Andrea is originally from Texas, where she attended Austin College and graduated with a dual degree in Psychology and Spanish. During her third year at Austin College she attended La Universidad Nacional in Heredia, Costa Rica and taught English. She returned to Costa Rica in January of 2008 to perform a research project on the relationship between tourism and the local culture of Costa Rica.
After graduation and working as a translator and case manager for a non-profit organization in Houston, she moved to Sámara permanently as CREAR's Program Director in January of 2009. Since then, she has helped make CREAR a sustainable program within the community and spearheaded multiple new projects including a teen English program and girls empowerment courses.
In 2015, Andrea was awarded the Yo Creo Award for her work as a social entrepreneur. Andrea loves to surf and hang out with her black lab and CREAR's official mascot, Kimbo.
Lucía was born in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands of Spain, although she grew up in Sámara from a very early age. She completed her undergraduate studies at the National University of Costa Rica in the city of Heredia to pursue a career in Environmental Management. She is passionate about social change and the preservation of natural resources. In her spare time she enjoys reading, riding her bike, swimming and watching sunsets.
Lucía Mahlich Barreto
SAMARA & EL TORITO
Lucas is originally from Chattanooga, Tennessee but he received his degree in Spanish and global commerce from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. Lucas first came to Samara with a volunteer group in 2014 and has returned four times since then, once as a CREAR intern in 2016. Lucas is now serving as the volunteer coordinator and English teacher here at CREAR. Outside of work, Lucas enjoys riding his bicycle and watching sports.
SAMARA & EL TORITO ART TEACHER
Rekha is originally from India but she was born in Switzerland. Growing up, she spent time in both countries but completed her degree in early childhood education in Switzerland. Rekha has been working with children for over fifteen years now. She does everything from homeschooling to day care. Rekha moved from Switzerland to Costa Rica in 2014 and began teaching art classes for young people. A fun fact about Rekha is that she speaks 5 languages. Outside of work she enjoys painting, drawing, listening to music, walks through nature, spending time with family and traveling the world.
José "Chema" González Saenz
COMMUNITY PROJECTS FOREMAN
José a.k.a. “Chema” was born in San Jose but spent most of his life in Playa Samara. Chema is in his 4th with CREAR and he serves as our community projects foreman and general handyman around the CREAR Casa. Chema enjoys manual labor, specifically painting projects. Outside of his work with CREAR, Chema is an avid outdoorsman who loves to fish and works part time as a tour guide leading trips to Isla Chora. Chema makes sure everything in and around CREAR is running smoothly as it should.
Our Marketing Team
Bill was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona where he earned a degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona. He has worked in business, management, marketing, and sales for over 13 years in a wide range of fields. He is also a certified English teacher and holds a master's degree in International Teaching from Framingham State University. Currently, Bill is a photographer and marketer for the Costa Rica School of Massage Therapy. He also provides consulting in the areas of design and digital marketing for Asociación CREAR. Bill is passionate about adventures and spending time with friends and family.
Olivia was born in Hamilton, New York, yet lived all over the country and internationally during her childhood. She currently resides in Colorado, where she is working towards her undergraduate degree in Political Science and Education at Colorado College. Olivia is passionate about social work, photography, and videography. In her spare time, you can find her swimming for her college's swim team, taking photos, or spending time with her friends and family.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Johannah grew up in the small town of Bayfield, Wisconsin and graduated from UWM in 2009 with a BA in Conservation and Environmental Science. She is currently a preschool teacher at Sámara Pacific School and spends her free time running, hiking, swimming, dancing, cooking and crafting.
Originally from Albany, New York, Tess first volunteered at Asociacion CREAR in June of 2012 while pursuing her master’s degree in
non-profit management. After graduating from SUNY Albany, she returned to Samara and has been working closely with CREAR since. She is passionate about creating unique opportunities for growth among youth.
Barbara is originally from California and has lived in Costa Rica since 1999. She has a double Bachelors degree in Psychology and Multicultural and Gender Studies. She holds a Masters in Educational Administration, and a Masters in TESOL. She is the founding Director of Costa Rica TEFL, an ESL teacher training school in Playa Samara. In addition to training TEFL teachers, she is often invited by the MEP (Ministry of Public Education in Costa Rica) to lead workshops in classroom management and the use of multiple intelligence activities in the EFL classroom. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family and exploring beautiful Costa Rica.