Testimonials 2017-06-12T03:36:22+00:00
“A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” – William Arthur Ward
“A classroom full of smiles from the preschool students of Escuelita is the fondest memory I have volunteering with Give and Surf. From school boat pick-ups to making paper bag animal puppets to a fun-filled field day, spending time with the most appreciative and happiest children I’ve met was a blessing. The unique community of Bahia Honda greeted me with kindness, as I spent a short stint teaching in Bocas and I instantly fell in love with this exotic place. I decided to spend my birthday giving and helping others but in the end I found they’ve given me much more. Jungle life in this peaceful paradise is a wonderful experience but it’s the people that make Bocas memorable. Give and Surf is an amazing organization and I’m proud to be part of the family. I’m grateful for having the opportunity to work with Neil, Mike, Cindy, Eddie and some awesome volunteers from around the world in joining forces to provide assistance to the indigenous Ngobe people. I look forward to seeing those smiles again!”
Elyse Eng, New York, New York - Volunteered January 2014
“Favorite memory: Volunteering with Give and Surf was a life-changing experience. I do a lot of traveling but had not volunteered abroad before and felt that I should give back to the global community. I think I got back just as much as I put in! It’s hard to pick just one favorite memory, but I really enjoyed picking the preschoolers up before school on the lancha (school boat) They waddle out on their family’s homemade docks and don’t even need help getting into the boats. They are so eager to learn and are full of personality. They warmed up to me right away and would want to sit on my lap or have me read to them or show me what they drew. I even got a new nickname “Mediodia” as one of the kids misread my nametag introducing myself as Melodia, which stuck throughout my time there. I will now be taking my 15-year-old brother to volunteer with me this coming holiday season because I want to share this experience with him and open up the world to him.”
Melody Bracken, San Jose, California - Volunteered December 2013
“Favorite memory: When we were inside the classroom having a singing competition against the rain and thunderstorm. We definitely beat them with our super loud singing (read screaming). During this, the roof was leaking and we had to place buckets and towels everywhere. The kids didn’t even pay attention to this since this happened quite often. At that exact same moment I knew right away how I wanted to spend all the money that I raised with my TuKiPa (Turtles Kids Panama) foundation: A new roof! Within a few months it was there and it looks amazing! At first I thought the fundraising would be for one summer only. But Neil, Alberto, and especially the kiddies stole my heart and I continued to raise money for this amazing Give & Surf organization.”
Annette de Graaf, The Netherlands - Volunteered July 2012
“Traveling down to Panama to volunteer with Give&Surf was one of the best experiences of my life! It was my first time traveling internationally and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I only knew a little bit of Spanish when I went there but by the end of my trip I was able to communicate with the kids and understand more of the language. One of the final days I was there I got to play pretend “cooking” with a little girl who had never spoke to me just smiled and when I started speaking to her in Spanish, her eyes lit up and she smiled so big and wouldn’t stop talking and laughing. That was a moment I will never forget. The day we took the kids to the beach was probably one of the funniest days. The sight of their faces and the excitement and fun they had the whole day was awesome. I loved traveling to all of the islands, experiencing a different culture and meeting AMAZING people from all over the world.”
Kelsi Owens, Maryland, USA - Volunteered July-August 2012
“Favorite memory: Upon arriving in Bocas del Toro, the natural beauty that engulfs it is immediately noticeable. However, after only a few hours with the Give and Surf crew I was able to see a part of the archipelago and its people that could only be experienced with such a crew. The children, natural resources, and overall lifestyle of this little piece of the world was phenomenal. One of my favorite memories was being able to teach the children about the solar system. All these bright-eyed kids huddled together in a small ball to listen to my lesson. Luckily I had a clip from a movie on my iPad which illustrated how the solar system worked. It was really cool to be able to literally “show” these kids where they live and in retrospect, explain how small we truly are. I had their undivided attention and even though at times they were more interested in the iPad itself, I know they learned something they will remember for a long time to come…and it only took a few minutes! Making a difference has never been easier and more fun.”
Andres Felipe, San Diego, California - Volunteered December 2012
“The entire experience with Give & Surf was a blessing. My favorite part of the day while volunteering was the boat ride to school, picking up the children, and seeing them run to the dock with a big smile on their face! Their smiles made a huge imprint on my heart and my two months in Bahia Honda will never be forgotten.”
Antonia Rothschild, Stockholm, Sweden - Volunteered September & October 2012
