Its only cost is your time, but first-timers and veterans agree: volunteering for Friends of Cozumel projects makes you feel good. Whether you’re here for just a few hours on a cruise shore stop or a longer visit , opportunities are available to meet island residents, share your skills and make a difference that you won’t soon forget.
Rick and Darla from New York volunteered for half a day while their cruise ship stopped in Cozumel. Darla helped with sewing and Rick jumped into the recycling workshop at the senior center. Spanish wasn’t needed—just patience and good humor. They said this was the best shore excursion they’d ever been on—and it was free. “Thank you for sharing your passion with us,” wrote Darla after their departure. “We had a great time and certainly have a deep admiration for all the hard work you do.
Kristin from North Carolina, a long-time Friends of Cozumel volunteer and donor, helped with the entire mission week including a Learn To Snorkel class. “It was incredibly moving to know that a child lives so close to the beach yet has not experienced life under the sea,” she said. “To watch their first time experience of fear of swimming turned to joy at seeing the colorful fish was priceless.”
Ilene, a long-time volunteer and FOC organize visits several times a year from Texas. “Volunteering in Cozumel is like resetting my clock. It reminds me of just how blessed I am, no matter what circumstances I have been through. I have never met a group of people who appreciate more. Each year brings new and exciting opportunities to share our knowledge with people who are so eager to learn and to improve their situation.”
First time volunteer Anna from Delaware took part in the CREW team’s ministry activities at the prison. “It was an amazing day at the prison today—baptisms, worship, prayers with women and men. The beauty of it all was overwhelming.”
Larry, a Friends of Cozumel organizer and long-time volunteer from Iowa, now lives in Cozumel. “It was great to see 14 people being so receptive to our ideas at the senior center re-purposing workshop. The majority of the participants were women and many had an initial reluctance to use some of the tools, especially the cordless drills. But, with just a little encouragement they were ready and willing to learn to use them. Soon, they were changing bits and driving in screws as if they’d been doing it forever. The pride they exhibited when the projects were finished was fantastic. When I explained to one woman that we unfortunately were out of materials to make a certain project she told me ‘It’s Ok. You’ve given me the idea and now I can find my own materials and make it myself.’ That’s exactly what our goal was—to open their eyes to possibilities to re-purpose items for their home. Of course, they all wanted to know when the next workshop will be. We’ve learned that adults are just as eager to learn as the children.”
Larry speaks for many of us helping with FOC projects who feel you often get more than you give. “The beautiful thing about doing volunteer projects like this is that the reward always goes two ways,” he said. “Participants benefit with the finished product, whether it’s a material item, a new experience or learning something. And those who help gain a greater insight through volunteering.”
Ilene agrees. “We all get a reality check and realize just how blessed we are not only by what we have and where we live, but through the opportunities to share. Byron and I don’t have a lot of resources, but the little we have been able to share has been such an incredible blessing for us. I have never in my whole life received so many hugs and kisses from people I don’t know, and I love it!” ~ Phyllis from Nebraska