Donors have been so dedicated with their support of Friends of Cozumel’s school supply effort and our partnership with Operation Cozumel Backpack/Shoes.
We’re grateful for generous souls like the George family and dozens of others who take time during brief cruise stops to bring a backpack of supplies to a drop-off point. They bring many of the specific supplies Cozumel schools require students to bring. See the list here.
But sometimes, donors include a few special items that don’t fit the standard list of learning materials. What happens to those extra notebooks, crayons and craft items? They certainly don’t go to waste—and they are very much appreciated by the young students served at the CAM (Centro de Atencion Multiple ) School. This school for children with mental or physical disabilities has more flexibility in using supplies that don’t meet the criterion of other public schools. Green ink pens? No problem. Pencil sharpeners that play a tune? The CAM School students love them.
“We’re so fortunate to be able to send our kids to school with no worries on how we will pay for their education and supplies,” said Natalie George who visited Cozumel in February with her family. “It’s fun to involve our girls, a six year old and 17 year old. And it’s rewarding to be able to help in a way that’s so valuable and appreciated.”
Friends of Cozumel volunteers got to see that appreciation first hand when they visited the CAM School to deliver crates of school supply donations. They met students and teachers who were thrilled with the surprise of fresh supplies of construction paper, composition books, glue-sticks, pencils, erasers and backpacks.
Like CAM Laboral, the CAM School for younger students doesn’t receive government funding for any school supplies or teaching materials. Families are asked to provide what’s needed—everything from writing paper to toilet paper. According to the school director, only 10 of the 73 families served have been able to make contributions that ranged $20 to $100 pesos (about $1.20 to $5.50 US).
CAM teachers identified the children from families with the greatest need to receive the most recent Friends of Cozumel donations. The students were all smiles. One offered up an English word of thanks. “Wow,” she said when she saw her brightly colored backpack. The teachers were also pleased when each received an identical, high quality executive pen—all contributed by an anonymous donor.
Before the FOC volunteers departed, they took a look at classrooms they helped renovate in 2008. The rooms were clean, organized and well-used.
Thank you to the hundreds of donors who make it possible for the CAM School to continue its work. If you’ll be visiting Cozumel in the future and could accommodate a few donations in your luggage, please contact us. If you bring then, we’ll put them into the hands of children in need. Muchas gracias. ~ Phyllis from Nebraska