Our Puerto Rico 1st Service Platoon focuses on education, well-being, the environment, and rebuilding after Hurricane Maria.
Here are a few cool service projects they accomplished this spring.
JROTC Leadership Project
Veterans serving with The Mission Continues inspire future generations to serve, whether in a civilian or military context. So we like to plug in with students in JROTC programs when we can.
Antilles Academy (K-12) is the first JROTC program in the history of the island of Puerto Rico, and they have an on-site outdoor space that they use for practice and competitions (shooting range and rope bridge).
However, they have not been able to use the space since Hurricane Maria, due to extensive damage.
Over the course of two days (March 8-9th), the platoon joined JROTC youth and staff to clear out the entire area and repaint the shooting range. In total, 23 volunteers and 15 youth participated. As a result of what we accomplished together, the school had their first competition two weeks after the project.
Dia Internacional de Los Bosques
On March 23rd the platoon joined the US Forest Service and Amigos Del Yunque for a day of service and education at El Yunque — the only rainforest in the United States. Rainforests are harbors of incredibly unique biological diversity, some of which are specialized for living specific rainforest layers.
Hurricane Maria’s strong winds felled many trees. We met with the leadership team from US Forest Service and El Yunque last year to learn more about the damage of Hurricane Maria and how our service platoon could support their rebuilding efforts. As a result of careful planning and coordination we were able to bring volunteers into El Yunque.
Volunteers planted flowers and built and painted three recycling bins that will be donated to schools in the local rural community.
Big thanks to the 36 volunteers and 10 youth volunteers who came out to serve.
No Barriers Warriors & Girl Scouts Del Caribe
On April 9th, volunteers from No Barriers Warriors teamed up with volunteers from The Mission Continues to help get a Girl Scouts facility back up on its feet after sustaining severe damage from Hurricane Maria.
No Barriers Warriors is a national nonprofit that several of our platoon members have taken expeditions with, including Frankie, a platoon leader for the Puerto Rico 1st Service Platoon. When they took their first ever expedition to Puerto Rico, we helped them plan and incorporate an element of service into their experience.
Through our partners at El Yunque and the US Forest Service, we learned that the original Girl Scouts Camp, which is located on the border of El Yunque, has been closed to campers since Hurricane Maria (first time it has been closed since it opened in 1952).
We organized a service project partnership between The Mission Continues, No Barriers Warriors, and 20 additional volunteers from the US Navy (who were celebrating Navy Week in Puerto Rico) to clear out hurricane damage, paint cabins and clear educational trails.
As a result of the impact 50 volunteers made, the Girl Scouts have decided to re-open the camp this summer!