All Hands and Hearts - Smart Response effectively and efficiently addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters. By listening to local people, and deploying our unique model of engaging volunteers to enable direct impact, we rebuild safe, resilient schools, homes and other community infrastructure.
Through community and volunteer engagement, we aim to help families recover faster after natural disasters using our "smart response" strategy. By rebuilding in a disaster resilient way, we prepare them for future events and, through the process, strengthen both volunteers and communities.
In the fall of 2017, Hurricane Irma landed in Puerto Rico with the strongest winds the island has ever seen. Not long after, Hurricane Maria’s ferocious 155 mph winds struck the island, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. "It is the worst natural disaster on record in Puerto Rico and [several] months later, the island still does not have power and potable water in many areas. As always, our team worked with local partners to carefully assess the damage and identify communities with the greatest need for help," said Erik Dyson, C.E.O. of All Hands and Hearts.
Hurricane Maria first made landfall over the municipality of Yabucoa, affecting the 37,000 residents who call it home. This area bore the strongest brunt of the storm, where hundreds of homes are still in need of basic roof repairs today. In the interior of the island, the mountain municipality of Barranquitas, was also devastated by the storm and became nearly inaccessible for weeks due to landslides. The roughly 30,000 residents in this area continue to see a great need for roofing repair and mold sanitation. The city of Toa Baja suffered not only flooding from the hurricane itself, but the subsequent release of dams, resulting in floodwaters over 10 feet high.
Thanks to critical support from partners, like Medtronic and The Giustra Foundation, donors and the local community, our volunteers have been hard at work helping to rebuild these communities. To date, we have worked on mucking and gutting projects, debris removal, repairing of roofs, performing mold sanitation, critical repairs on windows and doors, and revitalizing a baseball field in Yabucoa. Additionally, our volunteers have and completed work on the Center of Imagination. We are also focusing on community spaces in need of clean up/repair and will be alongside the community on the long road to recovery. In addition to this, we have been working with our senior technical advisor to develop best practices in the field and have recently expanded our scope of work to include repairing corrugated galvanized iron roofs.
After publicly committing to continue working in Puerto Rico until October 2019, our relief efforts in Yabucoa are still going strong. Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, who gave 66,712 combined volunteer hours to help rebuild Puerto Rico, we have wrapped up our efforts in Barranquitas and Toa Baja.
Our work is not done yet and we need your help to provide hope and a brighter future for the communities that are still reeling from these hurricanes.
We accept spontaneous volunteers from any background, providing on-the-job training free of charge.
Does it cost money?
Volunteering with All Hands and Hearts is completely free of charge, and we provide accommodation and meals. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for the cost of your travel both to and from the program, meals on your day(s) off, and any costs associated with taking a 3 day break each month away from program.
What are the accommodations like?
Accommodations vary by program and the communities we are working within. They are often community centre spaces, churches, or schools, and it’s communal living at its finest! Accommodation is always mixed gender housing, and there are always opportunities for functioning bathrooms and showers. Due to the communal living environment and limited residential space, we advise packing light. As soon as you apply and are confirmed, you will be emailed live information packets full of the most updated information of what to pack, what to expect, and how to get to the base you’ll be volunteering at.
What can I expect on a typical workday?
Each day depends on the scope of work that the home or school you are placed on requires. Typical tasks include mucking and gutting, mold sanitation, insulation and drywall insulation, carpentry, and painting. Don’t worry if you have never done this before - we will teach you everything you need to know when you get here! Each work day is from about 8 AM-4 PM, however these hours change depending on the needs of the program you volunteer for. After you return home from the worksite, you will have a chance to unwind, relax, and reflect on your day as a part of our nightly team meetings. Check out our day in the life video to get a feel for volunteering life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eezh3h3W0Aw
How do I sign up?
Read about our program here and click "Volunteer For This Program" to apply: http://bit.ly/ServiceYearPR
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our Volunteer Coordination Team at: VOLUNTEER@ALLHANDSANDHEARTS.ORG
FREE to volunteer (no program fee), Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner provided on workdays, Accommodation provided every day (communal-style living), Undergo free on-site construction training (with tools and safety equipment provided), Emergency health coverage for all non-US citizens/residents, Engage in cultural immersion and community development, Meet volunteers from all over the world committed to service, Access to our Alumni Network after your trip + more.
Less than High School Completed
Subject to criminal background check
18 - 100