August 2017 NewsWave

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Welcome to our monthly newsletter where we keep you up to date on all the latest happenings in Panama. In this edition we are saying goodbye to Jaz and welcoming Sam to the team. Our new TEFL Certification course, the Cristobal Preschool Inauguration, and a water filter project are also highlighted!

Goodbye Jaz!

It is with heavy but full hearts that we say, “Ciao,” to our Director of Education, Jaz Levis! Jaz was tasked with overhauling our various educational programs, managing and training our local lead teachers, and launching our After School program in Old Bank. Jaz proved herself to be an energetic and hands on leader that our local staff and students looked up to as a friend and mentor. Never one to back down from new challenges, Jaz’s passion for Paddle Boarding pushed her to create an entirely new Women’s Outreach and Mentorship Program, which we were able to successfully launch with the help of the Changing Tides Foundation. Jaz’s work for Give & Surf will have a lasting impact on the organization, the communities, and the children, and for this we are forever grateful! We wish you all the best with the next chapter of your life!

Introducing, Samantha Rugamas,
Director of Education

Sam was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and spent most of her youth in El Salvador. After working in the corporate world for some time, she decided to switch gears and become an early childhood educator at a well-loved non-profit preschool in San Francisco, California. During this time she began to explore her passion for education and outreach and helped strengthen her school’s Service Learning and Outreach program. In 2015, she invited some of her colleagues to volunteer teach in Bocas del Toro, Panama and in 2016 she decided to move to the islands indefinitely. Sam is excited to make this transition back into education and to share her love, knowledge and passion for teaching with our local lead teachers!

Thank You Volunteers!

July Volunteers:
Natalie Mitchel, Virginia
Rae Merrigan, Australia
Taylor Love, California
Julia, Schmid, Austria
Julio Lopez + Family, Florida
Kelly Yonston, California
July Interns:
Ross Owyoung, Clinton School of Public Service
Emilie Street, Clinton School of Public Service
Rosa Johnson, George Washington University
Holden Taylor, Indiana University
Reesha Patel, Lehigh University
Paul Capobianco, University of Iowa

TEFL Certification Course

We are excited to announce the creation and launch of a new TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) Certification Course! Get certified to teach English abroad with our month long, 120 hour course! The course includes 100 hours of training and 20 hours of in-class teaching right here in Bocas del Toro, Panama. Extend your stay and gain even more experience with our TEFL Internship Program or by volunteering with us after your certification course! Job guidance and post-certification support provided! TEFL is one of the fastest growing fields in education and is the perfect opportunity for you to teach and live abroad! Check out giveandsurf/tefl/ for more info!

San Cristobal Preschool Inauguration

The preschool classroom on the island of San Cristobal had its inauguration in late July, making it ready to be used by the over 30 preschool students from the community! The Inauguration was a very special event, with members from the Mayor’s office, Meduca (the Ministry of Education), Give & Surf staff and interns, local teachers, community leaders, and children all in attendance, and Emily Talentino, the Executive Director with Give & Surf, was given the opportunity to do the ribbon cutting! After each representative gave a small speech (children included), a traditional Ngobe dance was performed and then food was served. A huge thanks goes out to Surf for Life, who’s continued partnership with us has enabled the construction of 5 classrooms on 3 different islands! Also thanks to the Naval Academy group that came to paint the school!

Water Filter Installation Project
in Bahia Roja

With the help of Kelly Yonston and the Hope Water Project we were able to install 15 water filters in 15 houses in the community of Bahia Roja! The filters were provided by Hope Water and were brought down by Kelly, who came out with our team for the day going house to house installing the filters! Below is her testimonial on the experience:

“I came to meet the Give and Surf Team through a random series of events; and the small project we completed together ended up being one of the very best parts of my one month stay in Bocas del Toro.  After teaming up with two non-profits in the states who provide high quality water filters to communities in need (Water4Life Ministries and HopeWater); I was then introduced to Drew Berger from Give and Surf to distribute them into the indigenous Ngobe-Bugle community that they work with.

