January 6 began as usual for children at La Escuelita de Sonia (Sonia’s School) in Alfredo V. Bonfil community on the outskirts of Cancun, little did they know they were about to get a surprise Dia de Reyes visit from Royal Resorts Foundation staff laden with toys, piñatas and other treats.
Sonia Cejas, the Good Samaritan who founded La Escuelita de Sonia in her home 10 years ago to help neighborhood children, welcomed Royal Resorts volunteers and introduced them to pupils. The excitement grew as the children realized that this was to be no ordinary day.
They eagerly lined up to have their faces painted by Royal Resorts Activity staff. Favorite designs included butterflies, fairies, Spiderman, pirates and cats. Then it was time for the piñatas and some master hitters emerged, skilled in the art of striking the papier mâché figures (made in the Activity Centers) until candies showered out on to the floor.
It wasn’t long before all the children were clutching a bag of candies as they played. The traditional rosca de reyes cake was then cut and children munched a slice while they chatted to teachers and volunteers.
After several hours of non-stop fun it was time for the Royal Resorts Foundation volunteers to leave La Escuelita de Sonia, but there was one last surprise. Children lined up to receive gifts of toys donated by Royal Resorts employees, members and guests.
January 6 or Dia de Reyes is the day that children traditionally receive Christmas gifts in Mexico, true to the story of the Three Kings who journeyed from the east bearing gifts for baby Jesus. However, the children attending La Escuelita de Sonia are from desperately poor homes and the gifts they received from Royal Resorts really made their day.
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A heartfelt gracias, thank you, from all the children at La Escuelita de Sonia and from the Royal Resorts Foundation to our members, guests and employees who gave a toy and helped spread some happiness.
La Escuelita de Sonia, a school founded by a Good Samaritan
Sonia Cejas is a mother of three who has opened her home and her heart to children in need in her community. Years ago, she noticed that one little boy was not attending school and she offered to teach him to read. The word soon got out and more neighborhood children began to turn up for impromptu classes. She welcomed them all and her home became a classroom for children who for one reason or another were unable to go to school.
The story of La Escuelita de Sonia began to take shape. With a staff of volunteer teachers, Sonia now receives 105 children on a daily basis for breakfast and classes. They have the opportunity to learn and pursue a course of studies that will prepare them for the entrance exam for primary or secondary school.
Sonia’s School is a happy and safe environment for children who may not have the birth certificates and other documents needed for school enrollment, the money for uniforms and study materials or even parental care. Others have to stay at home to look after younger siblings while their parents go out to work and some have language barriers or physical and behavioral challenges. Sonia gives them all a chance of a better future.
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