Playa Del Carmen and Tulum Mexico Real Estate | 12 Days/12 Ways 2017

Laura Nazimiec laura-nazimiec-1 13 December 2017 0
12 Days/12 Ways 2017

12 Days/12 Ways 2017

"On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...."

This beloved traditional holiday song is the inspiration for "12 Days/12 Ways", a promotional effort of goodwill to draw attention to 12 not-for-profit groups or charitable organizations in our area. If you've been looking for a way to give back this holiday season, here are 12 legitimate and worthy charitable organizations in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya that need your support, not only during the 12 days of Christmas, but all throughout the year.

The organizations are listed in no particular order. Some may be familiar to locals and frequent travelers to this area. Others, perhaps those most in need of recognition and support, may be new to our readers. It is our hope to do this every year, with updated information and wish lists.

The KKIS Project (Keeping Kids in School)

The KKIS Project provides school supplies, scholarships, and English conversation classes to public schools in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. KKIS envisions a future where every student graduates from high school and where educational challenge is inspiring and fun. KKIS works to motivate and assist public school administrators, teachers, students and parents through five programs that provide financial assistance, connections, and support. The five KKIS programs are Supplies for Success, School Advocacy, Conversation Clubs, Scholarships and Mentors, and Connections.

How can YOU help?

  • Donate! A year’s worth of schools supplies for one child is about $20 USD, while $500 covers school fees, uniforms, transportation, supplies, and books for 1 year of public high school.
  • Fundraise! Raise money to help the children of KKIS achieve their dreams!
  • Volunteer! Teach conversational English or mentor a scholarship student.
  • Donate school supplies for the kids! View the wish list.

For further information:

The KKIS Project on Facebook

Coco’s Animal Welfare

Coco’s Animal Welfare is a non-profit organization dedicated to humanely reducing and controlling cat and dog populations in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya through their permanent clinic facility and mobile spay and neuter clinics throughout the region. Low cost or free sterilization is provided for pets, street dogs and cats, and animals rescued by local rescue groups.

Coco’s was started by Laura Raikes in 2009. After moving to Mexico, Laura’s cat, Coco, was run over, as many of the drivers in Mexico see cats as a pest and make no attempt to avoid them if they see them on the road. Laura decided she wanted to help address the problem of too many stray cats-which leads them to be cruelly treated. She began rescuing kittens and spaying/neutering feral cats and Coco’s Cat Rescue (now Coco's Animal Welfare) was created.

Since the organization was founded eight years ago, Coco’s has spayed and neutered over 23,000 animals, helping to greatly reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya. Some of their programs include regular spay/neuter clinics, kitten support, cat cafes at hotels and resorts, rescue and adoption programs, and community outreach.

How can YOU help?

  • Donate! Cash donations are needed to fund the spay and neuter program, adoption program, and to care for rescued cats and kittens.
  • Volunteer! There are many ways you can help, from fostering, driving, and assisting with trap, spay/neuter, and return.
  • Contribute items from the wish list! Your in-kind donations are graciously accepted.
  • Adopt or foster a kitty! There are many kittens looking for a forever home.
  • Come cuddle the kittens! Every Saturday from 12-2pm!

Mark your calendars! On March 24, 2018 Coco’s Animal Welfare is hosting its 9th Anniversary Cocktail Party in Playa del Carmen. There will be live music, a raffle, and a live and online auction. This is a fantastic opportunity to help support this wonderful local non-profit.

For further information:

Coco’s Animal Welfare on Facebook

Hekab Be Library in Akumal

Hekab Be Library promotes literacy and learning opportunities among children and adults in Quintana Roo, Mexico by providing individuals and families with resources for scholastic advancement. The Hekab Be Library acquaints young children with books, provides learning resources for school children, offers literacy and writing classes in the Spanish language for adults, offers classes in the English language for older children and adults, conducts programs in the Maya language, and offers classes in the Maya language. In addition, the library offers after-school activities and tutoring, reading and math programs, arts & crafts workshops, and yoga classes for children. Since 1995, they have been helping improve people’s language and literacy skills, while promoting cultural preservation and understanding.

How can YOU help?

  • Donate an activity or day trip for the kids! View the activity wish list.
  • Make a monetary donation! Help support the library's programs and operating expenses.
  • Donate books or library supplies! Your in-kind donations are graciously accepted.
  • Donate a Christmas gift for the children! View the wish list.

If you would like to share in the joy of giving, please come to the Hekab Be Christmas Party on Friday, December 15th at 3pm. There will be singing and dancing by the kids, food from some of our favorite Akumal restaurants, and of course, Santa will be there handing out gifts!

