The first delegation of Israeli young adults have arrived in Puerto Rico this week to begin a three-month volunteering project as part of the Jewish Agency's Project TEN program and the PR4PR organization.
The young Israeli women have been joined by college students from the United States and Puerto Rican locals. Among their first projects is to renovate a community center severely damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
One of the volunteers, 21-year-old Noa Gilad of Kfar Saba, stated “I wanted to use this time in my life to do something meaningful. I am excited to spend a meaningful time in Puerto Rico to not only help people, but to learn a new culture."
“The work we will do here is important, not only for the local people we will help, but for the State of Israel," said 21-year-old Rotem Solomon of Gadera. "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."
PR4PR founder Henry Orlinsky said, "It was very exciting to see these young Israelis working side-by-side with students from [the United States] and local children in Loiza to help rebuild this community. 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 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 skill-sets to become contributing members of society,” stated Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog. “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.”