MIAMI – Sometimes, small miracles happen in the midst of huge catastrophes. The Puerto Rican island of Vieques was largely cut off from the world when Hurricane Maria made land on Sept. 20, but its Boys & Girls Club facility remained intact and quickly became a hub of relief activity.
“Luckily, our club in Vieques was directly affected but was not directly impacted. So we were able to reopen our club really fast,” says Olga Ramos, President of Boys & Girls Club Puerto Rico. “Our Vieques community is a small community and it’s committed. And our Boys & Girls Club has become kind of the community center for the Vieques people.”
The Club has been handling everything from assisting the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide Housing & Urban Development meals, Ramos explains in this interview with Beet.TV.
“Basically our club is where all of the NGO’s are coming together to provide relief efforts and help to the island. Besides our educational program, we’re doing everything we can do to make sure that the community bounces back to normal.”
Located eight miles east of the Puerto Rican mainland, Vieques relies on its own water sources, which were shut down by Hurricane Maria. So finding replacement supplies has been at the forefront of most relief efforts.
“Last week, we were awarded by the Banco Popular Foundation a desalination plant that we’re going to be taking to Vieques next Monday,” Ramos says. “As well, we were able to get a community water tank that would allow us to provide water to the community, either filtered rain water or pond water and make sure that we provide safe water for our kids.
“Looking into the medium term, we’re partnering with other institutions to make sure that we provide a sustainable system where Vieques people can get purified water for drinking.”
On Sept. 20, when Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, the group ViequesLove was formed to provide assistance to the island. As of Nov. 9, the group had raised $879,420 from 7,122 donors via its GoFundMe website.
Stand With Puerto, The Industry Steps Up
This video reports on the pressing issues facing Puerto Rico and the organizations that are having an impact. It is part of a media industry initiative titled Stand With Puerto Rico. It is organized by Beet.TV and Omnicom Media Group along with founding partners AT&T AdWorks and Teads. Please find additional videos from the series here. The series was recorded in Miami at the Festival of Media/LATAM on October 30.