Transforming Spaces Becomes a Reality

 Dramatic makeovers are not just limited to reality TV shows. Friends of Cozumel (FOC) volunteers transformed a “bodega” storage space into a sensory therapy room for special needs children served by Corazones Unidos (means United Hearts).

The therapy center was previously known as “Casita Corazon”. It was founded by Carrie’s Heart, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in Houston, Texas dedicated to improving the education, community involvement and overall quality of life of children with disabilities worldwide. Corazones Unidos is now an independent Mexican “civil” (non-profit) organization that serves 8-12 youth, some of whom are severely impacted by multiple disabilities. Therapists work as a team with family members to provide therapy for the children three times a week.

Carlos, lead therapist, met with FOC volunteers to share his vision of transforming a disorganized storage area you could hardly walk through into a multi-use sensory therapy room that includes a gym, sensory board and light therapy.

BEFORE photos:

The room had become a depository for excess items

The ball pit was unusable in its current state


The team had recently moved to this location with no time to finish organizing


The team had a daunting challenge but jumped into the process by cleaning out and organizing items stored in the room, designing the room layout, acquiring materials needed, constructing and installing the therapy equipment.

DURING—work in progress photos:

Sandy, Dianne and Lee work on gluing foam letters to backing prior to installation

Paddi and John discussed the layout of sensory items to be attached to the board

Assembly team

Mike and Larry assembling ladder for the gym


A Ball Therapy Pit was located in the corner surrounded by foam mats with letters in bright colors and extra padding installed to protect the children from sharp edges or corners. The Sensory Board mounted under the window was created using a wide array of colors, shapes and textures for children to feel and experience. A “lap top” sensory board was constructed using common hardware items (slides, latches, knobs, etc.) to further develop children’s fine motor skills.

AFTER-the results photos:

Assembly team

The assembly team working to install everything

Ball pit

The ball pit and foam letters were placed in the corner


The gym will help children develop muscle strength and balance

The sensory board is completed and ready for the children

Special “black out” curtains were made for the windows. Black lights will be utilized for special light therapy sessions. The gym design containing a hanging ladder, overhead bars and hanging balance swings was inspired from an idea Carlos found on Pinterest.

The room is completed and ready for the children

The therapy team is excited to put these new tools to work with the children. Many thanks and congratulations to the team of volunteers who contributed their time and talent to make this transformation a reality: Sandy Ham, team leader, with volunteers Mike and Hettie Legg, Lee and Dianne Wilson, John Killoran, Paddi Davies, Larry Pedersen, and Ilene Kendrick.

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