We have been pretty focused, these days, on what is going on in the community of Playa del Carmen; and have already touched upon a few ways to contribute while living or spending a considerable amount of time here. But today I want to talk about a specific organization that is making great strides to help out the kids here in Playa del Carmen.
Keeping Kids in School
A group of expats have set up and organization called the Keeping Kids in School Project (KKIS) and is geared towards helping the kids of Playa del Carmen to be prepared and stay in school. Among their many efforts throughout the year, the team of KKIS is now focused on packing backpacks full of school supplies for children who come from low income families. This effort started out with just a few neighborhoods and has spread throughout Playa del Carmen.
How does the KKIS Backpacks for Kids project operate?
The families are asked to fill out a form with basic information about the family, their income and about the children. In this case, the organization is working to help low income families who may not be able to afford all the necessary supplies which is why income is considered. The families are asked to list the supplies that are required for the upcoming school year for their children.
Based on age and grade level, the needed items may be different. Some examples of supplies that are being gathered are lined spiral notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, calculators, dictionaries, geometry sets, colored paper, colored pencils, scissors, pencil cases, and of course backpacks! The group works in an extremely organized fashion and this is thanks to a number of volunteers that show up in a local garage ever week, where the items are stored. They usually spend a couple of hours at a time and can accomplish a great deal within that time!
Giving a Hand
We are proud to have joined KKIS by volunteering our time to help pull all this together. With about six people we each have a station. There is one bag or each child or in some cases family. The bag with the correct name is pulled and ready to be stuffed. Janet pulls the applications one by one and reads off exactly what needs to go inside to the team. The person designated to that station pulls the supplies and puts them into the bag. This is truly a perfect example of a team effort!
Once the bag is stuffed it is put to the side in its appropriate spot and next to any others who are in the same family. The second step in the process is to then transfer the items in each bag to a designated backpack for each child. And finally the backpacks are delivered weekly to a different neighborhood.
This will continue to be an ongoing weekly effort from now until school starts with backpacks being delivered to different families every weekend! We are thrilled to see such a meaningful effort being handled by our fellow friends and expats here in Playa del Carmen.
The families of the children are deeply appreciative with the efforts of KKIS. I would like to share with you a short email that was sent to me by Janet Lowe who is helping to direct this operation. This will surely put a smile on your face!
“Yesterday was our first delivery. It went to the El Peten neighborhood, north and west of Playa del Carmen, a working class area. We met the families that had filed applications with us last January. Three cars of volunteers arrived at the park where some families were waiting for us. Marilou processed the paperwork, the rest of us found the correct backpack for each child, talked with the families and took photos. It was 3:00 pm and very hot. Soon a bicycle cart appeared at the curb and water ices were served to us all. When I went to thank the man he explained that this is the family business and thanked us for helping his three children. He asked if we would be in the park again today and when I said yes, he promised to be there also. I love Mexico!”
– Janet Lowe
How Can You Help?
If you would like to contribute to this organization either by volunteering your time or helping to donate school supplies please contact find the KKIS project on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-KKIS-Project/230592130368921 and send them a message. There you will also find many other projects and efforts that they are working on to help the kids in the community!
-by Bea Lozano