I brought 20 water filters for the Bahia Roja community; to be used at the school (built by Give and Surf!) and for the families in their homes.  At this time, the families simply collected their drinking water in buckets from the rain. This water often causes sickness, especially in the young children, so it was exciting to think that these filters could bring improved health for the community.  Such a simple solution!

After assembling the filters (with the help of a few really smart local kiddos), the Give and Surf team and I went from door to door in the village to show the families the filters, describe to them what it was used for/how it could benefit them, and asked if they were interested in installing it in their family’s bucket (each filter is hooked up to a 5 gallon bucket).  Each family was interested and engaged, accepting the filter.

We reached 15 families and the remaining 5 filters will be used for future projects.  I am so grateful to have been part of this project and to have had the opportunity to meet and spend time with the children in the village.  It was also inspiring to see how much the Give and Surf team creates connection, engagement, and empowerment in the community.   Thank you, all!”

– Kelly Yonston, Give & Surf Volunteer, July, 2017




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SOMP: Surf Outreach Mentorship Program has a whole new batch of students that are all surfing for the first time! 
A platform in which local surf mentors cultivate a wonderful learning environment for our students to discover the big 🌊! These same surfers will be receiving their first surfboards in a few weeks thanks to @yehudabenhamo and company who donated to the surfboard drive in San Diego! 
#giveandsurfEverything tastes better from scratch 👨‍🍳. We're cooking up some great things this year!  #giveandsurf #panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #explore #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitudeWelcome to the Wonderful World of Bocas! There are cuddles all around 🤗  #giveandsurf #panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #preschool #kindergarten #escuelita #explore #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitudeOmar is so full of excitement 🤸‍♂can you match his energy? #TinyToroThursday🐂  #giveandsurf #panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #explore #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitudeFound a Red Frog aka Strawberry Poison Dart Frog. This variation of the dart frog is found only on Bastimentos island in Bocas del Toro and is the most toxic. They usually hide under leaves and undergrowth in the tropical rain forest and stay to themselves. We love seeing these guys and treating them with respect! 
#BeautifulBocas #giveandsurf #panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #ribbit #respectnature #explore #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitudePour Some Spicy Böys on your rice and beans! 🌶#giveandsurfPreschool Project Update:
Thanks to our first group of volunteers from @surfforlifeteam and @salesforce we have made great progress on the new preschool classroom in Bocas. The first bricks have been laid and we are excited for our second of three groups to start work this week! We will keep you updated!
#giveandsurf #surfforlife #panama #bocasdeltoro #nonprofit #volunteer #travel #explore #volunteerabroad #giveback #island #surfing #gopro #adventure👩‍🚒 stop drop and scroll to: #giveandsurfSaturday’s Back-to-School event recap! The spirited Bocas community showed up in unprecedented fashion as we raised over $10,000 towards educational programs and services in 2018! 
A special salute to each and everyone of you for showing up and a tip of the 🎩 to @barcohundidobar and @bocasbrewery for providing this amazing location! #gratitude 🎬: @zafromannDaily Life of A Volunteer:

We are excited to welcome our new volunteer, Gillian, who is from Ireland and will be with us for the next month! First day of school and she is already fitting right in. Building bonds and spending time with these kids is priceless! 
The application process is simple! Give us your name, contact info, date/desired length of your stay and your reason for volunteering  #giveandsurf #panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #explore #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitudeThe weekly #GiveandSurfReport will keep you in the loop with our many new program updates! 
Check out Bocas del Toro's newest halfpipe heroes getting familiar with our new Skateboarding Program in Old Bank thanks to @owlcat and @welcomeskateboards!  #giveandsurf #panama #bocasdeltoro #giveback  #nonprofit #nonprofitlife #nonprofitorganization #volunteerlife #volunteer #volunteerabroad #explore #skatekids #skateboarding #newexperiences #surf #surfing #travel #grateful #givethanks #gratitude2 hours until our 5th Annual Back-to-School Fundraiser held at 🚢 HUNDIDO! 
Special thanks to @barcohundidobar and @bocasbrewery for the space and tasty 🍻! HASTA PRONTO! #giveandsurf🙏

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