This is 12th year for Have a Heart Charity Golf Tournament

A yearly charity golf tournament that benefits education in youths in the province of Guanacaste takes place this incoming Valentines Day at the Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course.

The 12th annual Have a Heart Charity Golf Tournament tees off Feb. 12 with a welcome cocktail party, followed by a complimentary nine-hole golf game at the course on Feb. 13, and ends with the tournament and a luncheon awards ceremony on Feb.14.

The event was put together by Amigos de la Educación, a non-profit organization with the focus to help further education of youth within a 20 mile radius of Tamarindo, Guanacaste. The reason for the geographical cap is economics, said Suzye Lawson, co-director of Amigos de la Educación.

Last year the tournament raised $22,000 which was divided among 11 schools and 14 scholarships. Three college women received a scholarship, nine high school students received a scholarship and two very intelligent grade school students benefited from a scholarship, said Ms. Lawson.

With the help and support of her husband, Barry Lawson, the couple were able to start Amigos de la Educación in 2000. She said the organization came along after she volunteered to teach English once a week in Villarreal. She had noticed the disarray and lack of schools for students to have a place to learn. She went back home and with her husband decided that they were going to make a difference by helping the children, “since they are our future,” she said. And ever since then the expat couple have put together the golf tournament to aid their new community.

“This is our big fundraiser. This is what pays for everything,” Ms. Lawson said.

With the money raised at this year’s tournament, the organization already plans to finish putting a roof for a school building, install stairs at another school, hire a psychologist to teach sex education and a drug-prevention class, and help build a skate park. The skate park is in need of $9,000 for ground completion, and last year Amigos de la Educación raised that amount alone during the silent auction.

Golfers pay $150 to participate if they pay before Feb. 2 and $175 after the date. The price includes the cocktail party, green fees, breakfast, awards luncheon, open bar on the green and several sponsor giveaways on the green. Non-golfers can participate by going to the luncheon Feb. 14 for $10.

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