Siargao Island, Philippines. Two point people have emerged as program developers, they are Christy Ochampaugh and Jing Gurrobat backed by the LGU (Local Government Unit) to help kids through education in a fun way. The surf/educational center headed by Jing will teach local Cloud 9 youth surfing, art and trade skills as well as english and reading proficiency. The kids are concurrently enrolled in a distance learning program under the supervisory of Maam Pitang Cotecson to transition them back to into school. So far 20 youth in ages ranging from 7 to 21 years old are enrolled in the program. It is a main hope that some of the kids who have dropped out of school will be tutored enough to re-enter and stay with their education. The gift of surfing and community development will be the fuel motivating these kids.
We still need help however, collecting surfboard donations for the program. If you plan to visit Cloud 9 to surf, please consider bringing a surfboard to leave behind and be a part of Balikbayod—the returning wave. All types of boards will be accepted: short boards, long boards and body boards. The local kids love to play in the surf but cannot afford boards of their own, so please consider helping stock up their surf center. When you bring a board, you can meet them yourself and go surfing! Get in touch with the local culture by giving back and have your next vacation make a real difference. Please contact Jing if you plan to bring a surfboard donation.
San Francisco Bay Area, California. I’m happy to announce a new director has stepped up to the Balikbayod project: Victoria Fabella. She brings with her experience of administrative manager of the large non-profit business People’s Grocery. This coming September 2008, a group surf trip to Siargao is in the works with 9 people enrolled in bringing surfboards to the kids in the Balikbayod program. If you are interested in joining this trip, please email me, Lynn, for further details.