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!

Volunteer Expectations

Expectations -vs- Realities
At UMMP we are dedicated to you, our volunteers. Our desire is to create a friendly, open & trusting environment where you can explore yourself while serving others.

Volunteering with UMMP is not about coming to Panama to change the world. Rather, it is about coming to Panama to change yourself and help others in your process. We believe the best way we can create change in this world is to create change within ourselves. By serving others, it teaches us to be selfless & grateful. By donating our resources, it teaches us to be benevolent & generous. By experiencing another culture, it opens our hearts & eyes to new ideas & ways of being human. By working with people in challenging situations, we gain a new perspective on things we may be taking for granted in our own life. By putting ourselves outside our comfort zone, it teaches us to overcome our fears. By challenging ourselves to do something different, we build confidence in ourselves & in our abilities to fulfill our hopes & dreams.

The volunteering itself will not change your life, but the experience in its entirety will.

While learning about yourself, you get the opportunity to brighten a child’s day and put smiles on their faces. To teach an eager student something new by sharing your knowledge with them. To connect with someone of a different culture helping you to realize, we are one. To learn new ways of communicating while learning another language. To help a child to forget for a moment that they have cancer. To hold a motherless baby. To be there for someone in the good times and the bad. To lead & be an example for others. And most importantly, to empower them to fulfill their dreams & goals.

We connect you with the opportunity, you create the experience. Join us as we learn & grow together united for a brighter tomorrow.

What you can expect:
To grow as an individual.
To make a positive impact on the community & in your placement.
To learn about a new culture.
To challenge yourself.

What you cannot expect:
To change the world in a short period of time.
To be placed in a high level position.
To understand the cultural elements to living and working in a foreign country.
To know the in’s and out’s of the organization to determine what is best for them.

Make the Most of Your Volunteer Experience
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, education, money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes.” ~Charles R. Swindoll

After working with thousands of volunteers, we have realized the impact attitude has on your placement & overall volunteer experience. Just as it can make or break a company, your attitude can make or break your international volunteer experience. You can choose to see the beauty or you can choose not to. Remember, it is our job to connect you with the service opportunity, but you are in control of creating the experience you desire to have.

Taking part in a volunteer program abroad allows you to experience something very special and life changing, but is not always the most comfortable experience for some individuals. If you are coming to Panama as your first trip out of your home country, I can promise you that you will experience a bit of culture shock and have moments of difficulty understanding how things work in other parts of the world. The good news is, UMMP is there for you every step along the way of your journey to support you and be there for you. We are a family, we grow & learn together!

Remember, you are coming to a foreign country where you may not speak the language and want to help, and you will, but be fair with your expectations of what you can do. If you do not speak the language, you can make the assumption that this will be the most challenging thing to you overcome. You are here to help, but you are limited with your communication. That is okay, it will make you stronger, but at the time may be frustrating.

What You Can Expect to Gain Professionally
Having volunteer experience on your resume says a lot about who you are as an individual. Make your resume stand out from the rest! Show that you are an involved citizen, and someone who works to make the world a better place to live.

Accentuate your volunteer experience by describing the volunteer work in terms of your achievements, highlighting the skills that you learned & demonstrated. Take the time to analyze what you learned as a volunteer. Did you have the chance to practice public speaking? Write reports, news releases, newsletters? Plan projects, coordinate sub-committees, train others to do the work? Such skills are applicable to just about any setting.

If you are a student seeking your first real job, being able to show volunteer work on a resume demonstrates that you had interests beyond the classroom. If you are returning to the paid work force after some time away, your volunteer activities prove that you kept yourself sharp & involved. If you want to change career fields, it may be your volunteer work in the new field that tells a prospective employer you're worth the risk, even if all your paid employment history is in some other field.

How Volunteers Benefit Organizations: The Reciprocal Effect.

Volunteers serve in many capacities within organizations by contributing time, energies or talents that help to fulfill the organizations' mission. Volunteers generate enthusiasm & interest and help to create a positive image of the organization in the community. Volunteers extend & improve the work of paid staff. They bring new insights, energy and time to the work. 

The individual volunteer benefits by having the opportunity to pursue an interest and consequently gain new information, develop new skills or enhance existing knowledge. Volunteers form leadership and social skills as they interact with paid staff, clients and other volunteers. They develop personal pride and satisfaction as they serve. Volunteers continue to develop their knowledge, often gaining considerable expertise from the volunteer experience.

Communities benefit from volunteers’ contribution in that the services they provide helps individuals, families and the community to address local needs & problems. Greater enthusiasm and rapport develops when volunteers share their enthusiasm for the work they are doing and the organization they are affiliated with. This is why UMMP gathers as much information as possible about your area of interest to place you where your passions can be explored. Volunteers encourage others to become involved and act as leaders & examples for others.

Volunteers fulfill many roles in organizations. Generally, they fall into four categories of work: direct service, administrative support, fundraising, and leadership. However, individual activities vary greatly. They may serve as teachers, tutors, counselors, mentors, companions, and coaches. They organize events, participate in fundraisers, provide clerical support, develop new resources, provide logistical support, develop programs, assist with promotional events, and provide leadership and guidance. The roles volunteers can fill are many and of great importance. Volunteers are extensions of professional staff engaged in the fulfillment of the organization’s mission.