When she was twelve years old, Anabel moved away from her countryside-lifestyle in the Sierra Region of the Andes to New York City. She remembers the feeling of driving through Times Square on her first day in the United States, feeling ecstatic about her future in a new city. But, she soon began to feel like an outcast due to the language barrier and her different ethnicity. She missed Ecuador terribly, but she persevered and will soon be the first in her family to earn a college degree. Anabel recently took an internship practicing occupational therapy with elderly patients to help them become more independent in their day-to-day life. This was an extremely rewarding job; she got to see a man who used a wheelchair progress to having the ability to walk on his own in just a few weeks. She coached a patient on how to hold a spoon, and got to see them eat independently for the first time in years. 

Anabel had the opportunity to take her OT training here to Puerto Rico to help Aida, one of our homeowners. Aida lives with rheumatoid arthritis, but wakes up every day determined to not be discouraged by her illness;. She continues to laugh and enjoy life no matter what hardships it may bring. As she was at her home to fix her roof, Anabel noticed Aida was having a difficult time getting off of her couch. Anabel took the time to help her and teach her new ways to stand up to make her movement less painful. “You do it because you love it. That simple ‘thank you’ makes it all worth it.”

Outside of Puerto Rico, Anabel has repeatedly filled boxes with toys and shipped them to the Dominican Republic for children less fortunate. She also made a trip down to the Dominican Republic and spent three days painting, cleaning, and landscaping her boyfriend’s grandparents’ home. Anabel, you are a perfect example of “many ways of giving.” Thank you for your compassion, kindness and dedication to others!