Daily Archives: February 2, 2018

CAM Laboral School Welcomes Volunteers – Feb. 3, 2018

Ten students in crisp, red chef’s hats and their teachers greeted Friends of Cozumel volunteers into their cooking class.

Students in the CAM Laboral cooking class are grateful for donations of ingredients that allow them to learn different cooking methods.

“When visitors come in they get to practice social and language skills,” said Nayeli, the CAM Laboral psychologist. “Everyone is welcome here because it’s important for classes to learn values, empathy and friendship.”

CAM Laboral is a school for young people with special physical or developmental needs. The 22 students enrolled this year range in age from 17 to 25.

“When we see they can practice social skills here,” Nayeli said, “they’re ready to practice them in their community.”

Lorie helps students measure ingredients.

Students worked together to make a recipe provided by FOC volunteer Ilene. A sighted student helped a visually impaired student make their way to the stove to help stir the mixture. Another student received applause from their peers after measuring an ingredient correctly. And all of them shared the anticipation of being able to taste their success once the cookies were done.

Here’s the recipe they made:

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

No-bake cookie dough.

3 cups oatmeal
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick of butter

Mix all ingredients except oatmeal and vanilla together. Boil one minute. Remove from heat. Quickly stir in oatmeal and vanilla and quickly drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto wax paper. Cool and enjoy.

Thanks to donors who provide ingredients.

Add a little friendship to your list of cooking ingredients.

The hardest part is waiting to eat the cookies.

Anne’s CAM School Experience:

“After a late night offering repurposing/recycling workshops at Vida Abundante Church, I was part of a group to head out the following morning at 7:30 for our next community activity. We went to the CAM school for young people to share some new class projects with them.

While half the students worked on no-bake cookies with half our team, my group helped the rest of the students decorate a cloth cinch bag. Using paints and rubber stamps, the students created lovely bags in cheerful colors. I was able to refresh my Spanish vocabulary with words for paint colors, and the students learned a few English words such as “seahorse” and “palm tree.”

After about an hour and a half, the groups switched places, so, by the time we left a couple of hours later, all the students had done both projects.

I was touched, once again, by the warmth of the lovely people of Cozumel and by generosity of the Friends of Cozumel.”  ~ Anne from Illinois

A student paints a stamp to press onto her cloth bag.

Lynn helps a student see his project with his hands.

Lori (center) helps a student.

Thanks to donors who contributed stamps and paints students used to create personalized cinch bags. “The kids loved it and showed they could produce a beautiful keepsake,” said volunteer Hettie.

~ Phyllis from Nebraska

Imagination Turns Trash into Possibilities–Feb. 2, 2018


Larry explains a project using repurposed silverware, keys and pallet wood.

Search the Internet for old and new, and you’ll find sayings like “Old ways won’t open new doors.”

Friends of Cozumel volunteers took that to heart by providing three repurposing workshops where seniors and families with children used old things to create something new.

Larry, one of FOC’s organizers, explained the idea of using reclaimed items for different purposes to the participants and showed project prototypes made by volunteers.

“Use tuna cans, plastic bottles, wood pallets, old t-shirts or things you might find in the trash to make something different and useful for your home,” he said. “Use your imagination.”

Lorie and Sue help a workshop participant make a survival candle.

Participants were enthusiastic about using the tools and materials provided by FOC. They worked on projects such as a towel rack or toilet paper holder from wood pallets; a survival candle from reclaimed wax, cardboard and tin cans; and no-sew market bag from old t-shirts.

Prior to the workshops, FOC volunteers gathered the necessary materials by visiting the recycling center, asking local residents for cast off items, and perusing trash heaps.

An example of turning trash into something useful came from a Cozumel property manager who donated a bag of more than 100 keys taken out of commission when locks were changed. At the repurposing workshops, the keys were bent into hooks for the towel racks.

“Use the keys for whatever, but I don’t want any of them back,” property manager Kelly said. “Thanks for taking them off my hands.”

First-time FOC volunteer Sue said the workshop was an education for her as well as the participants.

Workshop participants learned by doing.

“I learned that we have too many things that we don’t really need,” she said. “People here use and reuse everything. They find a way. And they were wonderful to work with—so kind and family-oriented.”

Participants were proud of their finished projects, but they left with something even more valuable: the knowledge that they could put their imagination to work to create something new from something old.

“Thank you for this beautiful experience,” said Teresa, a participant at the DIF Senior Center. “We look with our eyes and we see possibilities. We can make things for ourselves.”

~ Phyllis from Nebraska

Voila–an old t-shirt is now a new bag.

Market bags were made from old t-shirts.

Knots were tied to close the bottoms of the no-sew bags.

Proud builder of a new key and towel rack.

Even the smallest scraps of wood were turned into something meaningful.

A happy crowd at Vida Abundante Church show their finished repurposing projects.

Marta proudly shows her new toilet paper holder to Pastora Mariela.