We will work in the community of Cantera, a marginalized, impoverished, densely populated neighborhood located in San Juan, Puerto Rico, with an estimated population of 8,800 residents divided into sixteen sectors. It is also one of the poorest. Surrounded by bodies of water to the north, south and east, Cantera is a peninsula that stretches out into the contiguous San Jose and Corozos lagoons. The community was founded in the early 20th century by squatters from other parts of Puerto Rico. In the following decades, they successfully resisted all attemps to evict them. But the threat of eviction remains present (source IPS News). The community was heavily damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017 and earthquake in 2020, but the government has made significant strides to rebuild many areas.
Escuela Manuel Elzaburu y Vizcarrondo
All service projects will take place at the Escuela Manuel Elzaburu y Vizcarrondo, a pre-k through sixth grade, public elementary school with 261 students, located in the heart of Cantera. The school was badly damaged by Hurricane Maria and the earthquake in 2020, but it has been recently renovated and is ready to host our group of volunteers in March 2023. It is part of the Instituto Nueva Escuela (INE) network, an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the implementation of Montessori education in the public school setting.