Posted by Annette Weiland on May 12, 2017
Computer LabThe Rotary District 5810 had a successful International Project visit to CAM Laboral (Centro De Attencion Multiple). This is a school for children ages 12-18 (some older because they are allowed to stay) who have multiple attention or sensory problems, like blindness, deafness, autism, and many other issues.  We made our first stop here to see the work of the International Grant between the Greenville, Tx Rotary Club and the Cozumel Rotary Club, phase II of the completion of the Computer Lab.
The students greeted us wearing their daily uniform, white Rotary shirts and black pants.  After many government dignitaries and Rotarians including the Incoming District Governor of Mexico, District 5810 Governor Bill Dendy and the Rotary International President’s Representative Sunil Sharma spoke about the relationship between our countries and our Rotarians, we toured the facility where the students decorated cookies, made baskets, and showed us their new computer lab with Rotary International wheel emblems embedded in the wall décor and on the desks.
Back BacksDISTRICT 5810 BACKPACKS & WHEELCHAIRS:  On our planning meeting in March before we took our District cruise, we asked Alex Franco and Ernesto Alvarez of Cozumel Rotary Club to find out what the CAM School children needed.  They provided us a list of school supplies needed and requested each child get identical items.  We did that and one step better, the District purchased District 5810 backpacks for all students (35) and those were brought by our Rotarians to the cruise ship for delivery to Cozumel on the day of our service project.  It was an emotional time when many of our Rotarians took the stage in a line and handed the backpacks off to eager students, hugging and laughing as we saw the joy on their faces to receive such wonderful gifts. 
There were 6 wheelchairs brought, 5 from an organization called Faith In Action that David Weiland picked up and Regina Edwards shipped down with her Jamaica crates and put on the cruise ship. The wheelchairs were joined the day of our Cozumel project by a “Special” wheelchair that Dawn Cruzan brought from Dallas.  It was a red pediatric wheelchair that she was given from a family who had lost their young son who was killed in Dallas and they wanted only to make sure that wheelchair was put to good use somewhere. 
A word to that family, we promise it made a huge impact on the lives of a person and a family in Cozumel, Mexico!  We presented the wheelchairs to two recipients while at CAM, from old tattered wheelchairs that were decades old, to more recent models that they can be more comfortable in going forward.  It was an emotional time when those precious human beings were lifted into their new wheelchairs.
Humane Society – Water project:  The first bus with about 40 Rotarians arrived at the Cozumel Humane Society on the South end of the island where the city does not provide utilities, no sewer, no running water at all.  Approximately 300 people live in this area around the Humane Society and must go into the city of Cozumel to buy water at an expense that is approximately ½ of their daily wage for one jug of water.  Many of them do not buy the water, they use contaminated water to cook and drink. 
The Humane Society owns the land the building is on and that is very important, because it will help move a water project quicker because the state does not own the land.  The Humane Society buys their water from the trucks that deliver water there, but it is too expensive for the locals who live there in shacks, or some in the jungle. 
When we arrived, Ernesto Alvarez whose wife Lisa is the President of the Humane Society, told us about the area and why it is so important to bring water to the people.  There is much sickness there and the animals also need clean water to slow down the influx of sick animals into the Humane Society.  The vision is that the Humane Society would house the water-purifying system and build a vending type system on the front of the building so that the local people could bring their jugs and fill them up with fresh pure water for a much cheaper price.  This project will cost about $38,000 USD.
We have interest from the Dallas & Waxahachie Clubs to spearhead this project and bring this vision to reality for the people in Cozumel so that they may have fresh clean water for their families.
Ribbon CuttingCentros de Integracion Juvenil Local Cozumel AC:  The other bus with about 35 Rotarians arrived at the “Juvenile Center” which is a center for youths addicted to alcohol or other substances, some as young as 12 years old. They come to this safe place to play, do educational programs, therapy and work out.  This environment is a safe-haven that keeps them from being exposed to their addictive substance at home and on the streets and the violence that goes with it.  The parents often send children to the liquor store to get their alcohol and the liquor store owners will allow the children to buy it; quite often this is the way the children become addicted to it because they take some of it before they get it home to their parents.
There are trained addiction specialists, volunteers, psychologists, pharmacists, laboratory, and doctors here who treat and work with the youths to help them overcome their addictions.  The grounds and the building are leased from the government; they get very little money so they do fundraising by doing craft fairs and projects.  The short fall between what they get from government and what they need for operating expenses is $28,000 USD per year and they have more kids they want to help. 
The building had been in poor repair for a long time.  Prior to our arrival, the Cozumel Rotary Club had asked that we get funds together ahead of time to help them get the major repairs done.   Governor Bill Dendy, on a planning visit a month prior to our cruise with Annette Weiland and Kim Quimby from the Greenville club, fronted $1000 and the Royse City Rotary Club gave $500 toward their needs. This allowed them to paint the front of the building, entry way and buy two new air condition units.
Upon arrival, the Rotarians on this project were greeted by the managers of the Juvenile Center and Alex Franco of the Cozumel Rotary Club and given a tour.  The service project was to line the walls of the center with banners, 3x6 with adhesive back, saying “Rotary” that will link our Rotary Clubs to their center.  The Royse City Club’s flag was framed and will be proudly mounted on the wall for their contribution.  All the Rotarians got into action and completed this project to finish their sprucing up of the center.  A group picture was taken in front of the freshly updated building.
Annette Weiland
Service Project Chair - Cozumel