For further information:

Hekab Be on Facebook

Centro Ecologico Akumal

Centro Ecológico Akumal is a non-governmental organization that focuses on sustainability-related issues and improving ecosystem management in and around Akumal. CEA was formed in 1993 to provide environmental initiatives for the protection of Akumal’s coastal and marine ecosystems and biodiversity. It focuses on three main areas—research, education, and outreach. CEA has a number of ongoing ecosystem management programs, including Coastal Ecosystems, Coastal Management, Environmental Education, Sea Turtle Protection, and Water Quality Management.

How can YOU help?

  • Volunteer! Each of the CEA programs is dependent on volunteers for its success.
  • Adopt a Turtle! You can sponsor your very own Akumal turtle!
  • Make a donation! Your donation directly supports CEA's conservation efforts.
  • Become a CEA member! CEA sponsorship levels are available from $50 USD to $5,000 USD.

For further information:

Centro Ecologico Akumal on Facebook

Playa Animal Rescue

Playa Animal Rescue is a non-profit, no-kill shelter located in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. PAR is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating injured and abandoned dogs, and to finding permanent, loving homes for each of them. PAR promotes responsible pet ownership through community outreach and education, as well as the spaying and neutering of pets, and works in coordination with other local and international animal rescue organizations to ensure that all current and future PAR animals are sterilized, vaccinated, and moved forward into loving forever homes.

How can YOU help?

  • Donate! Make a monetary donation or donate items from the wish list.
  • Foster a dog! Local fosters are always needed!
  • Volunteer! Volunteers are needed at the Charm School, for training and exercise, at fundraising events, for airport runs, or as escorts to help get dogs to their forever homes.
  • Adopt! PAR is actively seeking loving forever homes.

For further information:

Playa Animal Rescue on Facebook

Playa del Carmen Seaside Rotary Club

Playa del Carmen Seaside Rotary Club is a diverse group of English-speaking Mexican and international professionals dedicated to helping to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth and families in Playa del Carmen, Mexico through fundraising and volunteer support for local charitable organizations. Chartered by Rotary International in 2012, Playa del Carmen Seaside Rotary welcomes men and women dedicated to upholding the Rotary ideal of “Service above Self”. Seaside Rotary's core mission is to help improve the lives and prospects of needy children and families in our community. The club strives to provide assistance to community-based, non-profit, volunteer, public service, or charitable organizations with programs that benefit children and youth through family support, education, improvement of infrastructure, and access to health benefits.

How can YOU help?

  • Become a volunteer! All events and projects are staffed 100% with volunteers.
  • Become a sponsor! It’s good for business and our local community!
  • Become a member! Join Seaside Rotary at their weekly meeting.
  • Donate! Help support Seaside Rotary’s mission!

Mark your calendars! The 2018 Seaside Rotary Golf Classic will take place on March 17th at the Hard Rock Riviera Maya Golf Club in Playacar. The Seaside Rotary Golf Classic is the biggest fundraising event of the year for the Seaside Rotary Club, so come out and show your support! 100% of the net proceeds from the Seaside Rotary Golf Classic go toward charitable programs and initiatives in the community that support Playa del Carmen Seaside Rotary’s mission.

For further information:

Rotary Playa del Carmen Seaside on Facebook

Na'atik Language and Culture Institute

Na'atik Language and Culture Institute is a non-profit language school in Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Quintana Roo. The school provides high-quality immersion classes in English, Spanish, and Maya and promotes cultural exchange and understanding. Through affordable, encouraging English language classes, Na'atik aims to help students in the local Maya community develop the skills and confidence to visualize and achieve their dreams. English classes help students access well-paid jobs, go on to study for careers like medicine, engineering and education, and travel the world.

How can YOU help?

  • Learn Spanish or Mayan! Na'atik’s Study Abroad program for visitors helps support the local Maya community by keeping English classes affordable.
  • Donate! Provide scholarships to bright, deserving students in the community.
  • Donate supplies! Your in-kind donations are graciously accepted.
  • Use Amazon Smile! Select Naatik Projects as your charity of choice!

For further information:

Na'atik language and Culture Institute on Facebook

MexiCAN Compassion Project

MexiCAN Compassion Project is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to helping street dogs and under privileged children in the Riviera Maya. MexiCAN Compassion Project organizes a Christmas toy drive for needy children and provides spaying and neutering programs for dogs and cats in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. MexiCAN also organizes regular fundraising events, like Yoga for a Cause and Cocktails for a Cause, and helps support other important causes in our community.

How can YOU help?

  • Volunteer! Help out at fundraising events or join a spay and neuter campaign.
  • Donate! Attend a local fundraising event or donate via PayPal.
  • Donate a toy for the Christmas toy drive!

Looking for a way to give back this Christmas? Join MexiCAN Compassion Project’s Christmas Toy Drive on December 25th and help distribute toys to needy children in Puerto Morelos.

