La Marana leads participatory design process in PR
As we begin a new year, it’s clear that our partners in communities recovering from storms accomplished incredible feats in the past 12 months and have hopeful plans for the future.
Last year, St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group conducted seven workshops to teach 200 people how to be their own first responder in times of disaster. Attendees really appreciated the workshop, with one attendee providing feedback that said, “More people need this information and presentation. You spoke with passion, engaged the audience, cared about the people and used very practical examples.” The group is looking to offer additional training, and based on feedback, bring specialized programs to youth.
Meanwhile on St. John, groups came together to provide emergency re-tarping for homes with roofs that still aren’t repaired. This helped relieve the anxiety of some of the seniors in the community, but they were not able to reach all of the homes that needed it. Community Foundation for the Virgin Islands (CFVI) funded the removal of 85 cubic yards of marine and shoreline hurricane debris and is beginning a project to turn vegetative debris into wood chips for landscaping and composting.
On St. Thomas, CFVI is supporting 10 entrepreneur workshops run by an organization called SEED SPOT. They’ve also celebrated the success of two tree planting projects and a bottle and can recycling project that are all underway.
In Puerto Rico, La Maraña has been working hard to bring about the changes that communities wish to see with participatory design processes. After enduring nine months in darkness when electricity was cut off after the storms, youth leaders in the central municipality of Comerío are kicking off a solar energy project. Meanwhile, another community in Carolina, east of San Juan, is coming together to transform an abandoned school into a hub for learning, entrepreneurship, and sustainable agriculture.
The Island Spirit Fund also continues to help other communities in their recovery journeys, including communities around Florida’s Panama City still recovering from Hurricane Michael. Doorways of NWFL has rebuilt more than 40 homes, but there are many more to go. There are signs of progress however: the Community Recovery Center is being transitioned to a Community Resource Center.
Across all these communities, there’s a recognition of the need for fundamental change. In summing up what drives their commitment to progress, St. Croix Long-Term Recovery Group referenced a quote from bestselling author John C. Maxwell, "We cannot become what we need by remaining what we are."
By contributing to the Island Spirit Fund, you’re supporting these recovering communities as they seek resilience and full recovery. Thank you for taking part!
St. John-LTRG assisted in getting homes retarped
Blue tarps show La Marana the work still needed