Distributing over 12,000 bags of food and dry clothing to off-the-grid Yucatecan villages after tropical storms Cristobal and Gamma, and then hurricane Delta. Giving housing to young people who have aged out of the orphanage and teaching them how to shop, cook, clean, and run a house. Supporting old folks’ homes that have no fixed budget because the guests are elderly people with no families or money. Helping women and their children get out of violent home situations. Offering 213 kids in the orphanage art and English classes, and having Halloween and Christmas parties for them; and supporting soup kitchens in villages where poverty is overwhelming. These are just some of the things that Yucatán Giving Outreach (YGO) has quietly been doing since 2013.
Staffed and run by volunteers, and under the leadership of Kimberly Davin DeGraff aka Kimmy Suki, YGO is a force unto itself. Kimmy Suki has a way of making everything seem so possible and achievable. It appears that nothing daunts her. She has a formula that works well and that is: how much does the project cost? Ok. Let’s divide that into increments of $500 pesos or $1,000 pesos, or a month of rent, an electricity bill, a month of internet service, or cost of food for the week.
By breaking it down into smaller amounts people just can’t wait to sign up because it’s something they can afford, something that will make a difference in people’s lives…something they feel they are a part of. Their drops quickly add up and fill the bucket.
One example of this is the orphanage where YGO was giving weekly English and art classes. Kimmy soon saw that the kids aged out of the orphanage at 18 and had nowhere to go along with no real skills. She knew something had to be done. So, she put the word out that they needed a house, along with a list of home furnishings, a sign-up sheet with the 12 months of the year so people could pledge a month’s rent, ditto for the utilities, plus a housemother. People couldn’t wait to sign up to donate rent, or offer extra tables, chairs, fridges, stoves, or beds that they had sitting around. By breaking things down, it became feasible. They now have two houses – one for young women and one for young men.
In these homes they also teach them basic life skills that include cooking, shopping, cleaning, and keeping a budget – knowledge that so many people take for granted when they grow up in a family. But, when you don’t have that luxury, how do you learn to be a self-sufficient adult? Step in YGO and their dream team of volunteers and voilà! Things happen!
Follow Yucatán Giving Outreach on Facebook. You’ll be happy you do, their enthusiasm is contagious.
Editorial by Judy Abbott
Photography from Yucatan Giving Outreach Facebook page
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