Education Programs

Give and Surf directly serves a population of over five hundred Ngobe community members living in the communities of Bahia Roja, Bahia Honda,  and Solarte. These impoverished, remote communities survive mainly off subsistence living without electricity, running water, clean drinking water, and bathroom facilities. The area is provided insufficient government education for grades 1st-6th and has a limited number of resources and opportunities for prosperity.

For these reasons Give & Surf aims to provide substantive, hands-on, real world assistance and programs to a hundred and thirty children ages three to sixteen. Give & Surf has constructed and developed two schools in Bahia Honda and Bahia Roja that provide the following: a daily preschool and kindergarten, summer school, surf outreach mentorship program, after school program, Adult and Elementary School english programs, music program, and community development initiatives. Give & Surf and its supporters also sponsor the continued education of thirty students through a sponsorship program that provides the necessary transportation and school supplies needs of students ages 13-18.

Preschool and Kindergarten

Panama does not provide public preschool education in many remote areas of the country in spite of a universal acceptance that early childhood education is a critical component to a child’s development.  For this reason we chose to open our doors to the preschool aged children of Bahia Honda in September 2011.  This was accomplished in collaboration with our partners and friends from La Loma Jungle Lodge.  We are incredibly proud and excited to now provide the communities of Bahia Roja and Bahia Honda early childhood education learning opportunities. In September of 2013 we adopted a Montessori curriculum focused on empowering our students to be independent through interacting with their environments and stimulating their senses.  Our days consist of implementing this curriculum, reading, arts and crafts, trips to the playground, and special field trips.  This is an amazing opportunity to provide the first generation of future all-stars an awesome and enriching experience.  It is also great to practice and learn Spanish as they are very forgiving individuals with huge hearts and smiles.If you plan on volunteering in 2015 you can expect to volunteer with our preschool five days a week as well as with the elementary school right next door.  We will need a lot of help with classroom setup, curriculum development, and teaching. 

Summer Camps

Summer vacation for students is during the months of December through the end of February. To supplement the public education, Give and Surf has summer school classes to provide engaging activities and new experiences to further develop our student’s understanding of the world.  During this time we develop a schedule focused on different themes that combine the environment, experiential learning, and self-expression.  The summer schedule combines multiple 2-5 week courses with one centralized theme. Summer Camp is provided to Bahia Roja and Bahia Honda. Volunteers develop lesson plans that are intended to be engaging and cultivate the students’ creativity.  If you’re volunteering while summer school is in session, you can look forward to building lesson plans and curricula for the summer school courses.

Old Bank Summer Camp

Thanks to our partnership with the Sunshine Heroes Foundation, Give & Surf has been able to expand its programming at the Old Bank Community Center to include summer camp and five days a week of after-school programming for children ages 5-12.  These programs introduce children to a wide range of activities and skills including sports, hiking, arts & crafts, recycling, marine education, science, swimming, hiking, and more.  Our goal is to provide a safe, fun & supervised environment in which children can learn, play & grow during out-of-school time.

English as a Second Language

We provide a number of Bocas communities the opportunity to learn english through an ESL curriculum. Learning english is tremendously important for the adults to progress and have employment opportunities. Because Bocas del Toro has a large influx of English-speaking tourists year-round, English is a language that is of great value for our students to learn. By providing them with working knowledge of English, their education will progress and employment opportunities broaden.

Classes are provided twice a week to the communities of Bahia Honda and Bahia Roja.

Additionally through our partnership with Habla Ya Spanish Schools, we are able to provide a wide range of English courses to suit the needs of Isla Colon’s large population. All located at the Habla Ya facility, these courses have reached adults, teens, and adolescents, focusing on teaching conversational and job specific English. A growing number of volunteer English teachers have stepped up big to make these courses possible throughout the entire year! This initiative has gained a lot of popularity throughout Bocas and we are very excited about the continued support it has received from the local community!

Higher Education Scholarships

Only 18% of Ngobe children ages 15-19 are educated past a 6th grade level.  In the communities of Bahia Roja and Bahia Honda, the primary reason for the high dropout rate is the lack of reliable, affordable transportation to the town of Old Bank where the colegio (grades 7-12) is located.  Since 2014, Give & Surf has committed to making sure that every student has access to secondary education and provides transportation sponsorships for every student to ensure that they to and from school safely each day.  Your donation of $40 per month sponsors a middle or high school student’s transportation costs, school supplies, and the opportunity to continue their studies. Special thanks to Junguen You and Wendy Hung for their continued support in sponsoring multiple students.

Extracurricular Activities

Surf Outreach Mentorship Program

SOMP is a new program whose mission is to empower the youth of Bahía Roja through increased understanding and appreciation of the ocean as well as focus on character development, academics, and ESL. The sport of surfing serves as the guiding tool unifying the group through activities, studies, and mentorship. It is our goal to provide the youth of Bahia Roja with enriching academic and social experiences and promote growth as responsible and character-rich individuals in a fun and inclusive way. These youth who attend colegio grades 7th-9th from 12-6 Monday through Friday attend SOMP three days a week in the morning from 9-11. Students are given the opportunity to learn surfing skills within the framework of educational and character support, growing their mental and human capacities as responsible members of society.

Give & Surf has a strong focus on enhancing and adding new infrastructure to the communities and have completed a number of community development projects since January of 2011.