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Voluntourism Spotlight: Give & Surf in Panama

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If surfing is your ideal summer vacation, you can up your game this summer by combing surfing with volunteering. It all comes together in the surfing mecca of Bocas del Toro, Panama, with the volunteer organization Give and Surf. Tune into this weekend’s broadcast from Panama of Peter Greenberg Worldwide for more information. Don’t forget to check back every Wednesday for more voluntourism opportunities.

Panama may be known for its surfing, but there is also a lot of need in many areas of the country. One solution is Give and Surf. American expat Neil Christensen started the organization with the help of other expats in the area. It gives visitors the opportunity to learn how to surf and experience the warm Caribbean waters while helping the children in the community. Neil established a pre-school and after school program for school aged children in the area; teaching them basic social skills, language skills, and basic learning tools. Children don’t get a chance to go to school starting at an early age, so Neil’s program fills that gap.

As a volunteer, you can help teach the children as well as other project for the school. Group volunteers help clean up the area, maintain the playground, and help with construction of new building. For example, past volunteer groups helped build the library and stairs up to the playground. Individual volunteers help the children in the classroom. Knowledge of Spanish is not required to be a volunteer.

If you are interested in heading down to Panama to volunteer with Give and Surf, check out the website for more information and get in touch with Neil to start the process.

By Alyssa Caverley for