EDUCA CORTÉS: ACADEMIC
The core program of the Cortés Foundation, the Educa Cortés Program, consists of the custom design of innovative and interactive teamwork and individual workshops to allow participants to express themselves creatively and thus apply the knowledge they are acquiring under the different academic subjects and academic standards and expectations of the Puerto Rico Department of Education, or other topics of focus. Our model is based on neuro-aesthetics, the cognitive and motor benefit that results from the integration and appreciation of Caribbean art through dialogue and reflection, which allows neurons to be activated in the brain that increase our level of creativity, and we helps organize our thoughts. In addition to academic and creative enrichment, other benefits include the development of critical thinking and speaking, an appreciation for reading, and an increase in self-esteem. These experiences become spaces of peace, personal growth and as opportunities to value art and the humanities as catalytic tools for enrichment and individual and collective growth.
EDUCA CORTÉS: THE ART OF WELLNESS
AND MENTAL HEALTH
At Fundación Cortés we have been offering special programming since 2017 through the Educa Cortés Program: The Art of Well-being and Mental Health and we have already impacted 4,000 children, youth, teachers, parents / guardians, elderly and vulnerable adults of Puerto Rico. This program was born after operating a temporary school after the passage of Hurricane María, where healing through art became an essential tool to attend to the pressing needs of mental health in Puerto Rico as a result of the trauma caused by the atmospheric phenomenon. As we know, the atmospheric adversities have not ceased since 2017 along with other social and economic situations in the country, and the COVID-19 pandemic is added. In this case, the Program, in addition to the benefits of general programming and custom design, is added the focus of management and channeling of emotions and self-care, and the integration of social values as priorities for the well-being of Puerto Rico: Identity, Culture, Self-Management, Social Justice and Dignity. These experiences become spaces of peace, personal growth and as opportunities to value art and the humanities as catalytic tools for enrichment and individual and collective growth. Also, these experiences lead to empowerment and the creation of self-management projects created by the participants.
EDUCA CORTÉS: THE ART OF WELLNESS AND AGROECOLOGY
In April 2021, we launched the Educa Cortés pilot program: The Art of Wellness and Agroecology in partnership with La Perla Farm School and the plastic artists, Angélica Rivera and Jerome Zayas. Impacting 8 scholarship recipients from the La Perla community, these workshops consisted of interventions on the land promoting agroecology and food security, led by Jerome Zayas. As also Art and Nature workshops, led by Angélica Rivera, where the participants created their self-portrait inspired by nature and a herbarium with medicinal plants that they planted and harvested. We thank the Iglesia Episcopal Divino Salvador del Viejo San Juan for donating the tent that sheltered us from the sun during the pilot program. This program was achieved thanks to the sponsorship of the Red Nose for Puerto Rico Fund, Comic Relief USA, Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico, Chocolate Cortés and Chocobar Cortés.
EDUCA CORTÉS: THE ART OF WELLNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH VIRTUAL FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
In 2022 we decided to extend our Senior Citizens Program to impact all participants above 55+ years old. Thanks to the support from ARPA Funds and Programa Mano Amiga, funded by Fundación Plaza Las Américas and Fundación Plaza del Caribe we are currently impacting senior citizens from all over Puerto Rico. The Educa Cortés Program: The Art of Wellness and Mental Health Virtual is oriented to share artworks from the Colección Chocolate Cortés and create design workshops were participants learn how to express through creative excercises and share the results with the rest of the group. It is very powerful to create community in this safe places were the Caribbean Arts are used as transformational tools benefiting this populations in times of lots of stress and social changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
EducaKits are used to make this experiences possible and participants stay with the materials so we can assure the continuity of the program once it is finished.
EDUCA CORTÉS MENTORING PROGRAM
Today more than ever, students need adult role models who can guide them and be able to dialogue about aspirations, concerns, challenges, and so on. At Fundación Cortés we have set ourselves the task of creating the Wellness Mentoring Program integrating art as a core strategy supporting the young participants with the scientifically proven benefits of integrating art in processes of dialogue, reflection and creative expression.
EDUCA CORTÉS: THE ART OF WELLNESS AND SELF-MANAGEMENT
The Educa Cortés: The Art of Well-being and Self-Management Program is offered to women who navigate their breast cancer processes, recruited in alliance with the Susan G. Komen - Puerto Rico Affiliate entity. Since 2018, the Chocolate Cortés company has been financially supporting the efforts of Susan G. Komen through the sale of chocolate bars in the special wrapper with the art and symbolic pink color of the theme, and the sale of a special product ( eg mugs designed by Puerto Rican artist Alex Tirado). We design workshops lasting approximately two hours, ensuring above all that the offer is adapted to the needs and expectations of the participants. These opportunities allow us to continue rescuing dialogue, reaching out to other vulnerable groups in our society and promoting art and creative expression as alternatives to cope with such a difficult situation that plays with life and death. In this way we can raise the level of self-esteem and believe in oneself and put fear aside, which in turn will allow for empowerment and self-management during these difficult times. Each participant is given an EducaKit full of art materials, a book by Eugenio María de Hostos, a bookmark with exercises for managing emotions, a reflective journal, etc.