Serve Puerto Rico

UNC Charlotte Spring Break 2019

The trip is full, however, still pre-register and you will be notified by email when a spot becomes available based on your priority.

Estamos De Pie

Niner United has been invited to serve Puerto Rico during the March 2019 UNC Charlotte Spring Break. If you are interested in making your spring break count for something and help those affected by Hurricane Maria, this trip may be for you. A significant number of generous scholarships are available.

Category 5 Hurricane Maria is considered the worst natural disaster to affect Puerto Rico and one of worst (if not the worst) hurricanes to hit the United States. Researchers at Harvard’s Chan School of Public Health estimates that Maria’s death toll is over 5,000 people. Read the story here. Niner United will focus on long-term recovery, with a specific focus on rebuilding housing without insurance, emotional care for survivors and ongoing help with volunteer management, networking and advocacy.

Trip: March 2-9, 2019 – please do not schedule any activity for March 10 as we could experience flight delays that push our trip back.

Pre-Registration: Applications are open and will remain open until a significant number is on the waitlist. Applications are considered on a first come, first serve basis, so apply early.

Acceptance: Students are accepted on a rolling basis until all slots are full. A $50 deposit following acceptance confirms your spot.

December 1 – Required second payment

January 27th – Required Pre-Trip Meeting

January 30 – Full Payment: Full payment is due.

March 2: Depart from Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Students are required to make their own arrangements to the airport, such as a family member, friend, Uber, or Light Rail with Airport Sprinter Bus.

March 9: Return to Charlotte. Please don’t plan anything on March 10 – we may need this day for delays.

March 31: Required post-trip dinner with donors.

  • UNC Charlotte Class of 2022 and 2021 members: $500. The full trip amount is due by January 30. 
  • UNC Charlotte Class of 2020 members: $700. The full trip amount is due by January 30. 
  • UNC Charlotte Class of 2019 members: $850. The full trip amount is due by January 30. 

This includes roundtrip airfare from Charlotte Douglas International Airport to San Juan Puerto Rico, administration fees, bank fees, lodging, food, ground transpiration, mission supplies, and translation fees.  Additional discounts may include:

Additional Costs: Each student must purchase travel insurance, personal items, souvenirs purchased, personal snacks, meals at airports, and any personal protective gear (such as sleeping bag, gloves, etc.), costs associated with obtaining forms (such as seeing a doctor, filing prescriptions, or having a notary sign materials), and costs related to your personal travel (such as obtaining a government ID for TSA clearance (a driver’s license is sufficient), luggage, etc.). 

About the Travel Insurance: Everyone should travel with Medical ($50,000), Accident, and Repatriation Insurance. You will have to verify your coverage with Niner United. Please wait until the pre-trip meeting before purchasing this insurance. It will cost you between $20 – $55 depending on your health and age.

Fundraising: Finally, we want everyone who wants to go on this trip to go. Niner United will help you make and reach your fundraising goal so this trip moves from a possibility to reality.


Application: All students must first apply for the trip.

Deposits & Full Payment: All students must comply to deposit and full payment deadlines.

Trip Insurance: Everyone should travel with Medical ($50,000), Accident, and Repatriation Insurance. You will have to verify your coverage with Niner United. Please wait until the pre-trip meeting before purchasing this insurance.

Covenant: The trip application covers a behavioral covenant that students shall keep.

Active Participation: Student participants shall actively attend at least one weekly large gathering of Niner United (Wednesday Worship, Thursday Lunch & Praise, or Thursday Connect).

Pre-Trip Education: Student participants shall attend all pre-trip meetings and complete all pre and post-trip activities.

• Depending on the assignment and group size, the group will be staying at a Retreat Camp or a local church
• There will be bunks at the retreat sites. Please bring appropriate linens.
• There is no Internet service or Wi-Fi available in any of the camps.
• Teams staying at a local church will sleep in the sanctuary either on pews or on the floor. Please bring a small air mattress or crash pad, sleeping bag – depending on your needs.

