by Emily Talentino
We partied, we danced, we drank but most importantly- we gave. Give & Surf’s 3rd Annual Back to School Bash was a huge success thanks to the generosity of the hundreds of community members that came out to support the efforts to raise funds for scholarships and educational programs for local Bocas students. The event itself raised more than $5,500 and combined with student sponsorship donations and the online campaign, Give & Surf was able to raise more than $17,000 in the last month. All of this money will go towards providing continuing education scholarships to high school and university students and to supporting the educational programs that Give & Surf provides throughout the community.
“It was particularly important for us to raise more money this year,” says Neil Christiansen, Give & Surf’s founder and president, “because another local foundation that provided scholarships (BESO) recently dissolved thus creating a need for funding to come from somewhere else. While we had previously given out a few scholarships to students in Bahia Roja and Bahia Honda, we wanted to make sure we closed this gap and extended our scholarships to more students this year.”
Give & Surf has now committed to providing over 40 high school and university scholarships to students living on the islands of Bastimentos, Colon, Solarte and Carenero. These scholarships help to cover registration fees, school supplies and transportation costs for students going to and from school, which for some university students can be as high as $20 per day or the equivalent of one full day of work day’s pay. Additionally, Give & Surf continues to run its year-round preschool and kindergarten programs in Bahia Roja and Bahia Honda, helps to support the new Old Bank Community Center and has expanded its adult English as a Second Language classes to 5 communities. All of these classes and services are offered for free in the indigenous communities and are possible thanks to the generosity of so many donors and volunteers; both in Bocas and around the world.
A huge thanks to Melissa Grani and Paki Gale for hosting the event at Indi Lounge. Special thanks to the band “Sweet Fundraisers” and to all those who helped plan the event: Juan David Isaac, Marti Kirschman, Kay Heath, Savannah Remmich, Dave Evanko and the Give & Surf staff and volunteers. Also thanks to all of the businesses and individuals who donated items and who bid on items!