Children from coastal communities impacted by Hurricane Maria are still suffering the emotional effects of the disaster -- in addition to not having electrical power and other basic services at home and at school. We will use our existing programs at local elementary schools (i.e. 21st Century Community Learning Centers and others) to educate in resiliency tools through arts, recreation and other strategies so children can better recover from the experience.
Coastal communities in Humacao and neighboring towns were the most affected by Hurricane Maria's landfall. It took days for first responders to get to these communities. Families were without communications, power, potable water. A 5-feet ocean surge damaged houses, businesses, schools and cars. More than 2 months after the hurricane, many communities are still in emergency-relief mode. Children are deeply impacted by this situation as they experience losses at home, school and community.
We will leverage the access we have to elementary schools through existing programs to add resiliency capacity building for children, through arts, recreation and other strategies. This will help heal the emotional impact of the experience and guide children in the process of identifying their strengths and the relevance of community and family ties in challenging situations like an emergency.
In 2016 PECES reached near to 1,000 children in tutoring and after-school programs and over 9,000 students in other prevention programs in 30 communities. Most of these children are living the impact of Hurricane Maria. Helping them build additional resiliency capacities will complement the services they get through our existing programs and extend the impact to topics related to emotional health and how to deal with the challenges of life.