Our Mission
Unexpected Moments of Magic Panama is dedicated to empowering individuals worldwide through the encouragement of self-exploration through social entrepreneurship, volunteerism, philanthropy and education as powerful forces for worldwide change. Be the change!

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Program Options

UMMP offers a wide range of volunteer opportunities in Panama. Volunteers can work with in an assortment of projects including orphanages, schools, medical clinics, wildlife refugees, environmental organizations, teaching English, jewelry making, and much more! Below you will find a list of our programs to choose from. If you are not sure which one to choose, we will help to determine the best placement for you! Volunteers also have the options of doing a variety of project placements to explore different passions!

Locations
The majority of our Panama programs are located in the valley of Boquete and we also offer a selection of projects in the city of David, just a bus ride away. Boquete is a peaceful & charming flower covered mountain village. It is a picturesque tropical rainforest tucked away on the eastern slopes of Volcan Baru. Boquete is quickly becoming a destination for those visitors seeking the most enchanting weather in the world and is an outdoor adventure paradise. Visitors bask in Boquete's sun and marvel at the exquisite mountain views. Boquete's healthy climate has prompted many to believe it holds the secret to longevity since many native Boquetenos have lived well on past their one-hundredth birthdays. Boquete offers a complete travel experience with activities such as: zip-lining through the jungle, hot springs, horseback riding, mountain biking, amazing hiking, bird watching, white water rafting, fishing, rock climbing, repelling, surfing and much more!

David is located roughly 45 minutes away from Boquete, and is the second largest city in Panama. David is situated on gently rolling plains about half way between the Pacific Ocean to the south and the Cordillera Talamanca Highlands to the North. To the south of David is the city of Puerto Armuelles and the beaches of La Barqueta, Las Lajas and Playa Hermosa. In David you can encounter a wide range of international cuisines, museums, cinemas, shopping malls, dance clubs, bars, and is the center of a rich farming area. It is also only one hour from the Costa Rican border.

Program Overview

Unexpected Moments of Magic works with a vast variety of organizations and is determined to place our volunteers in a position of interest and passion where you can best use your knowledge, skills and talents. If you would like to volunteer in Panama, but do not see a perfect fit with the descriptions below, we encourage you to contact us, as we are open to seeking out individualized placements. With that being said, we are also extremely grateful for the volunteers who are able to perform the volunteer positions and duties that are needed during their scheduled volunteer time.

The Panama program offers volunteer opportunities in the following areas:

  • Children's Program
  • English Program
  • Animal & Wildlife Program

  • Health & Medical Program
  • Recycling & Environmental Education Program

  • Community Outreach Programs

Volunteers are also able to add the following programs to any of the above.
*Additional fees apply.

  • Cultural Immersion Program
  • Volunteer Enrichment Program

Children's Program
The Children's Program works with amazing groups of children that will inspire you with the strength they have gained from overcoming and managing their own personal struggles in life. Our goal is to serve them by offering them love, attention, knowledge and education to empower them to have successful futures, free from poverty and filled with opportunities.

Volunteer opportunities in Panamamay include: working in orphanages assisting with daily activities and childcare duties, helping with homework, running Saturday morning soccer & music classes. It is important to help in the way they need it. This could mean you will be helping with mentoring and playing with the kids, teaching in a classroom, working in the laundry, cooking meals and feeding the children. You should also try and bring new ideas to your project. Often the most popular ideas with the children are arts 'n' craft activities, sports games, dance, singing & music. Don't forget to consult your supervisor at your placement before introducing any new ideas to ensure that they are culturally appropriate. Please note that resources may be limited in the programs due to strict budgets & lack of funding, but UMMP does our best to supply you with the materials you need to run a variety of projects.

Each program will vary in terms of number of children, cleanliness, facilities provided, food, management capability, funding assistance, health issues, education provision, etc. Some projects may be more established and have specific duties to be completed on a regular basis. Other projects will not provide as much one-on-one support and require self-motivated individuals. As some of these projects are not full-time, volunteers are able to join 2 to 3 projects to build a full-time schedule.

English Program
The ability to read, write and speak English are increasingly important for many Panamanians in the workforce or those planning to enter the workforce. Volunteers have the opportunity to work as English teachers with the community of Boquete with both adults and younger students. The classes are offered one-on-one, in small groups and in a classroom setting. The English Program involves curriculum development tailored to the students needs and levels. This program is suitable for organized, patient, and self-motivated individuals. A teaching qualification is not required, but volunteers need to be confident teaching English and preferably have or are studying towards a university degree. 

Animal & Wildlife Program
Do you have a passion for animals? Then this is the program for you! The Animal & Wildlife Program works with a variety of animals including: howler monkeys, capuchins, coatis, a variety of tropical birds, goats, horses, dogs, cats, snakes, spider monkeys, and squirrel monkeys just to name a few. Volunteers have the opportunity to care for the animals, give guided tours of the animal rescue centers and educate the local population about the wildlife and how to properly care for the animals. Volunteers may also participate in community spay & neuter clinics and basic daily operations of the program. Volunteers with specialized qualifications have the opportunity to work with local veterinarians, improve local facilities & services, and assist with trainings.

