March 2017 NewsWave

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We will be sending out monthly newsletters in 2017 to keep you up to date on the latest news about projects, programs and students! Featured in this edition is a new staff member, the completion of a new community center, our Higher Education Scholarship fund, and a testimonial from one of our Volunteer English Teachers!

Thank You Volunteers!

January & February Volunteers

  • Eunho Lee, London
  • John Doyle, San Diego
  • Bianca Hernandez, San Diego
  • Mora Levis, Buenos Aires
  • Nina Levis, Buenos Aires
  • Hoda Men, Toronto
  • Jennifer Drouin, Austria
  • Katharina Drouin, Austria
  • Thomas Garvey, Long Island
  • Carl Von Mertens
  • Peter Von Mertens
  • Ken Talentino
  • Bill Talentino
  • Bob Christiansen
  • Sarah & Peter Sandback
  • Sarah Andersen
  • Ari & Moira Kurtz
  • David Speert
January & February Interns
  • Kate Reed, New Jersey, University of Delaware
  • Heather Morris, San Diego, University of San Diego
  • Jackie Bira, Missouri
  • Pamela Beltowski

Staff Highlight

We are proud to welcome Zuleika Batista a.k.a., Zuli, to the Give & Surf Team! Zuli has been brought on for 2017 as our Lead Teacher for the Summer Camp in the Old Bank Community on Bastimentos. Zuli’s high energy and positive attitude are the perfect match for the youth of Old Bank. Along with the help of our other amazing volunteers: Carlotta (Hostel Bastimentos), Georgina (The Sea Turtle Conservancy), and Carolina (Carole’s Body Therapist), we were able to successfully launch our first ever summer camp in this community! We look forward to having Zuli’s continued support as our Lead Teacher for the After School Program in Old Bank which will provide a fun and safe learning environment aimed at complimenting what the students are learning in school. This program will run 5 days a week from 3pm-6pm in the Sunshine Hero’s Community Center!

Support Higher Education!

Our Higher Education Scholarships help send up to 40 students to High School and University each year. A donation of $20-$40 per month can ensure that costs such as transportation and school materials are not major obstacles for those that desire higher education!

Project Highlight:
Completion of the San Cristobal Community Center

We are excited to announce the completion of a new community center on Isla San Cristobal! This community center will house educational, vocational, and recreational programming for the more than 800 people that call this community home. A huge thanks goes out to Carl and his group of friends for funding this project and finishing the construction three days ahead of schedule! 

Volunteer Story: Keenan Hansen and our Adult ESL Program

“I came down to an island with close to no plan, no place to stay, no things to do, and just one person to meet. I went to a local Spanish School [Habla Ya Spanish Schools] here in Bocas and asked the staff about volunteering. They then told me about the Give & Surf Organization, and how they were looking for English teachers. I had never taught English before in my life, but it sounded interesting and it would help me to find a place to stay for my three months living in Bocas.

I met with the organizer of my course, Drew Berger; he explained to me what teaching was like and gave me a few tips and games to play to get started. They also paired me up with a co teacher, Charly. At first I was scared I was going to forget the lesson, they wouldn’t understand me, I wouldn’t succeed in teaching them anything. I had spent the day before fretting over how I was going to fill the whole time, and how long we would spend on each activity. When class time rolled around, my students shyly shuffled in and we began the lesson. By the time the class was over we had covered everything in the lesson and more!

I focused mainly on conversational teaching. I got close with my students by learning about their jobs, families, favorite foods, cultural and lingual differences. One of my students came a little later in the course but he showed up every class after that. His name was Christian. Christian wore a plaid dress shirt and jeans to every class until one day he came wearing a shirt with the logo of Playa Tortuga Hotel. I asked Christian where he was before class. He said he had just come from work. Up to this point in the class christian had been unemployed. I asked him where he worked and what he did there. He told me that he worked at the hotel in reception but needed help with what he was supposed to say when his customers came in.

