A few years back, the team at Loco Gringo published an article about the various community projects active in the Riviera Maya. A subscriber to the newsletters read the article and then created a corporate initiative to help fund a much-needed maintenance project at a local school. The organizer, Gayle Collins, lives in Playa del Carmen, and loves it.
Gayle was a Minnesota High School teacher for 36 years. Upon retiring, Gayle knew she didn’t want to face another cold, Minnesota winter. So, she started taking trips south, to find a warm climate that suited her. She searched the southern U.S., and even went as far as Hawaii, but couldn’t find the perfect place — until she visited Playa del Carmen. She found herself fascinated by the area. She has since received permanent residency, so she can live in the Riviera Maya full time.
Gayle was immediately welcomed by expats in the area, and together they explored much of the Yucatan Peninsula. While exploring, Gayle noticed a lot of school-aged children who were not in school. She enlisted the expat group, Christmas Dreams, to help raise funds and collect school supplies for local children who may not have had the economic means to make it to school. The group ended up supplying the entire school with enough crayons, notebooks, pens, and paper to empower every child with the tools they needed to succeed.
Her current project, KKIS (Keeping Kids in School), is in its sixth year, and has been listed as a non-profit in Mexico and in the U.S. The project focuses on kids who are already enrolled in school, and is designed to keep them in school. If the children stay in school, they can receive a scholarship to help with their high school expenses.
Gayle is also serving the Playa del Carmen community, as a member of the Rotary Club. When she is not donating her time and resources, Gayle enjoys walking, reading, and quilting.