Changing Tides Foundation ~ Panama - Bocas Del Toro recap

My friends, Beck Mendoza, Leah Dawson, Anna Santoro, and a couplpe of there friends started a non-profit last year, CHANGING TIDES Foundation.   The foundation was born from the simple idea that the world would be a better place if we were all given the opportunity to give back.  By teaming up with local organizations globally to raise awareness and address social, environmental, health and safety concerns in the places we visit, because TOGETHER WE ARE BETTER.

And so we did, on our trip to Panama, Boca del Toro in June 2017.  We ventured with Emi from BEYOND THE SURFACE, and joined the GIVE AND SURF Women's Outreach and Mentorship Program.  The program provided the underprivileged teenage girls in the community of Bocas del Toro the opportunity to improve their swimming skills, learn how to SUP and eventually surf, encourage them to grow personally and help them build strong relationships with their peers. The program meet two times a week throughout the spring and summer. 

We hosted a women’s empowerment clinic to address gender inequality issues, to distribute clean water filtration systems, environmental education through art, and to document the WOMP program’s progress.  The girls were terribly shy the first day and by the end of the week were crying about our departure.

We brought 3 Sup's, product from RVCA, Seea, Mizu, Avasol, and a few other brandseco-minded brands, and adventured consciously.  We played games, did a photo workshop, snorkeled, stand up paddle boarded and shared stories.  The girls taught us to dance, branded our hair everyday, and even gave me hyena in my hair. 

It was really fun to document this trip.  It's amazing how big of an impact one can have on another. 

CTF crew arrived in Bocas del Toro to meet Jaz the WOMP volunteer and coordinator.  This was the only island we saw cars.

CTF crew arrived in Bocas del Toro to meet Jaz the WOMP volunteer and coordinator.  This was the only island we saw cars.

Meeting the 12-16year WOMP girl in the after school program. 

Meeting the 12-16year WOMP girl in the after school program. 

One of our introduction games with WOMP was to collectively draw images of all we loved... together.

One of our introduction games with WOMP was to collectively draw images of all we loved... together.

After we ran a photo class tutorial, we gave the girls digital cameras to borrow for an hour and we all went on a photo walk.  Gorda loved talking pictures.

After we ran a photo class tutorial, we gave the girls digital cameras to borrow for an hour and we all went on a photo walk.  Gorda loved talking pictures.

Part of the education we brought to girls was about shopping consciously and using less single use plastics, more refillable water bottles, reusable bags, bamboo toothbrushes, and reef safe sunscreen like Avasol Zinc.

Part of the education we brought to girls was about shopping consciously and using less single use plastics, more refillable water bottles, reusable bags, bamboo toothbrushes, and reef safe sunscreen like Avasol Zinc.

Anna guided the crew through some Yoga moves before our SUP adventures.

Anna guided the crew through some Yoga moves before our SUP adventures.

We standup paddle boarded and snorkeled.  So many laughs.

We standup paddle boarded and snorkeled.  So many laughs.

Feet up!

Feet up!

One of our many stops in our water taxi adventures.

One of our many stops in our water taxi adventures.

Enjoying mother natures gifts.

Enjoying mother natures gifts.

Seriously the views in Panama are unreal.

Seriously the views in Panama are unreal.

Tutu

Tutu

Chola

Chola

WOMP girls sharing the ocean.

WOMP girls sharing the ocean.

I did a WOMP girls photo shoot in their new RVCA and Seea gear.  The idea was to get the girls conformable in there own skin and feeling beautiful.  We thought it was pretty important not to just give the girls clothes as if the program was about getting free gear.  So instead the girls have the ability to use the stuff (clothese, snorkels, sups, bags, water bootles etc) while attending the program.  This was also in hopes to avoid fights at home with sibling about ownership.

I did a WOMP girls photo shoot in their new RVCA and Seea gear.  The idea was to get the girls conformable in there own skin and feeling beautiful.  We thought it was pretty important not to just give the girls clothes as if the program was about getting free gear.  So instead the girls have the ability to use the stuff (clothese, snorkels, sups, bags, water bootles etc) while attending the program.  This was also in hopes to avoid fights at home with sibling about ownership.

After the girls photoshoot, we did a slideshow showing them how beautiful they are.  They really enjoyed watching themselves.

After the girls photoshoot, we did a slideshow showing them how beautiful they are.  They really enjoyed watching themselves.

Yes this is tiny reef island with palm trees!

Yes this is tiny reef island with palm trees!

CTF crew enjoy the view.  This place is soooo beautiful.

CTF crew enjoy the view.  This place is soooo beautiful.

The WOMP crew working together to make a fairwell banner for the CTF crew. 

The WOMP crew working together to make a fairwell banner for the CTF crew. 

Drone Image of the Island

Drone Image of the Island