In September, Puerto Rico suffered one of the worst natural disasters of its history from Hurricane Maria, a category-5 storm that destroyed a large part of the island, leaving thousands of people in chaos.
As was to be expected, hundreds of buildings were destroyed and many of these were schools. This meant that thousands of Puerto Rican families have left the island to move to other places in the United States, so their children can continue studying. One of these places has been the State of Florida, where in Miami-Dade County, the school district has received 489 children from Puerto Rico.
For these children the change has not been easy. Some of them arrived without school supplies or English skills, some even without their parents.
However, Institutions such Miami-Dade County Public Schools have done a great job helping these children to integrate into their new lives and studies. Marjorie Murillo, Community Liaison Specialist at Gateway Environmental K-8 Learning Center in Homestead, is an example of what the schools are doing to help these children.
“When the families started coming, we were asked to help as much as we could, and we started by giving them school backpacks, uniforms and the necessary information so that the change isn’t so hard.”
According to Murillo, there are times in which the children and their parents need information about housing, jobs, print documents, or need help from psychologists after the emotional trauma they suffered.
It’s always important to emphasize the help and collaboration that many people provide for their communities. “If we helped each other a bit more, the world would be so much better,” said Murillo, who is always prepared to help others. So now, many of the parents that have come looking for help at the schools have become volunteers, and now they are helping others.
That is the case of Erika Rosario, mother of an 8 years old girl and one of the thousands people affected by the natural disaster in Puerto Rico. They arrived looking for help, and they get it. Now Erika is a volunteer helping other Puerto Rican families to adapt to their new lives in Florida.
“Being here has been a change from heaven to earth,” said Rosario. “Going through the experience of a hurricane has been traumatic and now adapting to this new life has been difficult, but Marjorie has been a light in the darkness.”
According to Rosario, the help that they received made the transition less traumatic. “We like to help; that’s why I am offering my help to other Puerto Rican families that may need it.”
During this time of year, when many people are stressed about shopping for presents or family gatherings, it’s important to remember that in this country and the whole world, there are people who are less fortunate than we are, and that if we gave them a bit of time and help, their lives would be slightly easier.
Haz clic para leer en Español: Como las Escuelas del Condado de Miami-Dade estan apoyando a los puertorriqueños