For further information:

MexiCAN Compassion Project on Facebook

Riviera Rescue

Riviera Rescue is a non-profit organization that works to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome abused dogs in the Riviera Maya. Riviera Rescue helps dogs that were mistreated or that come from diseases or cases of extreme urgency—dogs that would often be candidates for euthanasia—by providing comprehensive medical care along with physical, psychological, and emotional training and proper socialization of the dogs as they progress through the different stages of rehabilitation.

Riviera Rescue was founded in 2016 by Matteo, an independent rescuer and artist. He painted portraits of animals to feed and keep his rescued dogs. This was the birth of Playartepop Project, which was then transformed, with the help of many people, into what is now Riviera Rescue.

How can YOU help?

  • Donate via the PayPal link! Cash donations are needed to care for the dogs.
  • Volunteer! Help walk, bathe, and care for the dogs.
  • Buy a custom portrait of your pet! Each portrait is hand-painted by Matteo!
  • Adopt! Riviera Rescue is actively seeking loving forever homes.

For further information:

Riviera Rescue on Facebook

Cause4Paws Puerto Morelos

Cause4Paws is a small non-profit in Puerto Morelos, Mexico that assists disadvantaged pet owners with food, vaccines, deparasiting, education, and health needs in general. Cause4Paws also helps animals who need rescue and shelter, health care, and other issues. The organization is informal and requests and receives help from the Puerto Morelos community from time to time.

How can YOU help?

  • Make a monetary donation! Cash donations are needed for food, medicine, and supplies.
  • Donate food and supplies! Your in-kind donations are graciously accepted.
  • Volunteer! Volunteers are always needed to care for the dogs and cats!
  • Foster a dog or cat! Local fosters are always needed!
  • Adopt! Cause4Paws is actively seeking loving forever homes.

For further information:

Cause4Paws on Facebook

El Mundo Para Puerto Morelos

El Mundo Para Puerto Morelos SC is a non-profit organization in Puerto Morelos that began in the aftermath of devastating hurricanes Wilma and Emily. In 2005, a group of local expats were made aware of a disturbing problem in one of the primary schools. With an enrollment of 700 and a water system damaged by the storms, the students and faculty were only able to flush the toilet twice a day, and had no water for hand washing. The locals responded by reaching into their pockets asking how much it would cost. Thus began the organization and establishment of El Mundo Para Puerto Morelos SC and its first project of successfully replacing the school's entire water system.

EMPPM determines the needs that are not being met through normal bureaucratic channels and works with community leaders to identify solutions to meet those needs and focus on the steps necessary to implement plans for solving the issues. They organize fund-raising events, provide desperately needed supplies and equipment, and support special construction projects.

How can YOU help?

  • Sponsor a student! Sponsorships in the amount of just $60 and $125 will help sponsor a child in need for the full school year.
  • Volunteer! Help is needed for ongoing projects.
  • Make a monetary donation or donate items from the wish list!

For further information:

S.O.S. El Arca

S.O.S el Arca is a non-profit dog shelter in Playa del Carmen, Mexico that is completely privately funded, with no government financial support. The shelter rescues and rehabilitates dogs from the street and local dog pound, where they catch and kill dogs in three days. S.O.S. el Arca’s mission is to help and save as many dogs as possible from abuse, abandonment, hunger, etc., by rehabilitating and taking care of them as long as necessary until a loving permanent home can be found.

S.O.S. el Arca was started by Sylvie Goetz in 2011 after she visited the local pound. The conditions were terrible, the dogs didn’t have any food or water, and they died of hunger, dehydration and many other horrible ways. Sylvie decided she wanted to find a way to help all the dogs that were locked up any way she could. She brought them food, published their pictures, and found them homes. Taking care of so many dogs was a huge job and so were the costs, for that reason SOS was born.

How can YOU help?

  • Make a monetary donation! Cash donations are needed to fund the shelter.
  • Sponsor a dog! Help care for a dog until a forever home is found.
  • Donate in-kind! Food, medicines, and supplies are always needed!
  • Volunteer! Help out at the shelter with dog walking, bathing and maintenance.
  • Adopt! S.O.S. el Arca is actively seeking loving forever homes.

For further information:

SOS el Arca on Facebook

If you have a favorite charity that you feel belongs on this list, please leave a note in the comments section below and we'll be happy to consider your group for inclusion next year.

Laura Nazimiec laura-nazimiec-1

Laura Nazimiec moved to Cancun from Philadelphia. A two-week language and culture immersion program in Guatemala led to a year of backpacking in Latin America and ultimately the decision to live abroad. After moving to Mexico, Laura turned her passion for travel into her career as a blogger and social media manager for BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors. In her free time, she enjoys running and yoga, and she also runs the website You can follow her on Twitter @FitCancun