Children with Disabilities

Friends of Cozumel expanded our volunteer efforts in the fall of 2008 to partner with organizations that support children with disabilities and their families. People with disabilities, especially children with special needs, often seem to be hidden in the community. However, what we’ve discovered is a very dedicated group of visiting volunteers and sponsors as well as local educators and therapists with a passion for helping these special children and their families enhance their quality of life. Meeting and working with the families as well as the dedicated volunteers and staff of the organizations below is incredibly inspirational and personally rewarding!

La Promesa

The CAM (Centro de Atencion Multiple) Schoolis Cozumel’s only special educational facility exclusively for children with mental, physical and/or behavioral disabilities. The school sponsors two programs . . . manual skills workshops for 30+ young adults ages 14-22 and a traditional school classroom setting for 80+ young children ages 3 months – 13 years of age. Both programs currently operate in the afternoons only.

Friends of Cozumel partners with CAM in several ways . . . to identify and promote the need for donations of teaching/learning resources and special equipment, to connect donors and visitors with the school and to organize volunteers to conduct special projects. Numerous projects to benefit CAM students and teachers were completed during the February 2010 Mission Trip.

For more information about the CAM school, stories about the children or to learn about volunteer efforts to support the school click here.

Carrie's Heart

Carrie’s Heart is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Houston, Texas dedicated to supporting educational and community programs for children with disabilities worldwide.

Carrie’s Heart currently sponsors the basic medical, nutritional, personal care and physical therapy needs for several Cozumel children with severe disabilities so they can live a life of dignity, without suffering from malnutrition and lack of medical care.

Carrie’s Heart partnered with Friends of Cozumel volunteers who participated in Mission Project Work in October 2009 to provide each of these children custom adaptive equipment constructed specially for their physical therapy and personal care needs. Our partnership continues in 2010 with the focus on special projects to benefit families of children with disabilities…constructing home accommodations, clothing/food distributions, identifying community resources and services to help the families.

For more information about Carrie’s Heart, to meet these special young people or learn about current projects to support them click here.

Volunteers helping

Rancho Universo is a local nonprofit effort that provides equine therapy for young children with various disabilities. The ranch also serves as a horse sanctuary for rescued horses.

Liliana Velasco-Ariza, equine therapy specialist, is passionate about her lifework helping children with disabilities experience the unique results horse riding therapy can provide such as strengthening and toning muscles, increased mobility, release of pain and other physical, psychological and emotional benefits.

Friends of Cozumel February 2011 mission volunteers coordinated arrangements with the CAM school to identify students with disabilities who can benefit from riding therapy, provided transportation to the ranch and volunteers to assist with therapy sessions. We hope this will become an ongoing effort to recruit and train volunteers needed for the therapy to reach as many children with disabilities as possible.

For more information about Rancho Universo’s horse riding therapy, volunteer needs and donations needed to support these efforts click here.