RELIEF: Urban Strategies partnered with World Vision to provide relief items, food, cash assistance, and offer disaster preparedness training and child protection programs in the most-affected areas in Puerto Rico including, Utuado, Patillas, Orocovis and Morovis. Urban Strategies was directly responsible for organizing 500,000 pounds of relief essentials for shipment from Tampa to the affected areas. From Oct. 2017 to Apr. 2018, this effort reached 116,003 Puerto Ricans in 38,668 households.
We worked with our partners to help dislodge the bottleneck of containers of supplies in the capital to the communities most affected throughout the island, and we helped secure transportation and housing for volunteers.
MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES:
Long before the hurricane, Urban Strategies identified mental health as a key necessity in Puerto Rico. The disaster exacerbated this issue and created an exigency for mental health services and trauma care.
- We launched Family Friendly Spaces, a program that provides necessary resources for parents and caregivers during crisis, supports personal resiliency and limits psychological stress.
- Play therapy is a key tool for helping children overcome the effects of trauma. We partnered with the Catholic University of Ponce to train 25 mental health professionals, professors and graduate students. We also facilitated connection between Puerto Rican-based professionals and our centers, providing culturally and linguistically-adapted mental health materials for dissemination.
HEALTH CLINIC: Through a partnership with Heart to Heart and the Family Service Alliance, we conducted two health clinics in Santa Isabel and Patillas.
SUPPORTING OUR PARTNERS: We worked to restore communication with congregations and other on-the-ground partners that had no access to any form of communication. We believe pastoral care is crucial to moving forward. In April, we led a pastor’s retreat for twelve local pastors. Six spouses and adult children also attended. We are planning to lead a retreat for pastors’ children soon.