Dozens of volunteers attended a planning and orientation meeting in Cozumel this week to prepare for Friends of Cozumel’s summer mission week. It’s one of three missions that takes place each year. The goal is to execute a number of projects focused on education as well as strengthening families and the community.
This summer’s project list targets families with limited resources and children with special needs:
1. Distribute backpacks, school supplies and shoes to nearly 500 children
2. Assemble 100 additional packets of school supplies for children recommended by DIF social services
3. Provide water therapy and a pool party for Centro De Autismo for children with autism
4. Conduct basic health screening for seniors by checking vital signs, testing blood pressure and sugar levels, and offering consultation to those with abnormal numbers
5. Conduct basic vision tests and provide reading glasses to seniors
6. Hold a Gran Bazar to provide affordable clothing, shoes and household items
7. Provide crafts and other activities for Vida Abundante’s Vacation Bible School
8. Hold sewing workshops
This summer’s FOC volunteers are a diverse group of nearly 50 people. Some have been volunteering with FOC for years; others are experiencing Mexico for the first time. Some live right here on the island; others come from Delaware, Maryland, Texas, North Carolina, Nebraska and Iowa as well as Merida and Valladolid in Mexico. Ages range from 13 to “don’t ask—it’s well beyond 60.” Some are English speakers, others speak only Spanish and some use both. Some join the effort as individuals; others are part of a group like the 11 visitors from the Worldwide Christian Scuba Divers Organization. Some represent a church and others don’t. And a few start many weeks in advance to make preparations while others have only one day available to volunteer.
Despite their differences, all FOC volunteers have one thing in common: a commitment to service.
“It’s my first time in Cozumel and it’s just beautiful,” said James from Delaware. “I just wanted to help those who are less fortunate than I am. My size may be intimidating at first—I’m seven feet tall—but I hope the kids here will be comfortable once they get to know me.”
Veteran volunteer Byron from Texas knows what to expect.
“It’s going to be hot and there’s always the language barrier, but that all falls away once you get into it,” he said.
We’re gearing up for hard work, long hours and sweaty situations, hoping it will result in a positive and lasting impact. Check back here in the next couple of weeks. We’ll share the progress of these projects with you.
~ Phyllis from Nebraska