Puerto Rico--Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 hurricane, hit Puerto Rico in September of 2017, killing many and displacing even more people. In response to the tragedy, high school students representing Bloomfield High School's Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Skyline Church of Bloomfield traveled down to Puerto Rico during the week of July 14. The students worked together to build homes for those in need. TECHO, a non-profit founded to fight extreme poverty in Latin America, helped organize the work.
Bloomfield FCA members on the trip included Luke Rosa, Joe Bumpus, Kevin Bretz, Andrew Terc, Michael Bsales, and Daniel Gerard.
The Skyline Huddle members on the trip included Sophie Dube, Angelina Turro, and Yubylee Rodriguez, June Pena, Ricky Burgos, Ezequiel Castillo, and Kayden Amante.
Adult leaders on the trip were Bloomfield High School Teacher and Football Coach Kelechi Ibeh, Kathryn Ibeh, Skyline Pastor Chris High, Lori High, Domingo Amante, Damayra Amante, and Elsa Velez.
Joe Bumpus,a BHS class of 2018 graduate described the trip; "Puerto Rico as I knew it before the week of the mission trip was an island of beautiful beaches and proud people. As vague as that description is, that really was the extent of my knowledge. Working down in Puerto Rico was nothing less than eye opening for me. The work was challenging and the weather ranged from beaming sun to pouring rain to humid and sticky all in one day. As we drilled in boards and climbed scaffolds, dogs walked the streets around us, the sun sat high over the houses and marshy forest, and little lizards scaled any and all surrounding surfaces. Needless to say, it was beautiful, and far different from my New Jersey home. The most amazing part of it, though, was the gracious and helpful people. Neighbors helped in our projects out of the good of their hearts, whether it be loaning their pickup trucks and spare hands or even just letting us use their bathroom, and the homeowners that we were building for even made our lunches for us to eat at the worksite. There was no shortage of gratitude between our group and the locals, and it was an honor for me to be a part of rebuilding the homes that they are so proud of. As someone who hasn't experienced much outside of New England, this trip really helped me realize how similar we all are. I am grateful to have served in Puerto Rico and learn the life lessons that I'll take with me for the rest of my life. PS: You can't convince me that anywhere else has better fresh squeezed juices."