Amazing videos from recent volunteers who joined us in Panama in 2016! Brothers made by Portuguese volunteers Sofia Santos and Miguel Graca! Groups of Marines volunteering in Panama and finishes a playground in Bahia Roja!
Eli Kurtz Gap Year Volunteer This past year, I was lucky enough to spend three short months of my life in Bocas del Toro, Panama, with the Give and Surf team. Back in June, after graduating high school, I had decided that I wanted to take a year off before going to college. With no defined plans, I kept the idea of making the most of my time front and center. It was amazing how a relatively short plane ride to Panama, took me from a place where I felt like the world moved around me indifferently, to somewhere where I felt I had a part to play. Not only that, but I noticed other patterns falling into place, as I continued my stay. I ate, but I ate differently than at home, catching lobster and fish that became my dinner. I slept, but differently, going to bed early and getting up even earlier so as not to let any part of the day go to waste. And I worked, but this was different too. Boating every morning through the mangroves to a small school, jutting out of the coastline into the bay, was relaxing. More relaxing than any other “work” I had done before. Not just relaxing, but meaningful as well. I genuinely impacted the community I lived in, in a positive way. And at the same time, I was discovering for myself a new way of living. The things I put my time and energy into seemed actually [...]
Check out this wrap up and look ahead posted on BOCASDELTORO.COM by Executive Director Emily Talentino! Just when we think things can’t more exciting, new doors open and more opportunities present themselves! 2016 was a fantastic year for Give & Surf and it looks like even more is in store for 2017! Since its inception in 2011, Give & Surf has been committed to empowering the local indigenous communities of Bocas del Toro through education and community development. While the original preschool & kindergarten in Bahia Roja and Bahia Honda that were the nonprofit’s flagship programs still continue today, Give & Surf has grown exponentially and now serves over eight communities with youth & teen programs, adult English classes, higher education scholarships, community development projects, and more! A quick wrap up of 2016… Thanks to support of over 200 volunteers and interns this year, we have been able to offer more English classes, after-school programs & extracurricular activities, expand our Bahia Roja preschool to five days per week, and complete several community development capital projects. Give & Surf, in partnership with Surf for Life, built a much needed two classroom addition to the Bocas del Drago school as well as refinished their playground & kitchen and installed solar panels. Thanks to other generous donations, Give & Surf was also able to build a new teacher’s house on Solarte, a playground & water system in Bahia Roja, and complete many smaller projects. With the dissolution of the BESO foundation, Give & Surf committed to expanding its scholarship funds [...]
The sun had just crept over the horizon when the buzz of Rutilio Milton's faded blue lancha sounded out over the water. It was barely 6 in the morning but the day was already shaping up to be a hot one. The water lapped up against the twisted roots of the mangrove as crabs of all sizes scuttled from place to place. His boat creaked to a stop against the wooden dock at Bahía Honda. "Ñan toro," he announced himself in the dialect of the Ngöbe." "Ñan toro," we replied. There are certain times in life when you have to take a step back and ask yourself, what exactly led me to where I am? If I could go back in time 3, maybe 4 years and explain my current situation, would I believe me? Could I picture myself standing on the edge of an old dock, waiting on a Ngöbe elder to take me out into the mangrove to teach me about his people? Our group boarded Rutilio's boat and he led us off into the bay. He explained that we needed to find sardines to use as bait. As he navigated the clear blue water, he told us to keep our eyes out for pelicans. "They can smell the sardines," he said. The boat suddenly veered left, taking us into the direction of the rising sun. Soon, a small island of mangrove came into sight. He cut his engine, handed me an old splintered oar, telling told me [...]
FULL ARTICLE FOUND HERE February 17, 2015 This Surfer Finds Meaning Between Waves & Doing Good BY GRIFFIN HULKOWER Finding Common Ground: Reflections Between Waves in Bocas Del Toro One of the main reasons that I chose to come to Bocas was the close proximity of good waves and good vibes. My gap year is feeling triumphant as I continue to have great experiences on the road. With regards to the “giving” aspect of Give and Surf, I have helped out at escuelita (the Give and Surf school) and have been a part of the Surf Outreach Mentorship Program as well. Neil Christiansen has teamed up with Juan David Issac of Mono Loco Surf School to make it possible for local kids in the community of Bahia Roja to surf three times a week. With boards donated by other organizations, Mono Loco, and travelers passing the torch on to the next wave of rippers, we have the foundation of a great program (including enthusiastic volunteers). SEE ALSO: Behind Give And Surf: Why I Chose To Be An Ambassador The first day of the program, I was plucked from my dock at 9:00 a.m. island time to be greeted by the kids. Introductions came through a few ‘holas’ over the sounds of the boat engine. We pitter-pattered across the surf to Mono Loco. Neil and Juan David allocated about an hour to properly introduce the group, program, safety, and surfing etiquette. The first session was heaps of fun. All of the kids varied in abilities from having surfed once or twice [...]
News Release December 11, 2014 For more information: Andrew Lovley, email@example.com Clinton School Student Designs Comprehensive Evaluation System for Educational Nonprofit in Panama BOCAS DEL TORO, PANAMA – Andrew Lovley of Wrentham, Mass. completed a three-month partnership with Give & Surf Inc., a nonprofit based in rural Panama that provides community development and educational access to an underserved indigenous population. Lovley’s Capstone project for the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service culminated with the integration of an in-depth evaluation system into regular organizational practice. To gather recommendations of employees, local leaders, and program participants, Lovley designed and distributed surveys to community members and former staff. This critical input informed the resulting evaluation plan, which assesses program impact while ultimately generating financial and in-kind support by outlining community need and documented program results. Systems were introduced to systematically monitor daily attendance, subject retention, Pre-K development, library book borrowing, community engagement, as well as student, staff, and volunteer satisfaction. In addition, a longitudinal impact study will be conducted to track progress of participating students. “Andrew’s aptitude in development and organization was immensely beneficial in assessing the organization’s present structure and paving a way for its future. His project encompassed a full-scale assessment of the organization and its operations followed by a detailed implementation plan complete with measurements and goals,” said Neil Christiansen, President and Founder of Give & Surf. “As a small grass-roots run organization we are incredibly grateful to have received such amazing support that will undoubtedly lead [...]