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Tuesday, June 18 2019 @ 01:00 AM UTC

BESO - The Good News in Bocas

Groups & Organizations By Mary Heckrotte for - In Bocas we may have more than our fair share of land grabbers and too many unsavory politicians and seedy characters, but we’ve also got plenty of good folks with big-hearts. One local organization, The Bocas Educational Service Organization, fondly known as BESO, nets an approximate average of $20,000 at their Annual Charity Auction for the Bocas public schools! Where does all that money come from? Donations, donations, and more donations, all made, one-by-one, by generous residents, tourists, and businesses with genuine concern for Bocas’ children.

Strictly a non-profit organization, BESO started in 2002 with a small group of volunteers concerned that there were no children’s books in the town library. That first year, a small group of volunteers sold tickets to a dinner for 50. They were both surprised and delighted when the dinner and a few donated auction items netted $1000 with which they were able to buy 350 books for the library. The group then noted that many area schools were lacking not only books but classrooms were overcrowded, had no sanitary water supply, classroom supplies and materials often were non-existent, and far too many children were staying home because their parents couldn’t afford mandatory uniforms. So the next year, the volunteers held another auction, raised more money, and sponsored their first school projects -- and a tradition was born. Since then, BESO’s Annual Auction has grown by leaps and bounds and so have the services BESO has been able to fund.

By 2012, BESO had raised more than $125,000 and used every dime to provide funds to build classrooms, paint and repair desks, build sanitary water collection systems, install chalkboards, put first aid kits in primary schools, put books in classrooms and on library shelves, pay for Internet service at the high school, provide dozens of scholarships for deserving students to pursue higher education, buy hundreds of uniforms and school supplies for needy children, build lunchroom areas and teachers’ residences…. And the list goes on.

It’s really not just a few volunteers anymore. Each year more than 150 businesses and individuals contribute and more than 200 folks attend the Annual Auction. Donations come in from throughout the Bocas archipelago, plus David, Boquete, Panama City, Costa Rica, and even through cyberspace via BESO’s website. All over Bocas, folks now get involved in BESO activities and it does the heart good to witness such enthusiasm, camaraderie, and dedication in making the educational system better than what the government can provide.

Thanks to the GOOD folks in Bocas, BESO is able to say yes to many special services the government cannot provide.

Contact BESO at: or visit the BESO website: And check out the slide show at: You’ll agree, the GOOD folks far outnumber all others!

Copyright 2012 by Mary Heckrotte for Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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BESO - The Good News in Bocas | 2 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
BESO - The Good News in Bocas
Authored by: Ivan Perez on Monday, May 07 2012 @ 01:56 PM UTC


BESO - The Good News in Bocas
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, May 07 2012 @ 07:12 PM UTC

The good folks do far outweigh the bad folks in the Bocas archipelago. It is a very giving community but only the bad stuff normally makes the news. Thanks Mary for writing! And thank you Don for posting! Sorry I was unable to attend the BESO auction this year but many thanks to the community volunteers and donations that made it a success again this year.