I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. I lived there until I went to college in the main land and then later relocated to Boca Raton, FL. I am lucky to have grown up swimming in its beautiful oceans, eating its flavorful food, and dancing amongst my soulful people. If you have traveled to Puerto Rico, then you know what a magical place it is, and if you've spent time with the people there, you also know how proud and resilient they are.
Growing up on the island, I am also well-aware of Puerto Rico's challenges, which over time have been made worse by lack of investment, political missteps and a host of bad decisions. I knew immediately the distress and problems Puerto Rican's were going to face in the wake of Hurricane Maria's devastation. I was not only compelled but determined to help. And so was born, Stronger and Better Together.
Stronger and Better Together started as a small collection of donations right out of my garage and within a week it turned into a huge movement. Our mission is simple and straight forward: To deliver aid directly to small business owners, students and vulnerable communities throughout Puerto Rico so the island and its people can recover, rebuild and thrive long-term.
Our donations don't hit a storage or go through a third party. We hand deliver every single donation that has been given though Stronger and Better Together, and work directly with people that need our help the most. Up to now, we have completed six missions to Puerto Rico; flying down necessities like toiletries, diapers, food and medicines. But our job is just beginning. We want to bring voice to those that don't have an advocate – so they know we see them, hear them and they are not forgotten.
We are now starting the second part of our mission which is to help Puerto Rico REBUILD, and for that we need your help. This phase is focused on stimulating the Puerto Rican economy, but more importantly to help get people back on their feet. Our goal is to help small businesses that operate with 2 cashiers or less to open their doors again. We want to offer them support services and grants so they can get back to operating. We also want to help displaced college students finish out their studies on the mainland by giving them scholarships so long as they agree to go back to Puerto Rico after they are done to help the island get back on its feet. Imagine the impact we can make together!
I won't deny it, to me this is personal... it's where I was born and I want Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican's to shine like they should. But the biggest lesson I've learned through out all this is that we are indeed Stronger and Better Together. The power of good, kindness and togetherness is unstoppable. Together we can bring voice to those that don't have one, so I hope you'll join us on this incredible mission.