Another 2017 GH fundraising initiative is in support for the outstanding work being conducted by the staff and colleagues from Therapy Solutions of Puerto Rico, headed by Lauren Rivera, sister of GH’s Senior Associate, Peter Rivera.
This campaign began in New York City soon after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Lauren, her staff and colleagues have been working day and night to address the devastating impact and critical needs derived from the impact of the hurricane for the autistic populations that they serve. Basic necessities such as electricity, running water, food and quality of life issues are priority for the Special Education students impacted within the Puerto Rico Department of Education.
Hurricane Maria Impact Facts for Autistic Populations:
- 160,000 students are enrolled in Special Education in Puerto Rico.
- The educational regions of San Juan and Mayaguez began classes on October 23rd.
- Ponce and Bayamon will reopen October 30th; the last region to open will be Humacao and Arecibo.
- Many of these children have not been provided services entitled to them through the Department of Education.
The greater the time without the critical special services for this population will have a meaningful impact in their development. These children need consistent, structured therapy. In the long term, the harm on Puerto Rico will be costly.
Therapy Solutions delivers psychology, speech and language, occupational, physical and aquatic therapies to children with special needs, specifically those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). So far, they were able to start providing services again on October 9th, a few weeks after the hurricane hit, but several weeks before others in the Department of Education.
At the moment, they are being provided temporary offices at an autism school called Gersh International. They are currently getting estimates on the cost of decontaminating their offices. They may have to relocate completely.
Since this area of Puerto Rico is facing issues with their electric grid, Peter Rivera at Goldstein Hall will be withdrawing the monies from the GoFundMe site set up for this initiative and he will send the donations either by wire or by check to Lauren to deposit in Therapy Solutions’ bank account.
Many of the children come from very humble families, whose homes were destroyed by the storm, and paying out of pocket is not an option. Because of contributions from colleagues like you, the people that they serve will continue to get the therapeutic services they need.
Click here for the GoFundMe site to help raise critical dollars to alleviate the operational costs, to either decontaminate Therapy Solutions’ offices or relocate them in to clean and sanitary classrooms, so they can provide food and water on a daily basis, as well as pay for therapeutic services that will not be covered by the Department of Education or insurance.
For additional information on this initiative, please contact Peter Rivera, Senior Associate, Goldstein Hall PLLC at [email protected].