Helping Students in Mexico

Keeping Kids in School, is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance, community connections and educational opportunities to improve high school and university graduation rates, helping students in Mexico.

The KKIS Project is working to improve public high school graduation rates in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

Meet Our Board

Gayle Collins (The KKIS Project)

Gayle Collins

KKIS Founder

Retired Public High School Teacher 

After 36 years as a public high school teacher in the US, Gayle retired in Playa del Carmen. They say that once you are a teacher, you will always be a teacher – even after the classroom, the desire to help children achieve their potential is ever present.

“I’m committed to giving back to this wonderful community of Playa del Carmen by helping children succeed in school so they, too, can become productive and proud citizens of Playa.” – Gayle Collins

Kelly Caldwell (The KKIS Project)

Kelly Caldwell

Board Secretary & Interim Executive Director

Retired Wall Street Change Manager 

Kelly spent 21 years working in the banking industry as a change manager responsible for large scale technology, operational and administrative projects. She moved to Mexico in 2011 and is passionately committed to making a real difference in the lives of young people here.

“Working for the children of my adopted country is an honor. Helping more students achieve their potential is really important to me.  I love the work that we do.” – Kelly Caldwell

Suzanne Filsinger (The KKIS Project)

Suzanne Filsinger


Retired Third Generation Educator 

Suzanne was born in Mexico City and grew up in the US. Her bi-cultural, education-focused upbringing gives her a unique perspective on the challenges and opportunities present in the Mexican education system.

“KKIS brings me the opportunity to be useful by helping others accomplish their dreams; giving them the chance of reaching their dreams through study.” – Suzanne Filsinger

Fred Uriarte (The KKIS Project)

Fred Uriarte

Chairman of the Board

Retired from the Aerospace Industry

Fred was raised in California, the product of bi-cultural parents. He learned first-hand the value of an education and works to instill the love of learning in the students. The first Scholarship Program Director, Fred is admired and loved by all the students.

“We can build a brighter future for Mexico, one student at a time.” – Fred Uriarte

Briar Loewen, Business Executive, Riviera Maya Tourism

Briar Loewen

Business Executive, Riviera Maya Tourism

Briar helped KKIS formulate the high school and then the university scholarship program both of which have grown significantly over the years.  She has been a Sponsor, a Mentor, an Advisor and now a Board Member!  

“KKIS has given our company an opportunity to make a direct investment in the future of our community. It’s been an honor to have played a small role in helping students and KKIS achieve their goals.” – Briar Loewen

Allan Lockhart

Allan Lockhart

Co-owner of North American Standards Property Management

Allan brings to the KKIS Board years of experience in multiple industries and has the distinction of being a KKIS Sponsor from the beginning. He is an active participant in the KKIS English Conversation Club and a prominent fundraiser.

“I’ve spent time in the US military, in the fields of medicine, sales, hospitality and fitness. But helping students make their way in the world has been one of the most rewarding. I like the mission of KKIS and believe we can make a real difference. “ – Allan Lockhart

Jordan MacDonald Founder, Grupo Events, from Canada

Jordan MacDonald

Founder, Grupo Events

Jordan’s team building and event planning company in Mexico executes amazing “give back” events benefiting KKIS supported schools and students. They have customized and given away bikes, landscaped school grounds, assembled shade sails, built picnic tables, outfitted a library and painted classrooms. His high energy and optimism is infectious!

“The power to do good is multiplied when people connect – when many hands work together to make the load easier for everyone to carry. That’s why I am personally thrilled to support The KKIS project with the goal of changing lives through education.” – Jordan MacDonald

David Sánchez García Real Estate Developer & Passionate Education Advocate

David Sánchez García

Real Estate Developer & Passionate Education Advocate

David is a real estate developer and a passionate believer in the power of education. Originally from Mexico City, David is a community builder and an active member of the Seaside Rotary Club where he lends his organizational talents and social network to manage community projects and help raise money including sponsoring 6 KKIS high school scholars.

“I am interested in creating real impact in the lives of young people. There is so much we can do to give deserving students the help they need to fulfill their potential. KKIS has a great track record of taking action to make lives better. I like that.“ – David Sánchez García

Paola Sánchez Vásquez, Head of Public Relations & Marketing for Hospiten

Paola Sánchez Vásquez

National Marketing and Communication Manager in Mexico Grupo Hospiten

Paola is a success story from the Mexican public school system who and went on to attend, with a full scholarship, the prestigious Technologic de Monterrey. Now, as a communications and Marketing professional, she is helping KKIS Scholars understand and tell their very powerful life stories.

“In these students I see my younger self – strong, determined and hungry for knowledge. KKIS can touch their lives, and I want to be part of that. “ – Paola Sánchez Vásquez

Meet the Amazing Donors

who supported the 9th Annual KKIS auction and dinner.

GMB, GAMA Master Broker
Grupo Events
GUSA Capital
Rotary, Playa del Carmen
The Reef 28, Playa del Carmen
The Reef, Resorts and Spa
EXM, Mexico
Intercam Banco
North American Standards, Playa del Carmen

Meet the Amazing Donors

who contributed to the 9th annual fundraising event.

Anne Bauche | Ageless | Ah Cacao | Alltournative | Aloha Paddle Club | Amate 38| Astrid Puhringer | Aventuras Mayas | Banyan Tree | Barcelo | Bokanova | Boston’s Pizza | Cafe Andrade | Cafe Ole | Canvas & Cocktails | Caravan 2 | Caravan Exotica| Carnes La Fe | Cheester’s | Chez Céline | Coco Bongo | Cocos Cabañas Restaurant & Pizzeria | Co.Cos Culinary School and Catering | Condo Hotels | Dave O’Connell | David Sanchez | Destino Boutique Hotel | Dirty Martini Lounge | Dive By Leo | Dog Holiday | Dr. Carlos Pastrana | El Dorado Resorts | El Hongo | Evoke International| Experiencias Xcaret | Extranjería Playa | Felisati Italian Hairstyles & Nails | Fred Uriarte |Gran Coyote |Grand Hyatt | Greg Cosway | Gusa Capital | Gypsy Gringa Jewelry | Hands Of The Artisan |Happy Address | Hola Bangkok | Holly Labistida | Hotel Casa las Tortugas |International House | Ivan Mayorga | Janet Lowe | Labrioche | Kahatsa Boutique | Kaj Skov | KKIS Students | La Brocherie Rotisserie Francaise Gourmet | La Cueva del Chango | Lara & Luca | Latitude 20 | Laura Dolton | La Verbena | Legally in Mexico | Lido Beach Club | Living Dreams Mexico | Manne’s Biergarten | Mary Reilly | Mike Grabow | Mimi Heffernan | Monica’s Bags Marc | Muller Properties | My Tours Riviera Maya | NAS | Papa Charly | Patanegra | Paul & Jane Romeo | Piola | Playa Tours & Transportation | ResPrecision Pilates | Quintana Cakes | Romeo’s Trattoria Pizzeria | Rosewood Mayakoba | Royal Haciendas Resort | Sanimal | Sarah Cox | Shellie Noyes Art | SIMCA | Stone Wolfsong | Suzanne Filsinger | Terracotta | Terry Pattenden | The Admiral | The Beauty Room | The Bric Spa | The Reef 28 | The Reef Resorts and Spa | Thompson Hotel | Tiny Tiki Hut| Viceroy Hotels and Resorts | WestJet | Yoga by the Sea | Zenzi Beach Club

Thank you all!