Tears Shed, Lessons Learned, And Our Plans For The Future

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I still have flashbacks of those first few days after the hurricane and I get chills as I remember everything that was going on around me. Desperate, eight-hour waits for cash and gas without a guarantee that there would be any left by the time you reached your turn. Broken tree branches blocking streets and impeding automobile traffic, shattered glass underfoot everywhere I walked to.

The absolute darkness at night made me feel deeply unsafe. Supermarkets were mostly empty, and at some point everyone I know struggled to find fresh food and clean water. There was a collective sense of anxiety from not having a cellphone signal, and people would wake up feeling restless because there was no way to cool down against the tropical humidity. And yet, the following weeks were actually worse, as many well-meaning brigades failed to deploy emergency aid and thousands of people were left without relief for way too long. The sense of despair, of the enormity of the challenge, was numbing.

Then, I purposefully remind myself of how fortunate I was to have witnessed a historic moment in time, when the worst that could happen TO Puerto Rico, brought out the best IN Puerto Rico. 

Our team on the ground persevered, showing up for work everyday despite what they were going through personally, focused on helping ConPRmetidos move forward for the good of those who were even worse off. I was overwhelmed by the support and generosity of so many people. Every day, hundreds that were doing just a little bit better than their neighbors went out to see what they could do to help. And, every single day, hundreds of people like YOU were sending thousands of dollars to help relieve Puerto Rico's suffering.

Our immediate goal was to get help where it was needed, and fast. We gave satellite phones to different non-profits so they could coordinate the distribution of essential items and services. With the help of so many generous donors, we installed an urgently needed water purification system at the Boys & Girls Club Center, and we distributed two dozen power generators to local businesses that otherwise would have failed to reopen. We also answered thousands of emails, texts, WhatsApp and Facebook messages. More people than I could’ve imagined were reaching out to show their support and solidarity. We thought of ourselves as brokers; connecting those who wanted to help to those in need of a lot of help. 

While the initial focus was on providing emergency relief, early on we also knew that these efforts needed to be understood as necessary first steps towards a much bigger goal: rebuilding Puerto Rico in a sustainable way.

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As we start this new year, we have reflected on the life changing experiences we collectively endured, and must, again, thank everyone who – like you – gave us the means and emotional support to get up, dust off and get to work for Puerto Rico and its future. 

We have also made it a point to listen and learn, to think broadly and understand how it is that an impacted community moves forward, from relief and towards renewal. The resiliency, resourcefulness and solidarity of our fellow Puerto Ricans during these difficult months, showing their true spirit of love and community, have blessed me with hope for our people and country.

As 2018 unfolds, we ask that you accompany us in the next phase of our mission, supporting projects which can stand upon pillars that we believe are critical to a stable, productive and self-sufficient Puerto Rico:  

  • Empower local businesses as economic development leaders
  • Aim for a clean, sustainable future
  • Build it right

We owe it to our fellow Puerto Ricans and to you, our donors and supporters, to successfully take on these challenges and to make positive change happen. Just as well, we treasure your faith in us, and will do our best to make you proud and keep you informed of the work you continue to make possible. 

On behalf of ConPRmetidos and Puerto Rico, ¡GRACIAS!

Always #Committed, Siempre #ConPRmetidos

 Isabel Rullán, Executive Director

Isabel Rullán, Executive Director

 

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#Doers Imagine how cool it would be if millions around the world could help rebuild Puerto Rico by playing a fun game from a cellphone. 

Luckily and cleverly, local video game development company SRG Studios has created an innovative mobile app that will facilitate fundraising for long-term renewal efforts.

Relief Road: Puerto Rico is a matching puzzle game that tells the story of the island in its process of rebuilding. While users play, the application generates money through ads and virtual coins that players can optionally purchase if they want to boost their gameplay or attempt more stages when their "energy" runs out.

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100% of the proceeds from ads and transactions in the game will be donated to ConPRmetidos and to Foundation for Puerto Rico, two non-profit organizations actively working for the island’s sustainable economic recovery. The more you play, the more you help those affected by the recent hurricanes.

You can download the app for free on any mobile device through your phone’s Apple or Android stores and by visiting the game’s official website:

www.play4charities.org

Donate some of your time today and invite others to play!

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As the famous composer Lin-Manuel Miranda has said: "No one gets here alone." 

If it weren't for you and all the other amazing doers out there who are driving Puerto Rico's recovery, we wouldn't be sharing our story. 

Now we want to hear yours! 

We invite you to share your hopes for Puerto Rico in 2018 using the#CommittedtoPR #ConPRmetidos hashtags.

Join tens of thousands of people around the world who are actively envisioning a better Puerto Rico.

Miguel Ferrer