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Here is a history of the workshops we have done with the kids in Buena Vista and Coco Solo thanks to our many volunteers over the years!


Calendar Workshop | Rose Marie Cromwell and Tova Katzman

Using magazines and prints from past photo workshops, the kids collaged their own calendar.

Photography Workshop | Rose Marie Cromwell and Tova Katzman

The kids were each given a point and shoot disposable camera as we walked around photographing their neighborhood

Welding Workshop


Photography Workshop Series and Exhibition | Tova Katzman

Ongoing photography workshops focused on finding new ways of seeing our surroundings ending with an exhibition of photographs made by the children in the Sand Diamond Hotel, Colón

Mural Painting | Cisco Merel

Renowned Panamanian artist Cisco Merel designed a mural for the Cambio Creativo center next to Mikey’s house that he and the kids painted together

“Tapitas” Workshop | Rose Marie Cromwell and Tova Katzman

Using recycled bottlecaps, or tapitas, the kids created a mural representing what they loved most about their new neighborhood of Buena Vista


Digital Storytelling Workshop | Katie Barthelow and Anna Santos

The result of this two week workshop was an original movie, La boda de primavera, which was written, shot, directed, and performed by the young people in the area. This short film follows the youth of Coco Solo, giving a behind the scenes peek into the making of their movie.

English Language Workshops | Nick LaBerge

Fossil Workshop in Sabanitas | Maya de Vrides

Participaron 25 niños y jovenes del programa de tutoría y realmente fue magnifica esta oportunidad que se les dio a ellos. Adquirieron conocimientos y experiencias sumamente significativa.


Youth Entrepreneurship | Go! project, exd & Isaac Villaverde

The youth focused on identifying and expressing their strengths and brainstorming project ideas, while the younger kids learned basic business calculations and about Isaac’s La Tapa del Coco project.

Our Rights, Health & Well-Being | Amanda Gabster

Conversation with youth about, consent, their bodies and the changes that take place in the transition from child to adolescent. She also discussed on healthy intimate relationships and contraception options.

Promoting Creativity, Literacy, Arts & Crafts | Elias Santos Dubón & Jesús Blanco

Series of workshops promoting creativity that focused on drawing and poetry.


Holiday Cookies | Elias Santos Dubón

A holiday cookie workshop with Coco Solo youth and children. We used math to understand the cookie recipe, then the youth divided into three groups. Each group elected a leader to keep order and discipline as they made cookies.

Canvas Frames | Yamilka de Savage

Participants in this workshop learned to work with canvas and raffia ribbon to create their own picture frames.

Music & Art Scholarships | La Escuelita del Ritmo

A series of music, art, and folkloric dance scholarships to students participating in the Jovenes Luchadores youth group.

Music | Andres Lombana

Andres Lombana-Bermudez visited Cambio Creativo from Bogota, Colombia to help facilitate student interest in musical rhythm and flow.

Kitchen Storytelling | Nicole Martin

Nicole and the kids combined their shared interests in food and creative art to make drawings, tell stories, and act out the movements of preparing, cooking and eating. The goal of the workshop was to encourage participants to become more aware of the various steps that get food onto our table

World Cup Art Project | Bronson Herman & Taylor West

Students and visiting volunteers used Chinese paper lanterns to paint the colors of the countries participating in the World Cup, while other students painted the lanterns with the names of the Jóvenes Luchadores members.

Rhythm Workshop | Andreas Orejuela

Andreas Orejuela led this introductory 2 days workshop titled: Nuestros vasos están llenos con los Ritmos de la Historia (Our plastic cups are full of historic rhythm).

Sports | Ayudarte (David Bloomfield)

Ayudarte, an international art collective focused on raising money for local charities and community-based projects, has been collaborating on a regular basis with Cambio Creativo for a number of months now. They thought a day of physical activity would be fun, because one of their members, David Bloomfield is a professional fitness trainer.

Art | Orietta Queirolo Egger

In this workshop, Orietta brought palm tree leaves to transform them and create fish paintings. Each student got a dried palm leaf, painted and decorated them, to create their own type of fish. 

Percussio | Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown, a young cultural producer, musician, and artist from Portobelo came with congos in tow to teach basic drumming rhythms to Coco Solo youth.

Geographies of Coco Solo | Martin Danyluk

Martin discussed the history of Coco Solo with the 40 plus participants, and then we went outside with old photos of the area, and Martin asked the youth participants to give their own anecdotes about the present state of Coco Solo. We returned to the classroom and created a large map of current Coco Solo landmarks.