• The kitchen will provide 3 meals and a snack for the group.
• Meals are not made to order, there can be no changes in the menu or special order – except for medical concerns.
• If a volunteer requires a special diet because of a medical condition, please request it at least 4 weeks prior to your arrival thru your team leader. All team members must eat together.

Power and water:
• To this date the three Retreat Camps have tap water. (Only for washing)
• Bottled Water: Is included in the daily costs.
• There is no power. The camps have a small generator for the fridge and fans.
• The generator is turned on from 6am-10am and from 6pm to 10pm
• Be prepared to use your flashlight and shower with cold water.
• Do not bring any electric small appliances. (ie. Hair dryers.) The sites cannot accommodate electrically assisted medical devices.

• Sunday Itinerary: The group will attend the Local Church Worship Service. o All services are in Spanish.
• Work Days: Install tarps, clean debris, “Shelter in Place” repairs (roof, windows, doors), cleaning, etc.

What to bring:
• It is suggested that personal items be kept to a minimum.
• One checked bag (50 lbs.) and one personal bag per person. (Space is limited)
• If carrying tools you are allowed to bring an additional bag. (Check with your leader)
• Work pants or jeans on project site
• Always t-shirts on work site – “cami-shirt” or “spaghetti strap shirt” for women or sleeveless shirts for men are not allowed.
• If a volunteer has heat sensitive skin, long sleeve shirts are recommended for work.
• Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
• Construction Boots or vibram-sole hiking shoes (Be conscious of the danger of nails in the floor)
• Appropriate outfit for church attendance: men-slacks, women-dress or long pants
• Comfortable clothes for evenings
• Little or no jewelry
• Comfortable walking shoes
• Don’t wear any tight or shorts. Long Bermuda-type shorts can be worn at the campsite.
• Flip-flops for shower
• Bathing suit (one piece)
• Insect repellent
• Flashlight and batteries
• Work gloves
• N-95 dust masks
• Detergent for hand laundry
• Linens: Twin Bed sheet set and light blanket (bunk bed) or sleeping bag
• Pillow
• Towel
• Small wash basin
• Water bottle
• Hygiene items/toiletries
• Money for buying non-budgeted items such as specific snacks, soft drinks or personal items
• We encourage teams to bring hand tools (hammers, pry bars, screw drivers, etc..) and cordless drills and saws. Your team leader will know which ones are needed. If you have access to any tools, let the team leader know.
• Consider a donation of your tools to the site to be used by other groups in the reconstruction of PR. This will help build up inventory.

Trip Syllabus 

Trip participants will travel to Puerto Rico well informed and prepared. Too often mission teams create their own disaster with a host of toxic issues. Niner United teams are prepared to reverse these trends. The materials in the syllabus are manageable for all participants and designed in a way that the learning is shared. All materials are available online or at the J. Murrey Atkins Library.

All Participants:

  • Watch: One-hour Frontline Video: Blackout in Puerto Rico
  • Read: Zorrilla, Carmen D. “The View from Puerto Rico — Hurricane Maria and Its Aftermath.” New England Journal of Medicine 377, no. 19 (October 11, 2017): 1801–3. (2 pages long)
  • Rodríguez-Díaz, Carlos E, PhD, MPHE, MCHES. “Maria in Puerto Rico: Natural Disaster in a Colonial Archipelago.” American Journal of Public Health 108, no. 1 (01, 2018): 30-32. (2 pages long)
  • Morris Zachary A., Hayward R. Anna, and Otero Yamirelis.The Political Determinants of Disaster Risk: Assessing the Unfolding Aftermath of Hurricane Maria for People with Disabilities in Puerto Rico. Environmental Justice.Volume: 11 Issue 2. Apr 2018.
UNC Charlotte Students Only: Pre-Register here at this link. We will determine your status with the university and once approved we will give you ways to pay (you can pay online, by check, or by Venmo) in three parts:


  1. Deposit of $50, please pay within 7 days of acceptance.
  2. $100 by December 1 (so $150 total due by December 1).
  3. Full payment due January 30.
  4. You always have the option of paying more than the minimum.

Apply to Go

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