Second Annual Dip & Sip doubles funds raised for girls in Roatan
By Natalie Shuman
When the idea for the Dip & Sip came to me in 2021, it came from a desire to create an event that would nurture lasting memories and friendships, but also have a larger, positive ripple effect reaching the women and girls across the island.
I had an idea, but had just joined the community and had no clue where to start. I approached Christine Etches, owner of Sundowners with the concept and her support was almost immediate. Next came her connection to Vice Mayor Trudy Hilton, co-founder of Roatan Peer Health Exchange. Just like that this trifecta of women supporting women fueled an event that in only one year would grow from a fundraiser of $1,000 to a whopping $2,300.
So, what’s the Dip & Sip?
The Dip & Sip is our local way of participating in PADI Women’s Dive Day — a global event designed to celebrate the growing community of female divers, and to amplify the PADI ethos that our beauty and strength is in diversity. Just like that found in nature and in the ocean.
Women divers living in and visiting Roatan get to connect with one another while enjoying two dives exploring Roatan’s vibrant reef (the dip) and then a sunset happy hour with food & drink at Sundowners overlooking the gorgeous Half Moon Bay (the sip).
All resources for the event are donated by Sun Divers and Sundowners, including the time and expertise of Sun Divers’ instructor team (60% women!) and captains, so that 100% of the proceeds can go to Roatan Peer Health Exchange.
Why support Roatan Peer Health Exchange?
While PADI Women’s Dive day is about ‘opening doors to the underwater world,’ the reality is that in our island community like so many others, there are so many barriers that prevent women from entering the water, or school or the workplace. We want to make sure that our event first begins to address these barriers.
Consider this: one in four Honduran adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19 have given birth. And Roatan has the second highest incidence rate of AIDS in all of Honduras. Our local girls and women are also burdened by period poverty — the lack of access to menstrual products, as well as education about menstruation that lacks stigma.
Roatan Peer Health Exchange was the perfect fit for a recipient of our funds, because they offer sexual education and resources to female youth of Honduras, ages 13-25. Their primary program consists of ten interactive teaching sessions or ‘charlas.’ The magic of these ‘charlas’, is their peer-led model. Facilitating the charlas are Peer Health Ambassadors: young, enthusiastic members of the community who have been trained to be leaders of the curriculum and to educate their peers. The young girls receiving the education are more likely to listen to the messages being delivered by an adolescents navigating the very same issues they are.
How Dip & Sip supports
International Girls’ Day, October 11, 2022, provides another great educational platform for Roatan Peer Health Exchange. On this day, they hold an event where young women attend life skills workshops, and receive important resources to improve their daily lives.
In 2021, and again in 2022, the funds raised by the Dip & Sip fund the purchase of menstrual cups for the youth attending the International Girls’ Day event. Lack of access to menstruation products can be the difference between a woman attending school, going to work and being able to do something fun and recreational like taking an open water course. Providing menstruation cups might seem like a small act, but they remove huge barrier for girls and women.
Double the funds, means double the impact
Thanks to the generosity of all of our event attendees and private donors, we increased the amount of money raised by 130% over last year. With these additional funds, we’re excited to now also be able to
address access to the ocean for local youth. This year we will give our first Open Water certification scholarships to young women participating in Roatan Peer Health Exchange’s programs. The scholarship will also include an introduction to the career paths that within the dive industry.
So many of us are fortunate to reap the mental, physical and emotional benefits of diving. We hope to bring this to these girls, along with a deeper, more meaningful connection to the coral reef that makes up their own backyard. They are after all, the future leaders who will be play a role in the decision making that either supports or sacrifices our local ecosystem.
Scuba diving has such a profound impact on people’s lives that there’s no telling what paths it could open up for these women. But we’re excited to find out!
If you’re interested in learning more about the Dip & Sip, Roatan Peer Health Exchange, or sponsoring an Open Water certification scholarships, feel free to reach out to us.