October 22, 2019

PR4PR Welcomes First Delegation of Israelis to Help Communities in Puerto Rico

A handful of women from the Israeli delegation volunteering in Puerto Rico. Photo courtesy of PR4PR.

A group of young Israeli women who have completed their Army or National Service recently arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico to begin a three-month volunteer program with youth from local summer camps to rebuild their community center.

This trip is a joint venture between The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Project TEN program and humanitarian non-profit PR4PR. Following the completion of the program, the group of women, ages 20-24, will return to Israel to attend University. The women come from various areas of Israel including Gan Yavneh, Gadera, Kfar Saba, Givat Shmuel and Kibbutz Maffalsim.

Along with Israel’s delegation, 17 students from Cornell University, 27 high school students from Bergen County, New Jersey and Boston, and 30 local children are renovating a community center in Loiza. The community center, which was severely damaged in 2017 by hurricane Maria, provides programs and services to local children in efforts to keep them away from gang violence.

“The work we will do here is important, not only for the local people we will help, but for the State of Israel. We are the first volunteers from Israel to come here and I think that it will be very significant to the people we work and live with,” Rotem Solomon, 21, of Gadera said in a statement to the Journal.

Earlier this year, The Jewish Agency announced a partnership with PR4PR to build a Project TEN Center, an international development program that runs volunteer centers in developing areas, in Puerto Rico. The two organizations grant young volunteers from all over Israel and global Jewry with a three-month opportunity to work with PR4PR volunteers to help underprivileged children.

“It was very exciting to see these young Israelis working side-by-side with students from Cornell and local children in Loiza to help rebuild this community,” PR4PR Founder Henry Orlinsky said in a statement. “Local children need so much, and everyone can do something to help them. Acts of kindness like these young people from Israel and the mainland do are so meaningful. It will positively impact the lives of local families for a long time to come.”

PR4PR hopes to eradicate poverty, crime and dependency in Puerto Rico by providing children who come from low-income and high-risk communities with activities that promote self-satisfaction, tolerance, empowerment and self-sufficiency. The organization has provided and continues to provide, thousands of children with shelter, taking them off the streets and away from danger. Currently, over 40,000 Puerto Rican citizens have benefitted from PR4PR’s services.

“PR4PR has done a tremendous job working with Puerto Rico’s youth to keep them off the streets and providing positive programming to help provide them with the skillsets to become contributing members of society,” The Jewish Agency for Israel’s Chairman Isaac Herzog said. “These young people come together for a common good – for a project larger than themselves which enables them to hone their leadership skills, develop and establish a personal and collective identity, and set in place sustainable programs that address local needs.”