 Carved Self-portraits | Heather Parry, Kyle Comee & James Bloomfield

The youth took self-portraits and then printed them and pasted them on wood. After they carved them, they each painted and decorated their piece in their own style.

Congo Culture | Gloria Forsythe

We are so grateful to Ms. Gloria, who was a Congo queen for many years and was able to inspire the youth of Coco Solo about Congo Culture.

Video Workshop & Exhibition | Rose Cromwell

This workshop was inspired by an invitation for Cambio Creativo youth participants to exhibit a video piece at The Propeller Centre for the Visual Arts in Toronto. The theme of the exhibition was the number 13. In the workshop, the youth learned basic video camera operation and practiced conducting interviews. They asked Coco Solo residents what they remember about being 13, or how they imagined their life would be at age 13.

Computer Literacy | Misha Tepinsky

Misha started by helping the Cambio Creativo team to set-up the computers so that they all had the proper electrical input and software. He then worked with the older students to teach them basic word processing skills on the computer. He created a questionnaire that both taught computer skills and helped the students to develop future resumes and cover letters.

Environmental Conservation | Brittany Fair and Maya Devries

In these workshops focused on the environment, the children learned about climate change, conservation and sustainability, identifying animal species around Coco Solo and doing a trash cleanup.

Restaurative Practices | Natalie Medina

In this workshop directed towards the Cambio Creativo team leaders, we learned different techniques to work better together and create a supportive environment for the students.

Zine-making | Ela Spalding (Estudio Nuboso)

This workshop was extremely important since we were able to capture photographs, drawings, stories, and ideas formulated by the youth of Coco Solo, and create our first zine. The participants enjoyed the entire process – from putting together the artwork, designing each page, printing everything in sequence, and sewing each zine.

Community Building | Global Brigades

During this workshop led by Global Brigades, the students questions how one can build a healthy community. Through discussions, drawings, and map-making exercises, the youth and the mentors exchanged ideas and found ways to mobilize their communities. This workshop touches on a very important note since soon enough the families from Coco Solo are going to be relocated and start a new community in Buena Vista.

Audio Book-making | With Eduardo Arenas & Lorena Endara

During this very fun workshop, a group of young ladies came together to create an audio book. Throughout the process we talked about the parts of a story, like the climax and resolution, to make sure our story would be complete. Each participant proposed an idea and then we chose one to develop the story as a group. The collaborative process culminated with a story called “The Frog and the Alligator”. Afterwards, 2 narrators recorded the story while others recorded the sound effects. At the end, everyone made illustrations.


Literacy & Storytelling | Wendy James & Blake Scott

Wendy & Blake, along with a wonderful group of helpers, realized a series of activities to inspire the passion for books among the youth of Coco Solo. Participants read stories in groups, had discussions, and also wrote their own stories.

Leadership | Jesus David Blanco

Through different activities, the group develop various strategies by which they can become leaders with their families and communities.

Creative Stimulation | Annabel Miguelena

During this enthusiastic workshop, Annabel Miguelena taught the youth of Coco Solo several songs that were accompanied by dancing. Aside from being lots of fun, the youth learned about different body parts through the songs and practiced coordination of their bodies. After singing and dancing, the participants developed a character collectively (a creature named Bacechifake who like to play football and eat rice with chicken and chocolate) and made drawings based out of how they imagines that character.

Math | Francisco Frauca

Francisco facilitated a series of workshops on math to inspire the youth of Coco Solo into realizing the magic that numbers possess. 

Sculpture Arts | Rose Cromwell

We first collected discarded plastic soda bottles and glued them together. The kids learned how to Papier-mâché and we covered the bottles. Then we painted them, covered them with mirrors, glitter, colored string, and tops of bottles that we had converted into flowers. 

Literacy | Eduardo Arenas & Lorena Endara

We led a workshop to promote literacy in a more engaging and creative way. The youth took photographs to represent a word that started with each letter of the alphabet. They also made a song with these words that focuses on how each letter sounds. 

Soccer League | Michael Brown

This workshop was developed by the community itself and specifically by the youth of Coco Solo. Co-director of Cambio Creativo, Pastor Michael Brown saw a huge need to get the young adults involved in Cambio Creativo programming. What did they have a desire to participate in? Along with the young adults, Pastor Brown helped facilitate the organization of Coco Solo’s first soccer league.

Recycled Caps Mural | Donna Conlon

First we collected large amounts of caps and separted them by color. Then we had a drawing and design session to chose the idea that the mural would represent. After several voting sessions, a house won (a very important theme for all Coco Solo residents who will sooon be moving away). The fun part was placing and removing the caps to explore different shapes, colors, and combinations. Once most agreed on the design, it was transfered to a piece of plywood and the final details were added.