I modeled the next lesson on hotel reception. I always asked my students what they wanted to learn from me. To try and teach them exactly what they needed to know. It made me feel good to have a student of mine get a job within my course. Then come and ask for help as to what they wanted to learn. Christian and many other students of mine and Charly’s were very studious and made quick progress. I think that is because we made connections with them and taught them the language that they needed to know.

Teaching this course was a very meaningful, useful, and productive experience. I can teach anywhere in the world now because Give & Surf and Habla Ya gave me this opportunity. I feel good going away knowing I made a difference in somebody’s life for the better. Very grateful for the opportunity.”

– Keenan Hansen, Give & Surf Volunteer, 2016




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Be here! Este Viernes para beneficiar la educación en Bocas del Toro, Panamá.

Póngase en contacto con Casa Nolita para hacer su reserva.

La noche incluye comida por Javier Lamarca de El Mercadito Biologico, un bar abierto, y un after party (desliza hacia la derecha) para celebrar el Birthday Boy @ciciliani!Sending✌🏾to the world from Bocas Del Toro 🇵🇦! 📷 : @barkerfoto 
#giveandsurfTake the leap in 2018 to join us as a volunteer, intern, gap year student, or one of our TEFL (teach English as a foreign language) courses! 
Learn more at to dive in! 🌊#giveandsurf 🌊Come be a part of our world at Give & Surf! 🙏
¡Ven a ser parte de nuestro mundo en Give & Surf! 🙏
#giveandsurf 🎥 por Isa {@sisamitty}Splish splashing around with Dora and her Bahia Roja classmates during our monthly field trip! 
At Give & Surf we focus on opening our students up to feeling comfortable in and around the water whether it is in our preschools, SOMP: surf outreach mentorship program, WOMP: women’s outreach mentor ship program, or our swim program! 
We have had the pleasure of teaching over 80 children how to swim, surf, and stand up paddle board! #staysalty #giveandsurfA standing ovation to the Jones’ Family who came down two weeks ago to not only share some Panama good times with their son, friend, brother, and our volunteer coordinator @party_over_here7, but who also whipped up this beautiful remake of the Bahia Honda bathroom and water system! 🙏
Good choice of color too! #gratitude #giveandsurfWe are riding high! New Give and Surf vessel is on its way 🏠! Dream Boat made possible by @blueparroteasthampton and ambassadors @ashleigh_s_rodman and @caverodman 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏! We are over the moon excited to see all that will be made possible in the years to come for education in Bocas because of our new 🚣‍♀️! #gratitudeAs part of Old Bank’s after school program we have introduced Zuli’s students to life on the water. Here we are SUPing thanks to our partners @changingtidesfoundation! #giveandsurfSurround yourself with people who reflect what you want to be just like the 🌊 and 🌌 are with one another! 
Thank you to all those that made #GivingTuesday a day of gratitude as we reflect on all that has been made possible by our family of support this year. 
Every year we roll #GivingTuesday in #GivingDecember so our fundraiser in our profile and link,, is open to receive your support till the end of the year! #gratitude #giveandsurfJust a few hours left to be part of our #GivingTuesday! 🙏and 👏 to all those that have give thus far on this all important day that supports non-profits around the world! #gratitude

Check link in bio 🔝Please consider giving ❤️ to your favorite non-profit on this #GivingTuesday! 
Just $10 will feed 30+ preschoolers for a day of education and fun at school! 
LINK in bio 🔝
#giveandsurfA very sweet morning alert that Giving Tuesday is TODAY; an internationally celebrated day to support non-profits from around the world!

Every year we at Give & Surf ask our supporters on this day to support our continued efforts with a donation to leave the world a better place for the communities and individuals we cherish in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

Link in Bio🔝

Every individual who donates $50 or more will receive a special hand-crafted token of our appreciation by longtime ambassador Eric Adams! #giveandsurf #givingtuesday

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