Health & Medical Program
This is the perfect placement for those interested in becoming a healthcare professional or for those that are currently working in the the medical field. Volunteers have the opportunity to shadow and assist doctors, to give top quality service, love & attention to the patients. Duties may include: checking vital signs, sterilization of instruments, home visits, participating in organized trainings & events, patient intake procedures, and most importantly, giving the patients what they need to lift their spirits during their time of illness. Basic Spanish will be helpful for working with the patients, but many of the doctors speak basic English. Please note, volunteers will not be permitted to perform advanced medical procedures in Panama that would require Panamanian certifications & training. Our current program focus is working with children with cancer or leukemia.

Recycling & Environmental Education Program
This is the perfect placement for all you environmentalists! Volunteers have the opportunity to work in the school system educating children about important environmental issues, work hands on at the local recycling center assisting with daily tasks and administration. Volunteers are also needed to assist with the collecting, sorting and distribution of materials. Opportunities to work with aquaponics and sustainable living also are available.

Community Outreach Programs
UMMP works with a number of small community based organizations which provide social services to enhance the local community. As some of the projects are not full-time, volunteers may take part in a flexible schedule, which includes a combination of projects.

Handicap Foundation The Handicap Foundation supports handicapped members of the community, focusing on those with minimal economic resources. They provide an open, welcoming social environment and provide individuals with the tools and resources to excel. Volunteers with relevant qualifications and experience have the opportunity to work in the center giving physical or speech therapy to both children and adults, and act as a mentor. Volunteers without such qualifications are welcome to participate in a range of other activities, including playing games, reading a book, helping with handicrafts, or just being available to lend a helping hand where needed. Basic Spanish is useful, but many of the staff members speak both English & Spanish.

The GEM Project
This is a multifaceted international jewelry-making empowerment program that inspires positive thinking, global giving and creative power for positive individual and social change. The GEM Project volunteers will work with various aspects of the project including: program development, training, incorporating new jewelry designs, marketing of jewelry, fundraising and program administration. Volunteers do not have to have experience making jewelry to participate in many aspects of the project, but jewelry design experience is greatly appreciated. This project is for dedicated, creative volunteers who are innovative and positive thinkers.

Entrepreneurship Development Project
Do you have a project or idea you would like to implement into the community of Panama? We want to hear your ideas! 

The Entrepreneurship Project is designed for those who know what they are passionate about and have the desire and determination to move forward with their ideas. This project aims at giving you the connections needed to implement your ideas into serving the community. It is self driven, but UMMP is there to support you every step along the way.

Add on Options:

Cultural Immersion Program
Living with a Panamanian family during your volunteer time is an incredible cultural experience. A homestay offers you an amazing opportunity to practice Spanish in a natural, relaxed and authentic atmosphere as well as being in a unique and privileged position to get immersed in the Latin American culture, cuisine, customs and daily way of life.

We have many different types of families and this allows us to choose the host family that best suits you. With our homestay program volunteers have the optional of adding a meal plan to cover their lunch & dinner for an additional $49 per week (this option is available with most families). Many of our host families in Boquete are within walking distance to the village center, while others require a short ride away using public transportation. 

This project also provides an income source for the participating families & promotes cross cultural understanding. The Cultural Immersion Program is a rewarding intense cultural encounter, but volunteer should expect to experiences some challenges as you process through the cultural immersion.

Volunteer Enrichment Program
The Volunteer Enrichment Program is designed for you adventurists that want to make the most out of your time in beautiful Panama! By adding on the Volunteer Enrichment Program, volunteers have the opportunity to choose the tours they would like to participate in! Most importantly, volunteers receive 20% off all additional volunteer tours! For more information on tours and to see photos, click here:

VOLUNTEER TOURS GALLERY
MORE VOLUNTEER TOURS
AND YES THERE ARE MORE!

Volunteers participating in the Volunteer Enrichment Program get to choose two of the following activities:

Waterfall Hike, Hot Springs, Cooking Class, Wildlife Center, Jewelry Making, or a Yoga Class

Or one of the following activities:

Volcano Hike, Coffee Tour, Horseback Riding, Pacific Beach Trip, Howler Monkey Refugee Center

Program Schedule
Volunteer placements and orientations take place of the 1st & 3rd Monday of every month year round and if needed special arrangements can be made for volunteers to start on any day throughout the month. Volunteers are encouraged to arrive on the Friday before their placement to have the weekend to explore the area and gain comfort with the cultural. Some projects are open to short-term placements, while others require a longer time commitment. Most travelers coming to Panama receive a 180 day visa that can be easily renewed by crossing over the Costa Rica boarder for 72 hours. We know you will enjoy the volunteer opportunities in Panama.

Join us today to make a difference for the amazing people of Panama!

For more information or to sign up today, fill out the Online Volunteer Form or email us at info@unexpectedmomentsofmagic.org!