Give & Surf has a strong focus on enhancing and adding new infrastructure to the communities and have completed a number of projects since January of 2011 through the support of volunteers, partnerships, donations, and the community. Our community projects create jobs and improve the quality of life for the people we serve. From building schools and libraries to installing bathrooms, our endeavors would not happen without support from the community, supporters, and partners.
Give & Surf’s first project was the construction of a playground in Bahia Honda from January to March of 2011. This project was made possible by the love and support of La Loma Jungle Lodge and Marj and Gary of Education is Power. After visiting La Loma as guests Marj and Gary Young decided to leave their footprint in the community by donating the resources necessary to complete this project as well as sponsor the education of many students living in Bahia Honda. This project was a test of perseverance as Neil and great friends tirelessly spent months in the sun to complete “El Parque”.
Bahia Roja Cafeteria
It didn’t take long for us to tackle this first project in Bahia Roja thanks to the collaborative efforts of Palmar Tent Lodge and Give & Surf. A wildly fun and successful fundraiser propelled us to build a school cafeteria for our neighbors. With so many wonderful people getting involved with this project we were able to put up the structure over night.
In January of 2013 a library was born in Bahia Honda community. The building not only is a center for the community to absorb information like sponges, but also acts as a classroom for the education programs. The project took us two months and there are so many to thank for making this idea reality. Thank you to all those who made this possible especially Students Without Borders Academy, La Loma Jungle Lodge, the Nadel Family, Mucho Ado, Michigan State ASB, One Library at a Time, and all those who volunteered with us for the last few months. We are thrilled to bring this awesome library to the community.
Bahia Roja Elementary School
In June of 2013 we finished up a monster of a project: a new school for Bahia Roja. It was fundraised by a group of high schoolers from Gill St. Bernards who volunteered with us and it took a month to complete. These awesome kids and our family of supporters raised over $10,000 to provide a proper school for the deserving children of this community. They were previously taught in a collapsed school building so this upgrade is a huge addition to the community. Big ups to Daniel, Eddie, all the volunteers, and the community of Bahia Roja for all your hard work!
With the support of Dunbarton High School two bathroom and septic tank installations were completed in Bahia Honda and Bahia Roja. The students and community members worked tirelessly to complete this project in just two weeks. Thanks to all those that played a part in bringing bathrooms to the community.
Early Childhood Education Facility
Over the years we have taken what was a dilapidated building and turned it into a wonderful environment where we teach preschool, kindergarten, summer school, and after-school program. With the help of so many this center for learning has seen a new roof, an incredible influx of donations and supplies, interior and exterior renovations, and hundreds of volunteers.
Solarte Solar System Installation
This project was spearheaded by Elena Crespo, an ambitious Girl Scout from San Diego, who had wishes of contributing to a school she visited in Panama years ago. This school was Solarte Elementary School, the island across the bay from where Give & Surf works. The solar system was installed by local craftsman Bobby Wood. In 2015 we will develop education programs to work with the local community in this new computer learning center. We have 12 donated computers and big plans for the future of this program!
Bahia Roja School
This $23,000 two-classroom addition was funded by Surf for Life and constructed in the summer of 2015. The new building has allowed for the Give & Surf preschool & kindergarten to grow from 2 days per week to five and provides a second classroom for the 1st-6th grade primary school. In addition, adult English classes, community meetings, summer school, and other activities are now held there. Over 50 volunteers from the local Bahia Roja community and from the U.S. and Canada worked together to construct this new school.
Sunshine Community Center
The Sunshine Heroes Foundation provided $42,000 in funding in order to build a community center and playground in Old Bank on Isla Bastimentos. The community center houses a computer lab as well as classroom space to offer free educational programs to all ages, including English classes, computer lessons, kid’s sports & extracurricular activities, and seminars on health, the environment, and other critical issues. A team of 15 volunteers from Utah visited in November 2015 to help finish the construction & celebrate the ribbon cutting. And President Varela visited the center in March 2016!
Solarte Teacher’s House
Contractor Carl von Mertens and his experienced crew (Sarah, Peter, Jim, Sue, Peter & Ari) donated the funds and volunteered to construct a new teacher’s house on Isla Solarte in February 2016. The new $11,000 home will house two teachers that work in the Solarte primary school thus helping to increase the teachers’ attendance rates and their connectedness to the community where they are working.
Bocas del Drago School
After the success of the Bahia Roja school project, Surf for Life agreed to partner with Give & Surf again in 2016 to provide funding for 2 much needed additions to the Bocas del Drago primary school. The first addition of a preschool classroom was completed in March 2016 and the second classroom will be built in May & June 2016. Prior to the addition, over 100 students were crammed into 3 classrooms, a medical clinic, and a shed. This $38,000 project helps to ensure that all students have a suitable learning environment from preschool through 6th grade. Over 80 volunteers from the local community and the U.S. and Canada worked side-by-side to build the expansion under the leadership of contractor, Cristian Pinto.
In chronological order, Give & Surf has completed the following:
- Playground Construction in Bahia Honda: benefitting fifty children ages 3-12
- Two Water Tank Installations in Bahia Honda: used by sixty individuals
- Sustainable Chicken Project and Coop Construction: benefitting sixty individuals
- Preschool Room Construction in Bahia Honda: benefitting 20 children
- Elementary School Building Improvements: benefitting 40 children
- Library Construction in Bahia Honda: used by one hundred individuals
- Cafeteria Construction in Bahia Roja: feeding forty children
- Community Garden in Bahia Honda: benefitting forty individuals
- Bathroom/Septic Tank Construction in Bahia Honda: used by fifteen individuals
- Bathroom/Septic Tank Construction in Bahia Roja: used by sixty individuals
- New School for 1st-6th Grade in Bahia Roja: benefitting forty children
- Bahia Roja Dock Construction: used by all community members of Bahia Roja, 80 in total.
- Bahia Roja School Tear Down
- Bahia Roja School Painting
- Bahia Honda Baseball Field utilized by elementary baseball team
- Basketball Hoop
- Bahia Roja Sidewalk Construction
- Old Bank Community Center benefiting over 1,000 members of the Old Bank community
- Bocas del Drago 2 phase School Construction: used by over 100 students
- Solarte Teacher’s House School