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!


About Us

Over the past eight years, UMMP has worked with over 2,500 volunteers and are proud to say we are an illustration of diversity. Our volunteers range in age from 8 to 74, representing over 24 countries around the world & 20 different languages.

We have spent a great deal of time developing relationships with our collaborating organizations and have designed effective strategies for the integration of volunteers in the organizational work to maximize your overall volunteer experience.

We also take great pride in our program as it is unique to other volunteer programs. Our mission goes way beyond just the act of volunteering. We are dedicated to empowering you to BE THE CHANGE you wish to see in the world. We desire that you to lead by example as we believe that is the most powerful way to create change; to change ourselves.

We strive to be professional, but more importantly, we strive to be personable. We do not want you to think of us as just an organization, but rather a group of friends united in supporting you to become who you desire to be for yourself & world around you.

At UMMP, we truly appreciate your desire to give of yourself, of your time and of your resources. Most of all we feel grateful for the trust you offer by joining us to fulfill our mission. We understand that you have many options of volunteer placement organizations, but we can assure you that we will do everything in our power to support you in your volunteer adventure every step of the way.

“What volunteering brings out in people is profound. It has been a magical experience watching each & everyone of you grow over the years. I have watched followers become leaders, dreams be defined, passions be discovered and goals be set & accomplished!

We have laughed together, cried together and been there for each other through this process we call life. Thank you for sharing these magical moments with the community of Boquete, the place I call home, and myself. I am so grateful to have you in my life.

~Oscar Peña
Founder & Executive Director

The Impact on Our Volunteers
"I'm so happy with all that I'm doing right now, where it is taking me and I owe so much of that to my Panama experience. Being there really made me realize what I wanted to do with my life, and I've never been more focused and sure of that than now." ~ Tine Dupre

"I don't even know where to begin! Kaytee & Oscar have CHANGED MY LIFE! Since my time in Panama, I have decided to pursue studies in geography, environmental science, and global health--interests that were extremely strengthened after my time in Panama! Things are moving along so nicely for me, and I know I look at the world completely differently after meeting you guys!

I just want to say that besides my invaluable experience volunteering, I have learned so much about myself and my role in the world. You guys have taught me that every action I take matters and affects someone else in some way, and you have shown me how united people can truly be--just look at the volunteers you get who come from all around the world for a common goal! You two are such incredible role models, you truly care about your health and the environment and your place in the world of helping others. I hope each day to be more like you and take each action deliberately and with purpose...and I can't thank you enough for the motivational quotes you always have on UMMP's wall! Sometimes they are just the thing I need to keep me going through the day  Sending a ton of love your way and hope to see you guys very very soon! Next time I'll drag the family along (or at least get my mom to come with me!!)"
~ Carly Carlin

"Working with Unexpected Moments of Magic in Boquete was one of the most influential moments of my life. It gave me a new outlook on humanity and the beautiful differences that give this world meaning. This change will be carried with me throughout the rest of my life as both a person and as a counselor. Since I left Boquete in January of 2010, I have moved from Colorado to Alabama to begin a Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program at Auburn University. In addition to my coursework and research, I am beginning volunteer work as both a rape crisis advocate and a family counselor for juvenile sexual offenders. I believe that volunteering abroad not only positioned me to be a better doctoral candidate, but also provided me with multicultural skills that are essential in my field. Furthermore, I believe that I experienced a deep growth as a person, becoming more aware of the variety of life paths, most of which I was previously ignorant of. Overall, I believed that my experience with UMMP was an incredibly positive one that I would recommend for anyone looking to broaden their horizons." ~ Meg Lee

"The main thing that stuck with me from Panama was one little girl at the orphanage who on day one was so scared of me as a stranger she would run away. After four or five days she would come and stare at me from a distance, and after a week she followed me around but when I spoke to her she ran away. By the time I left I think I gained her trust, convinced her to do coloring with the others and she wanted me to push her on the swings and hold her hand. On my last day she stood at the gate and waved at me as I walked away down the road, very hard to leave, it broke my heart and still brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. I wish I'd had longer, awful that as soon as she trusted me I had to go but I think of her and all the others a lot. And the Boquete rainbows." ~ Roz Clarke