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UCF Restores Opens A Clinic To Serve The Needs Of Displaced Puerto Rican Families

Puerto Rico National Guard by Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Puerto Rican families displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma can get free counseling at the newly opened UCF Restores clinic. The clinic located at the Episcopal Church of Jesus of Nazareth is staffed by therapists sensitive to the needs of the community. 

Therapists at the Azalea Park clinic tailor counseling to individual adult patients’ needs. The program’s founder Deborah Beidel says this might include treatment for PTSD, depression and anxiety, or marital problems caused by the storms.

“We’re ready to go and we’re going to start seeing people Thursday. We’re ready to see everyone. We’re hoping to see at least 100 throughout the year.”

She says  the clinic will also roll out an online training program for teachers and clergy to identify children suffering from trauma in the community.

Father Jose Rodriguez says everyone is welcome at the clinic.

“At the church our doors are open to anyone. This is open to anyone. You don’t have to be a Christian, you don’t have to be Episcopalian. I don’t really care. Whoever you are, if you are in need, please come and we will welcome you and provide you the full services that are available.”

Rodriguez says the church already operates a clothing and food pantry for recently relocated families. The original UCF Restores clinic on the university campus serves first responders’ and veterans’ mental health needs.