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.