Kayla Velasco has collected more than 25,000 bottle caps for charity.

Kayla Velasco, a seventh grader from Foundation Christian Academy, has teamed up with her school to take on a special project. So far, she has collected over 25,000 bottle caps for Banco de Tapitas, a charity that helps women in Mexico in need of cancer treatment through the recycling of plastic.

According to Kayla, for every 3,000 plastic bottle caps donated, a girl or woman in Mexico will receive one chemo treatment.

Kayla heard about this project from one of her grandfather’s employees and immediately wanted to help. She wrote a proposal asking the administration at Foundation Christian Academy if she could oversee this project at the school.

She was granted permission and has taken the project and run with it. She stands up in the chapel once a week and speaks to promote her cause, and she made collection boxes for every building in the school.

Her mother, Jessica Velasco, said that her daughter helps out with young children who play volleyball, as well as cheerleading, and she likes to assist whenever and wherever she is needed and has really come out of her shell this year. She recalls when she first found out about her daughter’s idea.

“She’s very kind and caring,” said Jessica. “She loves helping people and she thought it was a good thing to do, and she went ahead with it. I was shocked, and I was very proud of her.”

The other students are excited to help, so the project has gained popularity around the school very quickly. In a short time, Kayla has already collected more than 25,000 caps. Kayla and Foundation Christian Principal Sherri Smith set a goal of reaching 75,000 bottle caps by the end of the school year. She will continue to collect the following school year as well.

“Caps can be from Sprite, Coke, other sodas, water bottles, Gatorade, shampoo bottles, cleaning products, detergents, etc. They can be any color,” said Kayla. “I collect them every Friday from the collection containers all over the school and then I count them. If you count them and mark the number on the baggie, it would certainly help me, but it isn’t necessary. There is no due date; this is an ongoing project. Please relay this to friends and family so they can help too.”

If you would like to donate bottle caps to contribute to the project, you can drop them off at one of the many pickup locations at Foundation Christian Academy on Lithia Pinecrest Rd. in Valrico.