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Howard University Students Rebuild, Mentor in Puerto Rico for Alternative Spring Break | Black Press USA

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Howard University Students Rebuild, Mentor in Puerto Rico for Alternative Spring Break | Black Press USA HBCU students with Howard University’s Alternative Spring Break program help to rebuild La Hermosa Church in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. In September 2017, Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, ravaged the island affecting the lives of millions of Americans.

African American Education, HBCU, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hurricane Maria, Volunteer, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN



ARECIBO, Puerto Rico—When Howard University student Jasmine Stevens fled New Orleans in 2005 to avoid Hurricane Katrina, she left with just enough clothes for two days. The Category 3 storm would cover her family’s neighborhood in eight-feet of water, destroy their belongings and force them to abandon their home and flee to Port Arthur, Texas, where they remained for three years.

“We lost everything,” Stevens, 20, said. “It didn’t hit me until I watched the news and saw my city underwater.”

Now, Stevens, a junior biology major, finds herself in a familiar spot, but this time hundreds of miles away in Puerto Rico, where another hurricane has wreaked havoc on the lives of millions of Americans.

Stevens is here with fellow Howard students to help the people still recovering from Hurricane Maria, which six months ago destroyed thousands of homes, wiped out the island’s already out-of-date electric grid, and limited access to clean drinking water for millions.


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