Give & Surf’s Back-to-School Bash: Saturday, March 5th at 7pm at IndiFebruary 1, 2016
Give & Surf is already gearing up for the start of the new school year in Bocas! In the last year, Give & Surf has expanded its role and impact in the local communities and hopes to continue its growth this year. “2015 was a phenomenal year,” says Give & Surf founder and president, Neil Christiansen. “While we have been operating educational programs and services in Bahia Roja and Bahia Honda since 2011, this last year really presented us with the opportunity to reach new communities, particularly through the expansion of our adult English as a Second Language programs and the construction of the new community center in Old Bank.”
2016 is shaping up to be an even busier year for the staff and volunteers of Give & Surf. Since BESO dissolved at the end of 2015, Give & Surf has stepped up to the plate and offered its services to help fundraise additional money to support the students who were receiving BESO scholarships. Additionally, they’ve extended scholarship opportunities to all colegio and university students living on Bastimentos, Carenero, Solarte, and Colon.
Beyond its scholarship programs, Give & Surf has already broken ground on two new projects this year. The first is the construction of a new teacher’s house on Isla Solarte so that the teachers can live in the community where they work thus improving their attendance and increasing their connectedness to the families and students. Secondly, they’ve started building a two classroom addition to the elementary school in Bocas del Drago which was desperately needed since the three room school could not accommodate the 100+ students and many were attending class in a bodega or the medical clinic next door.
Also on the horizon for 2016 is the opening of the new community center, computer lab, & children’s playground in Old Bank [Feb 1, 2016] and the expansion of the preschool programs in Bahia Roja and Bahia Honda. Through its educational programs, transportation of local students, and scholarships, Give & Surf anticipates that it will be providing services to over 200 local community members per week this year ranging from preschoolers to adults.
“I couldn’t imagine the growth we’ve seen over the last year,” says Christiansen, “and I look forward to continuing to expand our impact but to ensure the continued growth and sustainability, we need to raise additional funds. BESO was a vital foundation in Bocas for many years and provided hundreds of scholarships. Our goal is to help make sure that students still have access to scholarships so they can pursue a higher education.” Give & Surf has set a goal of providing scholarships to 40 students this school year and is aiming to raise $14,000 at their Back-to-School event and through their online fundraiser.
The 2nd Annual Back-to-School Bash, which will include live music & a silent auction, will take place on Saturday March 5th at 7pm at Indi. To make a donation for the auction, such as gift certificate, tour or excursion, piece of jewelry or art, surfboard, or other prized item, please contact Emily Talentino at or 6955-6804. To sponsor a student’s scholarship or make a monetary donation, please visit www.giveandsurf.org/donate or contact Emily Talentino.