievements for us is that we have been able to meet some of the need that exist in Puerto Rico from our 3 community centers specially during COVID pandemic. It has been challenging but gratifying to be able to provide the services to individuals that for the most part feel lonely or isolated. Another achievement was the development of Memorandum of agreement with MercyCorps, a national organization with a site in Puerto Rico that focuses on the environment, green public spaces, and community/household gardens. They assisted us in the design and education of home garden spaces. In addition, we received a donation of seed packages and fruit-trees from a local insurance entity, lowering our costs related to home gardening kits. Triple-S Community Foundation donated $2,500 worth of fruit trees and $2,500 worth of seed packages.
During the last six months (and during COVID), we have continued to support the community and clients of SAGE Puerto Rico and Waves Ahead Corp by providing gift cards to purchase food, mental health supports, and services such as yoga & meditation, mindfulness, support groups, music-therapy, and others. Most of these services have been provided mainting all public health and government regulations related to COVID. We have three volunteers maininting the garden, where we provide "dirt therapy" and germinate plants to provide others with the seeds and small plants to create their own home gardens. These seeds and plants are for fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants.
We have provided in the last six months, 55 individuals with gift cards for food and over 82 individuals with sessions, either individual or group.
In addition, we have provided 278 individuals in the southwest part of the island short-term mental health counseling and pharmacy vouchers. Thes eindividuals were all impacted by the earthquakes and COVID and all over the age of 55+.
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