Day of Volunteerism at School in Puerto Rico Provides Life-changing Experience for Berkeley College Student

Berkeley College representatives participated in volunteer service projects at Escuela Luis Liorens Torres, a school in the city of Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico, during the annual SOMOS Conference.
Thu Dec 27, 2018

Berkeley College representatives participated in volunteer service projects at Escuela Luis Liorens Torres, a school in the city of Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico, during the annual SOMOS Conference. The SOMOS conference, held in San Juan in November, brought together legislators, educators, business officials and labor leaders from throughout New York State to address rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico, along with issues affecting Latino communities such as education, immigration, healthcare and economic development.

 

“The SOMOS Conference gave us an opportunity to volunteer and visit with local students and teachers, which was a very rewarding and humbling experience because of the remaining devastation in Puerto Rico,” said Dallas Reed, PhD, Vice President, Berkeley College Student Development and Campus Life. “Berkeley College students also had an opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of Puerto Rico, while learning about advocacy and how to work toward positive change through workshop presentations,” added Dr. Reed.

 

The Berkeley College group performed fieldwork at Escuela Luis Liorens Torres and for Instituto Nuevo Escuela, a non-profit organization that collaborates with local public schools on providing a child-centered educational approach.

 

“My experience at SOMOS was life-changing and increased my awareness of all the work that needs to be done to rebuild Puerto Rico,” said Berkeley College student Christina Craig of Brooklyn, NY.

 

Gbubemi Okotieuro, Vice President, Government Relations, and Berkeley College student Juan Rosado of Manhattan, NY, also attended.  The experience included a visit to Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Salinas Bay, the rich sugar cane industry history of this region, and a cultural reception in the historic Museo de Arroyo Antigua Aduana to learn about the potential for new regional economies as part of Puerto Rico’s future growth.

 

Conference discussion topics included SOMOS Day of Service—Rebuilding Puerto Rico; Meeting the Needs of Female Heads of Households Post Hurricane Maria; and Creating Equitable Employment Opportunities for Latinos and Under Resourced Communities

 

Photo Caption (Pictured from left, in Berkeley College tee shirts):  Berkeley College representatives participate in a day of community service at Escuela Luis Liorens Torres, a school in Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico, during the SOMOS Conference held in San Juan in November 2018. Berkeley College student Juan Rosado of Manhattan, NY; Dallas Reed, PhD, Berkeley College Vice President Student Development and Campus Life; and student Christina Craig of Brooklyn, NY, visit with students and teachers at the school.