In 2011, the last time I trained in Puerto Rico, I had the remarkable experience of working with extraordinary leaders representing 10 municipalities across the island who gave me so much more than I ever gave them. I was able to learn about this incredible island and these incredible people in a way few folks ever do. After almost a year, I left with friendships, love, laughter, dancing, Mofongo, roast turkey, memories of runs to Guavarte, Ponce, and a bone chilling dip in La Mina!! Most importantly, I left with a new family. As I watched the reports from the island, my heart went out to my friends from the Governor's office and ASSCME and so many community leaders from those areas hardest hit from Hurricane Maria.
In tribute to them and all those family and friends who have loved ones on the Island, I am starting this fundraising campaign called W.E.P.A.! Puerto Rico (or Will Everyone Please Assist Puerto Rico).
The idea, the goal is simple. I want to raise as much money as possible in as short a time as possible. I happen to know and am connected with incredible leaders, heroes and SHEroes, such as, Joanna Otero-Cruz, Deputy Managing Director of the City of Philadelphia, who are already on the ground doing what they can to help provide the most basic needs and support directly to the families that need them most. Whatever money is raised will be provided directly to these leaders to help them provide everything from tarps for devastated homes, to care packages for displaced families to toys for affected children during the holidays.
I will be working with and supporting TALLER PUERTORRIQUENO, UNIDOS PA'PR and the Drug Free Coalition in Sabana Grande.
TALLER PUERTORRIQUENO had joined forces with a coalition of community organizations, community leaders and advocates to raise funds and provide direct support to storm ravaged Puerto Rico under the title UNIDOS PA'PR. Together working with them we want to do everything possible to draw attention to the crisis and support Puerto Rico requires in the aftermath of hurricane Maria. There are still millions of fellow Americans without electricity, running water, proper shelter, etc.
One of my strongest and fondest memories of my time in Puerto Rico was being introduced to the phase Wepa!!! Always spoken loudly, always shared in unity, in celebration of and pride in the strength, passion, and love of Puerto Rico. That is why I named this campaign W.E.P.A.! Puerto Rico. Because this community is stronger than any wind...even one that packs a devastating punch, named Maria.
Please give what you can. Please give often. Please share this link and request to everyone you know and ask them to do the same. Please trust what you give is directly going to help those who desperately need it. Those of you who know me, know you can trust this. Our fellow Americans are in desperate need during these holidays. I cannot think of a better way show our love and demonstrate who we are than to help those who are going through a very rough time.
To all my friends and loved ones in Puerto Rico.. I can't wait to take another run to Guarvarte with you!
In order to support this campaign please click on the link below.