Mission of the Culebra Foundation
The mission of the Culebra Foundation is to educate, protect and promote the understanding of the history, environment, culture and community of Culebra. Our mission has an educational and social foundation. We understand that educating, protecting and promoting these aspects of island life bolsters the sense of worth and enlightens the self-management in the community. Our mission also includes providing education and protection for our precious natural resources so that they are conserved and serve for the enjoyment of future generations. Due to the isolated circumstances of this island, sustainability has always been a component of life in Culebra. The Culebra Foundation understands that our mission is one that touches all aspects of conservation and healthy and sustainable development of our community. We have been growing with the community since 1994.
An overview of our 25 years
1994 to the present
The Culebra Foundation is a non-profit organization, incorporated in 1994. Its mission is to conserve, promote and protect everything related to history, culture, environment and community of Culebra. This year we turned 25 since we became incorporated. Working with the community for the community. Its founder is Juan J. Romero Sanes, a Culebrense who has dedicated his life to this successful effort.
The Culebra Foundation, with the special effort of Juan Romero, managed the transfer of the Culebrita Lighthouse from the Department of the Interior to the Municipality of Culebra and now supports the efforts of Para La Naturaleza for its restoration, this being a jewel of the Caribbean; for its location, unique structure, spectacular views and nature and unique species.
In addition, we restored two historic buildings; 1908 and 1905. 1905 is the only museum on the island and it has been open for more than 10 years to the resident community and visitors. Thousands of people visit us annually. Her enthusiastic director is Sonia Arocho, who as a retired teacher, enjoys educating on different aspects of Culebra presented at the museum.
We have made several documentaries of oral history, we have the widest collection of photographs of Culebra. In addition, we have the most complete collection of documents from Culebra. At this moment, we are working with the Diaspora group of the UPR to upload on a web page the digitalization of documents, plans, photos, videos, oral history interviews, etc. so that there is a place where everyone can access the collection gathered during these 25 years. We have also published books and calendars as part of our projects.
On another front, 4 years ago we started the program Música Pa 'Culebra where we teach music free of charge to children; piano, guitar, percussion, sound and studio recording. The program has been very successful and we already have two groups or bands.
We have continued expanding our cultural programs and have been rehabilitating rooms in the old school in town. In these facilities besides music, we now offer art and theater. Thirty years ago there was a school and community theater in Culebra that was organised by Professor Cecilio Reyes. The Culebra Foundation invited him to join our team to give life to the theater. This May 10 and 11 we will present the work of the Bolero to the Reggaeton, in the old school. In this community space we are envisioning a future school of Fine Arts where we will soon incorporate dance and other art projects.
This year we coordinated the resurrection of the sculpture of Hector El Protector, with the Danish artist Thomas Dambo. This sculpture was one of the losses that Culebra had during Hurricane Maria. It was a special project where Tomás Ayala, a local fisherman and very skilled with wood, worked with Thomas' team. From the rubble of the first sculpture, Tomasito made a wooden heart that was placed on the new Hector. The sculpture, in addition to sending a message of resilience, recycling and protection of nature, has a lantern that is illuminated by sunlight. We hope that Culebra will move towards the direction of sustainability.
We are currently working with Para La Naturaleza and PR x PR and Resiliance to make the 1905 museum building a resilience center for the community. In the same way we are working with Mercy Corps to make the 1908 building, now our office and archive of documents, plans, photographs, videos, books, etc. into another center of resilience for the community.
We also work with situations and community problems, where we assess the state of the community and go to various forums to represent the feeling of our reality.
We are a diverse group, heterogeneous in visions of life and politics. But we all work with respect and commitment for our community on a voluntary basis. The achievements of our organization are the achievements of our island and our community, and we are very proud of that.
Our board of directors
President: Luz Rivera-Cantwell
Vice president: Juan J. Romero
Secretary: Maridel Peña
Accountant: Jorlena Sayán
Director of the Museo de Culebra: Sonia Arocho
Member: Yadira Rivera
Member: Cecilio Reyes Matos
Member: Carmen Parrilla.