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Volunteer Spotlight: Tatum in Puerto Rico

Don’t let anyone hold you back.

Instead of giving money to a charity, I’d prefer to go help out myself. It’s more rewarding. I never thought I’d come here beforehand and I’m really happy I did.

Before I came here I worked full time as a support worker for mental health [patients] and children with behavior problems. It’s very time consuming. When I go home, I go straight back into work so this is a nice break from work.

I like that everyone here is so passionate, every team I’ve worked with and every single person I got to know here is so passionate about helping the people and they’ve all been so polite and kind; They made friends with the locals and the homeowners. Everyone just has a really big heart here, it’s nice.

My first day of work, I worked at Esmeraldo’s house. He’s very kind and very welcoming – even though he didn’t understand me, I didn’t really understand him. It was still very nice. The next day he welcomed and invited me into his home, he and his wife made us lovely food. They are just lovely people. All of the homeowners I’ve met are really lovely. But that one [Esmeraldo] stood out the most. Everyone is just so friendly, you walk down the road and everyone is like, “Hola! Hola!” It’s so nice. If I tried to do that to people in London… they well, you know, wouldn’t say hello back.

Before I came here I’ve never done any sort of building or construction. Even on my first day, everyone was very understanding and it’s not even that hard, it’s easy to get into. It doesn’t even feel like I’m working to be honest, because all the people I’m working with are great. It’s fun as well. Anytime you do something wrong, like when I did something, they guided me instead of telling me “No, don’t do this!” I think the people you work with are important – you learn from each other. It makes it a nice way of working.  

I don’t want to leave. I’d rather just stay here. I’d definitely do it again. I don’t know where I’ll go but I definitely will. I’ll be telling everyone about it.

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Learn more about this program: Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief

In the fall of 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Puerto Rico, with the strongest winds the island had ever seen. Two weeks later, Hurricane Maria’s ferocious 155 mph winds struck the island, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the biggest need on the island continues to be roof repairs. We have also identified community spaces and schools in need of clean up/repair and will continue looking for ways in which we can help rebuild these communities.

Learn More

Learn more about this program: Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief

In the fall of 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall in Puerto Rico, with the strongest winds the island had ever seen. Two weeks later, Hurricane Maria’s ferocious 155 mph winds struck the island, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Months after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the biggest need on the island continues to be roof repairs. We have also identified community spaces and schools in need of clean up/repair and will continue looking for ways in which we can help rebuild these communities.

Learn More
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