A Reflection on this Day, Earth Day

A Philanthropic Trip to Nicaragua…and a HUGE THANK YOU to RE/MAX








In 2006, I attended a personal motivation event that focused on the power of giving. Incredibly inspired by the ideas and discussions I heard that day, I set a personal goal to find a meaningful way to provide a better way of living for children that come from impoverished countries. Eight years later, with the help of my longtime buddy and RE/MAX colleague Jason Buck, I finally discovered a way to bring this personal goal—and another one– to fruition.

My passion for surfing began in college years ago at San Diego State, while Jason grew up catching waves in Palos Verdes. Both of us had longed to travel to Central America’s Nicaragua for surfing, and since Jason is also fluent in Spanish, I knew he’d be the perfect travel companion. Despite its natural beauty and surf tourism, Nicaragua is the third poorest country in the Americas. Faced with the challenge of getting even basic needs such as food and water met, many residents have no resources left over for clothing, shoes, toiletries, etc.

After doing a little research, I kept thinking, “Why not combine two of the most important goals on my personal ‘bucket list’?” I came up with the name “Project Footprints” for this charitable venture, thinking of both footprints in the sand and the impact that we hoped to make on children’s lives. Jason had the brilliant idea of enlisting the help of fellow RE/MAX agents and associates to cultivate local support by collecting donations.

Finally, in January, our maiden voyage to Nicaragua became a reality. Due almost entirely to the generosity of our fellow RE/MAX agents and associates, we were able to collect and deliver 200 pounds of kids clothing, toys, school supplies, shoes, socks, soccer balls, soccer jerseys, water filtration systems (aquaclara.org.), and more, to Project Woo, a Nicaraguan charity that assists in medical education, supports local children, and promotes healthy living. Project Woo (projectwoo.org, facebook.com/project.woo), deeply rooted in the surf community, is currently building a medical center in Playa Gigante with the help of the local village.

I honestly can’t thank RE/MAX enough for the assistance they provided Jason and me in getting this effort off the ground. We’re just blown away by everyone’s generosity and willingness to step up and contribute. The surfing was incredible, but the biggest reward was being able to make such a sizable contribution. I also want to thank Jason and my assistant, Amanda, for helping to make this dream of mine a reality. I’m not sure where we’re taking Project Footprints from here, but we hope to tie future efforts into the RE/MAX charity The Big Give to donate on a much larger scale.

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Post by Darren Pujalet

Darren has written 257 articles.

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