Basic Computer Skills | Glenroy James

This was the first session of a series of computer skill workshops led by Glenroy James. The group of teenagers and young adults that participated feel a great need to learn and/or improve their computing skills. Glen did a great job at teaching computer basics while stimulating the self-esteem and confidence of the group.

Percbody: Corporal Percussion | Sebastian Garzon & Alejandro Guerra

In this workshop, kid ranging from 2 years old to teenagers, used every part of their bodies to make different sounds and sang to the beats. Aside from having fun and adding their own moves and style to the class, the group exercised just as much concentration, discipline, and self-control.

Marine Biology | Marine Laboratory at Punta Galeta

During an entire week, a group of Coco Solo youth visited the neighbor scientists and volunteers at Punta Galeta. It was an unforgettable journey where every day they explored a theme through observation, investigation, and creativity. It was a pleasure to see these young minds at work while they played and learned about the marine ecosystem of Galeta and how our relationship with nature affects it.

Photography | Rose Cromwell and Lorena Endara

In this third photography workshop we used culture as a starting point in our creative process. We spent some time brainstorming as a group to define what “culture” is, and then brainstormed about certain aspects of culture that are specific to the Coco Solo community. The youth then went out to photograph an aspect of their culture that was exciting to them. People photographed food, sports, nail painting, and art. We used photography to celebrate what makes them who they are.


Environmental Health | Moiz & Jake

During this very important workshop, facilitators Moiz and Jake worked with some of the grown-ups in the community to talk about the importance of environmental health. Through different interactive games they came to conclusions about the biggest problems within Coco Solo and found ways to prevent them. After listing possible solutions, youth leaders Carlos and Jesus organized a community wide cleanup day with food and prizes for the participants!

Congo Culture & Painting | Gustavo Esquina & Tatu Golden

The youth of Coco Solo had a great opportunity to explore their creativity alongside two talented artists from Portobelo: Gustavo Esquina and Tatu Golden. At first the facilitators allowed the participants to explore the medium of paint, mix colors, and have fun while turning “trash” into works of art. Then each participant created their own painting by re-interpreting a scene depicting Congo culture. The young artists drew over canvas and then painted, and finished off by placing broken mirrors around the frames.

 Sex Ed & Family Planning | Tania Rodriguez

This workshop was specifically requested by the community of Coco Solo as it is a matter of great importance that is sometimes not dealt with in school or family settings. Our facilitator, Tania Rodriguez, did a great job motivating the youth to explore the differences between sex and sexuality, understand the differences between AIDS and HIV, and to conclude that the person each one of us has to take care of most is our own selves.

History and Geography: Our Place in the World | Blake Scott

During this workshop, participants explored their place in the world from a local to a global perspective. With daily activities, books, and maps, Blake engaged the youth of Coco Solo with questions and reflections on their personal histories. This led on to conversations about the history of Coco Solo and Colon, and their relation to the Panama Canal and, ultimately, to the world.

Photography and Personal Narratives | Jose Braithwaite, Wendy James & Rose Cromwell

For this workshop each participant worked one on one with a mentor to chose a theme that truly matters to them. Then they discussed the possibilities of expressing these ideas and representing them through images. Each one had 5 shots and went off by themselves to shoot. Afterward they practiced editing and selecting the best image. Once they had their own print, each youth wrote about their theme. While some chose their own homes, family members or community, others depicted their dreams for the future.


Urban Agriculture | Lorena Endara

With countless containers, shipping cranes and natural gas storage tanks in the background, a 1200m2 plot of land with overgrown grasses rests quietly in the midst of Coco Solo. During this workshop, the community came together to transform this unused space into a productive garden.

Video | Wendy James

Our second workshop was directed by Wendy James, Fulbright grantee based out of Colon. She taught the kids about the structure of a story and each participant came up with their own idea for a video. After carefully selecting one, they collectively developed the plot, characters, conflict and resolution. They then went on to determine their roles and learned about the process of directing, acting, stage setting, costume designing and more. By the end of a workshop, a narrative about a mom who protects her son and daughter from a thief was filmed and then edited by our video mentor, Wendy James.

Photography & Literacy | Rose Cromwell & Lorena Endara

The first workshop organized by Cambio Creativo in Coco Solo (Colon, Panama) was directed by Rose Cromwell and Lorena Endara and it focused on the communication of ideas, both written and visual. The young participants realized a series of written exercises and then practiced representing their ideas visually. They shared cameras to make self-portraits and also photographs about their favorite and least favorite parts of their community. Finally they shared their experiences and reactions to the photographs they made.

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