Local and visiting volunteers gathered yesterday to learn about Friends of Cozumel projects they’ll take on in the coming week. They renewed friendships forged more than 10 years ago in the group’s early years and celebrated the new volunteer amigos met just 10 minutes prior. It’s easy to create a bond when people share the same interest in working lado a lado, or side by side, to strengthen the Cozumel community and its families.
Susanna, an island resident and returning volunteer, helped distribute backpacks of school supplies to children in need last summer. She enjoyed interacting with the children and chose to return for the winter mission week.
“I find Friends of Cozumel to be an organization that really helps many people on this island,” she said. “And they try to keep children in school—even past high school—with supplies and scholarships. Too often the education ends at a young age and that just continues the cycle of poverty.”
This mission week will continue FOC’s focus on connecting people and resources to support learning for youth and adults, help those with disabilities, support families that need assistance and to strengthen the community as a whole.
Some of the week’s projects include:
– a series of sewing workshops teaching skills that could lead to creation of an income stream for a family
– painting home exteriors for owners with physical disabilities
– replacing a roof for a family in distress
– painting the interior of newly constructed Vida Abundante church
– teaching craft classes at a school for youth with mental and physical disabilities
– installing an audio booth for an organization that helps with hearing loss
– providing interaction and a fiesta for children with Autism
– gathering food for families in need
– sorting and preparing school supply donations
– some special faith-based projects
Some FOC volunteers work year-round while others participate for the designated mission week, or even for just a day while coming ashore from a cruise. For example, this year we will welcome 35 volunteers from a cruise sponsored by K-LOVE who have chosen a day of service with FOC for their shore excursion. For this mission week, FOC anticipates working with about 30 volunteers.
Time, energy and gifts from donors and volunteers are put to good use during mission week. When asked why she is coming back to help for her sixth year, Dee from Delaware didn’t hesitate.
“Why return? Because every time I leave here, half my heart stays,” she said. “It’s like a home away from home.”
Stay tuned to our upcoming blog posts to see how the work is going. We appreciate your interest and welcome your comments. — Phyllis from Nebraska