by Lisa Love Juliot (August 2013)
KKIS, "Keep Kids in School," is a group of American and Canadian women who dedicate their time to help children with limited resources to stay in school and to learn English: a must for future job seekers in the tourism-dependent economy of the Riviera Maya.
In 2012, KKIS managed to deliver school supplies, purchase uniforms, donate English language teaching materials, and purchase playground equipment to assist the children and families of Playa del Carmen. So far in 2013 they have donated school supplies to over 350 children and helped many families keep their children in school, thanks to the help of many faithful volunteers.
The KKIS "Keeping Kids in Schools" initiative was created with the simple mission of helping to keep kids enrolled in school by supplying uniforms, providing school supplies and backpacks, securing English language materials for the classroom and providing volunteers for the classrooms to help students learn English.
At this time, KKIS is currently helping children at three different schools. This may not seem like much but that they have made it this far is truly remarkable. This nonprofit organization has grown because of the spirit and dedication these brave women have put into it. They have dedicated their time to actively reach out to the community, while running into many closed doors and dead ends. They keep putting themselves out there to identify those children who need assistance to stay in school and to find schools that will accept the help that they so selflessly offer in helping students to learn English.
This year they have been able to help some of the students at the Junior High in the Colosio neighborhood of Playa del Carmen, thanks to the help of the school's music teacher.
KKIS is in the process of working with the local Rotary Chapter, "Rotary Playa del Carmen Seaside," to acquire nonprofit status so they will be able to offer tax deductions for donations. This critical step will hopefully inspire more businesses to get involved with this noble cause. The local Rotary is also working with KKIS to collect used computers and laptops. The Brillo Corporation has developed free software to help children learn English. This software was developed with the intention of bringing English language studies to small and/or impoverished communities that would not otherwise have access to English language materials. The software is free for participating schools but needs to be downloaded into a PC computer, a luxury few schools can afford. If you have a used computer or laptop you would like to donate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
For families to participate in KKIS and receive school supplies, or a sponsorship that includes school supplies, uniform and two pairs of shoes, they must fill out an application form and provide proof of income. As of now there is no income limit and no one that has applied and turned in the necessary information has been turned away. This information is used to keep track of who is in the program and to help KKIS volunteers identify communities with special needs.
Careful bookkeeping and inventory is a full-time job when you are dealing with this many school supplies! Keeping track of a community of low income children in a town that has many transient workers is also a daunting task that requires many phone calls and time dedicated to beating the streets looking for people.
The KKIS nonprofit organization needs space desperately! Right now they are working out of the garage of one of the volunteers.
Their long-term goal is to have an office/storage space where they could keep school supplies stockpiled, where families could come to fill out their applications, and where they could return to pick up their school supplies and eventually certificates for school uniforms and shoes as well.
What can you do to help KKIS achieve their goal!?
DONATE SCHOOL SUPPLIES!
- reams of paper
- colored paper (packs of 100 sheets)
- glue sticks
- scientific calculators
- USB sticks so children can go to Internet cafes to do homework
- boxes of 24 colored pencils
- geometry sets,
used PC computers and laptops
PACK A BACKPACK WITH SCHOOL SUPPLIES!
and bring it with you on your next trip to Playa del Carmen. The drop-off point for school supplies is at the SNORKEL SHOP on the way to Mamitas beach, on the right-hand side of Calle 28, almost at the beach, just past the SCUBA shop. Or email email@example.com to make other arrangements.
DONATE YOUR SKILLS!
KKIS needs your special skill! Are you a designer? Marketing specialist? Are you a fantastic record keeper? Can you help to organize school supplies and pack backpacks? Are you bilingual and willing to contact different community organizations? Can you fundraise? Whatever your special skill is, your time and donation will be very well received!
Do you have an apartment, office space or storage space that KKIS could use as a headquarters?
SPONSOR A STUDENT!
For a one-time donation of 150 USD you can sponsor a student to go to school for a whole school year. Your donation buys a child 2 pairs of shoes, school uniforms, and a backpack filled with an English-Spanish dictionary, scientific calculator, a ream of paper, 6 sewn homework notebooks, a geometry set, glue sticks, pens, pencils, a pencil case, a USB stick and more. You can make your cash donation via PayPal at https://sites.google.com/site/kkisproject2.
VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME!
Spend an hour or two a week reading and playing with kids to help them learn English! This part of the KKIS program is, so far, limited to three classrooms. To keep the program running for these classrooms, 15 volunteers are needed and MANY MORE are needed for the program to expand!! Set aside an hour or two of your vacation to spend with local children. You are guaranteed to learn just as much from them as they will learn from you! This program will begin again in October; be sure not to miss out in the fun!
DONATE ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNING MATERIALS!
Any English language learning materials, for any age group, would be helpful!
- lesson plans