Students displaced by Hurricane Maria use Osceola music initiative to heal

By Paula Machado, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 6:01 PM EDT

Students displaced by Hurricane Maria continue to arrive in Osceola County from all over the Caribbean.

But one thing brings them all together, no matter where they're from or what language they speak — music.

  • Osceola schools implement 'Music Helps Heal' initiative
  • Program meant for student displaced by Hurricane Maria
  • Find out how to help Music Helps Heal initiative

"Music for me is like forgetting all, all the disaster in Puerto Rico," said Eduard Santiago Rosado, who was displaced by Hurricane Maria.

He was forced to leave his whole life behind.

"I didn't want to come to Florida. I only (had) to come because the hurricane (passed) -- some difficult things happen in my family," Eduard said.

But when the music plays, Eduard can just be a kid.

It all feels better, because music helps heal — that's what the Osceola County School District is calling its new initiative to help students transition into their new lives.

"They're here and they're able to say wow, this is something I did back in Puerto Rico, and it may bring back positive memories,” said Edwin Imer Santiago, the director of Osceola County School for the Arts’ jazz band.

“It might help close the gap — I'm in this new part of the world, and I didn't plan to come here," he added.

The district is raising money to buy new instruments or have ones donated. They'll be placed in the hands of students like Eduard, who won't let anything interrupt his beat.

"Continue following the dreams I have," Eduard said.

To find out how you can help through the Music Helps Heal initiative, visit its website.