“Volunteering with Give and Surf was an experience i will never forget, the people, the place and the vibes were out of this world! The children will put a smile on your face every time you see them, Bocas Del Toro is a beautiful part of the world and the people you meet volunteering will stay with you forever.”
Alexandra Wall, Melbourne, Australia - Volunteered March 2013
“Part of my initial interest in Give & Surf was the opportunity to teach the children of Bahia Honda, but when I left I was amazed at how much more they had taught me.  I arrived knowing absolutely no Spanish, and left surprised at the amount of things I could say and understand after working with the patient, energetic kids that we worked with every day.  Exploring beautiful Bocas del Toro and meeting the people who live there was an unforgettable experience, perfect for a first-time traveler like me!”
Jessica Weber, Philadelphia, PA - Volunteered January 2013
“The growing relationship with the Kids and the Community, Neil and Alberto became one of my favorite people in this World and the surfing addiction which i had no idea before.”
Nicole Arn, Switzerland - Volunteered June-August 2012
“My time in Panama was unbelievable and my only regret is not being able to volunteer longer. I met and worked with amazing people and awesome little kids that I learned a lot from in my short stay. Whether it was exploring caves, surfing, volunteering, or just hanging out in a hammock each day was a new adventure that makes me want to get back as soon as possible.”
Ryan McLoughlin, San Diego, California - Volunteered January 2nd-10th 2013
“My favorite memory was picking the children up in the boat. It was very eye opening to see each children’s home and be part of their day. All the children were so happy and affectionate as we rode in the boat on the way to school, even when giant rain drops were pouring down!”
Ria Pleta, San Diego, California - Volunteered November 2012
“Favorite memory was picking up the kids for school and the awesome Christmas party with Bahia Honda & Bahia Roja.”
Catheline Leung, San Francisco, California - Volunteered Christmas-New Years 2012
“Favorite memory: my first day of preschool involved costumes-awesome start and then making those first connections with the kids and having them warm up to you.”
Amy Theriault, East Coast Canada - Volunteered Late Dec-Jan 2013
“Favorite Memory: Picking up the children in the morning for preschool in the boat. I first time I saw one of the preschoolers come running down their dock to get on the boat was a very moving experience. You could see the excitement and appreciation their families had for the opportunity to attend preschool.”
Ali Shafer, Fairfax, Virginia - Volunteered November 2012
“I had the opportunity to travel to Bocas Del Toro, Panama with 30 students from DHS and 4 other staff members during March 2013.  We participated in daily excursions such as Zip lining, a bat cave, Starfish Beach, a catamaran which included snorkeling and wild dolphins swam alongside the boat, a chocolate factory, surf lessons and much more. Our main focus was to volunteer at Give and Surf with Neil Christiansen, the founder of this amazing organization. It was here in Bahia Honda that we were able to complete two bathroom/septic tanks, complete the community garden and 104 steps to the children’s playground, painted walls and murals, collected garbage from around the bay. The students also prepared lessons to teach to the students/children of Bahia Honda. I cannot say that I have one specific favorite memory. Each experience I encountered was unique and special in its own way. It was a learning experience I am grateful for and will always remember. I loved the Jungle life – a beautiful hidden gem! Paradise in a natural state.”
Melissa Hillier, Toronto, Canada - Volunteered March 2013
“Favorite memory or short note about your time with us: My time spent with the Bahia Honda community is one that I will always cherish. From living in the lush mangroves, to eating the local food, to the water sports, to visiting a bat cave deep in the rainforest, it was an experience to remember. Most meaningful however, was my time spent with children of Bahia Honda. Holding their hands, singing the days of the week in Spanish to a Bob Marley tune, playing soccer: the reciprocal learning that took place was priceless. Thanks for a wonderful experience!”
Chelsea Sauvé, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada - Volunteered March/April
Girls of WOMP, Women's Outreach Mentorship Program, taking the podium during the inaugural COPA Féria Del Mar hosted by @bocaspaddlingcluband and held this past weekend in epic 🚣conditions! #wompbocas #giveandsurfWhat a beautiful day spent in Old Bank with the community thanks to program director Zuleika and her band of supporters! 
The day was presented with ❤️ to raise awareness of bullying and support the Aguilas Doradas, a character building program focused around expression and creativity! #giveandsurfVolunteer Story Time PART 3 with Taylor Love, @taylorklove, from the USA and volunteer from July 15th-August 15th 
What would you say to someone considering coming down here? 
GO! It’s a professional organization that truly serves the local people. The staff here are true leaders in the community! #giveandsurfVolunteer Story Time PART 2 with Taylor Love, @taylorklove, from the USA and volunteer from July 15th-August 15th 
Most memorable experience?

