How do we help students continue their education when so much is unknown? Being flexible and willing to change what, when and how we provide support is the key this year.
One thing we DO know – More families need help this year due to the economic impact of COVID-19. Friends of Cozumel is making these six changes:
- Increase the number of students to receive school supplies to 600-650.
- Reduce face-to-face contact with families. Inscripcion/registration is in process now via WhatsApp and phone calls. Distribution of supplies will respect social distance guidelines with supplies pre packed to reduce distribution time.
- Postpone distribution of school supplies from July to mid-August if schools open in August or September. If classes are online, may postpone until a later date.
- Purchase supplies locally and online using cash donations vs. receiving “in kind” donations of supplies brought by visitors. The dramatic reduction of tourists the past five months has resulted in us seeking other ways to gather school supplies.
- Help families access information and register online for government provided scholarships to pay prepa (high school) tuition. UQROO (local public university) is offering free tuition for the fall semester. These two federal programs encourage students to continue their education and will impact the type of financial support we offer through the Friends of Cozumel scholarship program.
- Rely on local volunteers vs. visiting mission volunteers. Although we have a small core team of experienced volunteers who hope to travel here in August to help distribute supplies, we will rely primarily on local volunteers to carry out this year’s efforts.
Thanks to the generous donations that we have received this year, we are able to increase the number of students we serve by approximately 20%.