2013 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
||Sister Sonia I. Meléndez-Miray
The San Juan Division honors Sister Sonia I. Meléndez-Miray, director of San Agustin Del Coqui, Inc. (SAC, Inc.), a non-profit organization established in 1995 to help young victims of abuse and neglect in Puerto Rico.
Since 1995, Sister Sonia and fellow nuns have helped thousands of young victims of abuse and neglect who have been placed in foster homes. The sisters work to ensure these children avoid the second wounds of abuse—abuse from foster parents, case mishandling by government agencies, or problems at school. In 2012, SAC, Inc. opened Centro Acogida San Agustin (C.A.S.A), a center to care for abused and neglected children after they are removed from abusive environments. At the C.A.S.A., children are offered educational, social, nutritional, recreational, and cultural opportunities. The sisters offer workshops for biological and foster parents, as well as for social case workers who interact directly with the children.
Under Sister Sonia’s leadership, SAC, Inc. has provided thousands of children with educational workshops to help them cope with their emotions and begin the healing process. Other educational workshops are specifically designed for young people ages 16-21 to prepare them for independent life once they are no longer part of the social services system.
In addition to her work with children, Sister Sonia is a certified family mediator, a certified hostage negotiator, and is a licensed investigator for the Puerto Rico Humane Society, working to stop cruelty toward animals.