Friends of Cozumel couldn’t serve the hundreds of people in need that they do without strong partnerships. Visiting groups of volunteers contribute not only time and energy, they spread the word and donate much needed supplies and project funds.
This year, FOC forged a new collaboration with Christian media ministry K-LOVE and the international Christian nonprofit Premier Foundation.
K-LOVE is widely known for its broadcast radio ministry. The Premier Foundation works to empower the disadvantaged to be agents of change in their own communities world-wide. The two organizations collaborated to offer a Caribbean cruise with stops in Belize and Cozumel this week.
One of the shore excursion options chosen by 36 of the K-LOVE cruise passengers was yesterday’s day of service with Friends of Cozumel. While the Premier Foundation has supported projects in Cozumel since 2012, this was their first time to work with FOC.
“This was a blessing to us,” said Gene, the Premier Foundation president. “When you do these missions around the world, it’s difficult to find people you can trust to be efficient, cost effective and resourceful. We found that here.”
Visitors volunteered for a variety of FOC projects with supplies funded by Premier. They worked side by side with FOC volunteers, local church families and pastors.
One team gave newly constructed Vida Abundante Church its first coat of interior paint while others installed eight ceiling fans. A second coat of paint will be done by another visiting group in February—the Worldwide Christian Scuba Divers.
Another team painted the home exteriors of three church neighbors that had been power washed a couple days earlier by FOC volunteers.
One neighbor uses a wheel chair, another is visually impaired, and the third neighbor has ongoing health issues while providing daily care for grandchildren.
A third team painted three handicap access signs to mark access to home and VA church entrances.
“We’re glad to be here to help,” said Robert from Oklahoma. “I’m having a good time in my first visit to Cozumel.”
Other volunteers visited CAM Laboral and CAM Secondaria to tour the schools and interact with students with various disabilities. During an FOC-led art class at Laboral, students painted an original canvas with their interpretation of a sea, sky and beach landscape using stamps of the sea creatures of their choice.
“The students were very excited and interested and interacted freely with the volunteers,” said Hettie, an FOC volunteer. “They enjoyed the chance to show their art.”
Then volunteers got even more active, running relays and playing soccer with the students. And of course like teens everywhere, they wanted to take selfies with their new friends.
“This was so amazing,” said Amanda from Maryland. “I love seeing the kids’ faces and how they light up. They’re learning English—it’s so impressive—but they’re also so humble.”
Amanda’s husband Carl agreed that it was a great experience.
“They were just pouring hugs on us,” he said.
The busy day was capped off with an afternoon performance painting by K-LOVE artist Jared Emerson. Volunteers as well as others from the neighborhood attended the performance, watching as a painting of Christ emerged from the painter’s fingertips in less than eight minutes.
The visiting group of cruise volunteers were enthusiastic, energetic and generous with their time and love—a great example of what a new partnership can accomplish. Thank you to the volunteers, to K-Love and to the Premier Foundation. ~ Phyllis from Nebraska
Click on the photos below to see a larger version.