I am the co-founder of The KKIS Project (Keeping Kids in School) and spend two days a week teaching English with other volunteers at a school set up by the social services agency in our town of Playa del Carmen, Mexico for kids who for various reasons are not eligible to attend public school. The school is for children aged 10 – 17, some of which have never been to school, others have been removed from their family situations and are protected, some have immigration problems or simply don’t have the necessary papers like a birth certificate. Of the 40 students we are tutoring in English, two do not know the alphabet in Spanish and don’t know how to write. These challenges are huge, but the loyal KKIS volunteers rise to the occasion every Tuesday and Thursday to spend time with these children.
A week ago I drew a huge flower pattern in pencil on a sheet of matt board and cut it into 5 X 5 inch squares and gave each of the children a square to fill in with color. We gave them colored markers, crayons, and colored pencils which had all been donated to the cause. Volunteers sat with 3 or 4 kids and talked about flowers, bees, colors, family, food, etc. while they colored. I had numbered the squares and took them to my studio where I assembled the finished product and returned the next class day to show them the result of their “team building” exercise. It was great! They identified their squares and admired the collected product then posed for photos.