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.
Lucy 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.
Lucy Mahlich Barreto
Beatriz Jirón Arias
Beatriz is originally from Samara but now lives in Puerto Carrillo. She is a multifaceted woman, having worked in real estate, property management and tourism for more than 12 years. She got her real estate agent license in 2006 and in 2017 completed her studies as a naturalist guide as well as a TEFL certified English Teacher. She is a nature lover, and she enjoys traveling,, organizing cultural events.
Kimberly is originally from New York, but received her teaching degree and certification from East Carolina University before moving to Sámara in January
of 2014. When she's not teaching at Sámara Pacific School or directing CREAR's camps, she loves to run
with her dog, read, and enjoy any and all the beautiful beaches here in Costa Rica.
José Pérez Hernández
COMMUNITY PROJECTS FOREMAN
José is from Esterones de Playa Buena Vista, a neighboring beach of Playa Sámara. He grew up and has spent most of his life in the area. José enjoys working as a carpenter & creating furniture. He loves to surf and spend time on the beach with his two dogs as well as spend time with family and friends. During his free time you can find him either on the beach or at the Super J & J in Esterones. He is involved in the community and is passionate about finding ways to continue to improve the area.
Diana Florez Sánchez
SÁMARA & EL TORITO ART TEACHER
Diana is from Venezuela and is a metalsmith, sculptor and graphic designer. She has studied Psychology and has a broad range of experience in social and community work. Diana likes to cook, read, work in her studio and travel. She believes that developing creativity during youth is fundamental for a conscious and loving future for humanity.
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.