New Britain has close family and community ties with Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other places hit by hurricanes and other recent natural disasters. In the aftermath of the hurricanes and then the failure of the Trump Administration to provide needed aid, New Britain residents have been sending aid to Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands and have been welcoming people from the affected areas here, as well.
As the New Britain school district has said,
Many families have already sent their children to live with other family members so they can attend school. Parents have stayed back in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to clean up and rebuild their community.
The New Britain school district has already enrolled 97 students from Puerto Rico and other areas hit by the recent natural disasters. Of the 97 students, are 80 are Kindergartners through 8th graders. Sixty-seven of those children are from Puerto Rico, eight from the U.S. Virgin Islands and five are from Florida. Of the 17 high school students, 15 are from Puerto Rico and two are from the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The New Britain school district and the CCSU-Ana Grace Project Relief Effort have announced the creation of the “Hurricane Relief Welcoming Campaign”.
Under the program, registration centers, with translators on site, will assist with the registration process. School district Family Resource Staff will help children and families to get the resources they need through the CCSU-Ana Grace Project Relief Effort, 211 and community partners. When people in arrive in New Britain:
- Families with children in grades K-8 are asked to visit the Consolidated School District of New Britain registration center. The center is located at 183 Steele Street, behind Slade Middle School.
- Students in grades 9-12 are asked to go to New Britain High School, located at 110 Mill Street.
- Students interested in enrolling at CCSU should go to the Univerisity Admissions Department, located on the CCSU campus at 1615 Stanley Street.
The Ana Grace Project will work with the school district and CCSU to distribute the needed supplies to families as they get settled in New Britain, while CCSU will provide continued support to families coming from Puerto Rico.
In partnership with the CCSU-Ana Grace Project Relief Effort, the school district will be handing out gift cards for various stores. Families will also be able to make appointments with Family Resource Staff for a “personal shopping experience” at the CCSU ITDB Building on Main Street on dates between November 27, 2017 to December 22nd.
“Our school district is ready and willing to welcome these students and families,” said New Britain Superintendent Nancy Sarra. “As we welcome these students and provide them with a quality education, we will have the CCSU-Ana Grace Project Relief Effort, along with our other community partners, ready to stand by our side and help these families with any supplies and services they may need.”
CCSU’s President, Dr. Zulma Toro, added, “Together, we will make sure that every student who comes into this city – whether they are entering Kindergarten or entering their last year of high school – gets the best possible education, which will lead them on the right path to higher education.”
“This welcoming campaign is our way of lighting a candle for those coming from Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the other communities impacted by the recent natural disasters,” said Nelba Marquez-Greene, founder of The Ana Grace Project. “As we welcome these families with open arms, we must show love and compassion to these families. Those traits were evident in my daughter, Ana Grace and they are also embedded in all of us.”
The school district is accepting donations of supplies and money, from November 9th to December 22nd, to help the families affected by the disasters.
Items requested for children and youth in grades Pre-K to 12 include pants, skirts, shirts, sweaters, tights, socks, coats, hats, scarves, and mittens. These items can be dropped off with Jessica Hernandez at the CCSU Office of Community Engagement, which is located at 185 Main Street, Suite 103.
Monetary donations can be mailed to the CSDNB Superintendent’s Office, 272 Main Street in New Britain, 06051.
Meanwhile, Sen. Terry Gerratana (D-New Britain) is promoting the availability of services for people relocating from Puerto Rico. “The multiple hurricanes that struck Puerto Rico this summer left unimaginable devastation in their wake, displacing countless residents of the island,” said Sen. Gerratana in an email to her constituents. “We expect that this natural disaster will result in an increasing number of Puerto Rican residents moving to Connecticut. Fortunately, non-profits and state agencies are stepping up to assist people relocating to Connecticut.”
Gerratana said that the, “Connecticut 2-1-1 has published relocation guides in Spanish and English for individuals arriving in Connecticut from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Hurricane Resources Guide provides detailed information on programs and services that can help those arriving from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
The guide provides information on how to access various resources and services including:
- Case Management
- Emotional & Family Support
- Financial Assistance
- Food & Nutrition
The guide is available from 211 at uwc.211ct.org/maria.