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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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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