Too many favorite memories! My favorite was reading this animal book to the kids in BR. We all acted out every animal and I laughed until it hurt. #giveandsurfVolunteer Story Time PART 1 with Taylor Love, @taylorklove, age 27 from the USA and volunteer from July 15th-August 15th 
What drove you to come here?

I was looking for a volunteer opportunity in Central America. I found Give and Surf on the internet, did some YouTube research and decided I would love to volunteer with this fantastic organization. #giveandsurfNever lose touch with your inner child, the innocent part of you that thinks you will pop every bubble in sight! @sunshineheroesfoundation #giveandsurf ...
#panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #explore #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitudeKids discovering happiness in education is an everyday affair at Old Bank's community center thanks to our dear partners and supporters of @sunshineheroesfoundation who not only funded the build of this beautiful center, but also the staff and program expenses to run a summer school, after school program, and more that never existed before a year and a half ago! #gratitude #giveandsurf¡Bailando! Gotta get the wiggles out somehow with these energetic pre-schoolers💃🏼❤️❤️#panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback #nonprofit 
#nonprofitlife #volunteerlife #volunteer #grateful #surfing #surf #nonprofitorganization #travel #explore #givethanks #volunteerabroadSending immense gratitude to Rose Johnson, @rose_grace2406, an intern this past summer who worked her tail off with Emilie, @emjstreet, to develop programs for our new community center on Isla Cristobal! 
She has this to say to anyone considering a volunteer or internship opportunity with us!

That it is an unbelievable experience and unlike most volunteer experiences and internships, Give and Surf allows you to have a deeper connection with the community. As an intern I was pleased with the fact that Give and Surf gave interns real responsibility which I think is rare within the internship world. Give and Surf is also a lot of fun and Bocas is a great place to work and play. #giveandsurfProud to announce that we have co-created ▿INDIGO BENEFIT FESTIVAL▿@indigo_festival a day of music, art, yoga, documentary, and more to celebrate life and raise money for education in Bocas Del Toro! 
The day features a gang of amazing musical performances and creatives from near and far who will convene on Encinitas to celebrate life under the Indigo sky!

Music Lineup ↠↠↠↠↠
Rambo [@rambo.music]
Feather and Dot [@featherdotmusic] 
The Verigolds [@theverigolds]
Todo Mundo [@todomundoband]
The Moves Collective [@themovescollective]
Wicked Monk [@wicked_monk]
Andre Gallardo [@renchmonkey]
Grayson Schreiner [@thegreatsilversun] ▵Yoga and Market Lineups to come!▵ Made possible and supported by our favorites at
Culture Brewing [@culturebrewingco]
Eve Encinitas [@eveencinitas]
Ironsmith Coffee Roasters [@ironsmithcoffee]
Harvest Peace [@harvestpeace]
Head over to Facebook and search events for Indigo Benefit Festival or visit website indigofestival.live

Don't be there, be here! #indigofestivalFeeling the stoke last month at Bluff with Alonso, an active, surf stoked member of our SOMP: Surf Outreah Mentorship Program led by none other than @guacamole13 #giveandsurfClass 🤡 ing around with our Bahia Roja preschoolers is a volunteer favorite! Make sure to express yourself and the infinite capacity of your imagination through humor this Monday! #giveandsurf

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