Help a Kid Have a Better Future
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In every country of Latin America (and Panama is no exception) there are unfortunately many children who have been abandoned to their own luck, born in homes with no love, abused, or suffer poverty and sickness. These children need a loving heart, attention, education and friends who can help them find a better life full of opportunities, be successful and most importantly: happy!
Volunteers' tasks within the Childrens' Programs may include:
- working in orphanages assisting with daily activities such as laundry duties or cooking meals, and childcare duties such as feeding or bathing the children
- working with teenage mothers and their newborn children
- helping kids from public schools with their homework
- running sports' lessons, giving computer instruction, and music, dance and singing classes
- helping to prepare meals and secure funding for schools' dining rooms
- playing with children during their breaks
- assisting health professionals to take care of ill children
- teaching English or other subjects in a classroom
- being a mentor for a group of children once per week
For certain volunteer projects, materials are not provided and each volunteer is encouraged to purchase them before arriving to Boquete or Bocas del Toro, Panama. Many volunteers organize fund raisers before flying to Panama.
Childrens' projects include:
Por Los Niños
Por Los Niños main goal is to increase the overall well being of the children at Casa Hogar Trisker. Some children at Trisker are orphans and others use to live in socially challenging conditions and that is why they are taken to Hogar Trisker.
A team of volunteers go to the center twice per week to spend quality one-on-one time with the babies, giving them the love and attention they need at such a crucial time in their lives. Other volunteers can teach skills to the older children (up to 18 years old) or work with children who have autism or other handicap conditions.
This is a part-time program and operates year-round (excluding public holidays). It is suitable for those who have previous experience caring for children. The primary volunteer responsibility is organizing fun activities for the children. Basic Spanish is useful, but English speakers are welcome.
Casa Hogar Trisker also accepts full time volunteers if they can commit for at least 1 month.
Amigos de Boquete
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Amigos de Boquete is a charitable foundation formed by a group of Panamanians and non-Panamanians to assist the school children of Chiriqui Province. The Boquete area has a large, generally poor, indigenous population in which malnutrition is a problem. Amigos has found that when food is provided to a school, attendance often grows by over 30%.
The first two schools to which Amigos provided food were Palo Alto and Jaramillo Arriba. By 2006, the number of schools served by Amigos had increased to five with the addition of Estrella Ballis, Alto Quiel, and Jaramillo Abajo. In 2007, Volcancito and Palmira Arriba were added for a total of seven schools. In addition, during 2007 Amigos began providing food to the Medalla Milagrosa and Hogar Trisker orphanages, to Casa Esperanza, and to Buenos Vecinos which aids Boquete residents who are elderly or infirm. In the school year beginning March 2008, Amigos began supporting five additional schools: El Frances Abajo, El Frances Arriba, Pueblo Nuevo, Pueblo Caldera, and Alto Boquete, bringing the total to 12 schools serviced by Amigos. Amigos is now feeding over 1,100 children each school day. In 2008 and 2009, Amigos donated $10,000 to Buenos Vecinos de Boquete to assist it in achieving economic stability as it works to feed over 50 families in great need.
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Through this music program we empower youth through music, arts and by connecting to their cultural traditions. Music is a powerful tool for children's self-esteem, healing, learning skills, positive development, fine motor skills, and creates a healthy happier community. This music program is currently held at Casa Esperanza in Boquete, Panama.
We are currently seeking skilled musicians to teach the children participating in the project. The project currently has access to a basic keyboard, child guitar, violin, bongos, plastic recorders, tambourines, and some miscellaneous percussion, electric keyboard, adult sized guitar, accordions, drum kit, xylophones, and finger cymbals. The project days and times are flexible pending on volunteers schedule. Spanish conversational speaking skills are needed to effectively communicate with the children. This program operates year round, excluding National Holidays. It is available for volunteers with a commitment of 2 weeks or longer.
SIGN UP NOW & REGISTER TO VOLUNTEER AT CASA ESPERANZA BOQUETE, PANAMA...
Casa Esperanza is one of Panama's most important NGOs (Non governmental Organization) when it comes to fighting against child labour in Panama. In the urban areas like Panama City they work to keep kids off the streets and in rural areas like Boquete they give their parents alternatives so that they do not have to take their children to the farms where they work at.
Each year more than 3,500 children and 1,500 parents benefit from Casa Esperanza's projects.
The children of those parents who are contracted and cannot afford childcare are referred to the Casa Esperanza Center through the employers at their worksite.
Of seven integral services centers one is in Boquete (the rest are in David, Coclé and the other four are in the province of Panama). At these centers multidisciplinary teams provide children and teenagers with academic support, primary healthcare, nutrition, personal and social development, sports, culture and recreational activities. As a volunteer you can assist these teams in their daily tasks such as teaching the kids, playing with them, helping them with their homework, taking care of them when they visit places outside of the center and organizing birthday parties amongst other things.
Casa Esperanza works with children and teenagers in extreme poverty conditions with a focus on those who must work to contribute to their family incomes. They provide children and teens with academic support, primary healthcare, nutrition, personal and social development, sports, culture and recreational activities. Child laborers are referred to the Casa Esperanza Center where there are educational alternatives aimed at reducing their participation in the work force.
Casa Esperanza is currently in need of volunteers to help with homework, sporting activities, food preparation, life skills, literacy, etc. Long term volunteers may also assist the organizational staff to come up with creative solutions and ideas for the challenges being faced by the organization and participants.
The center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and offers special activities on Saturdays.
This is a full time placement, available for volunteers with a 2 week or longer stay only. Conversational Spanish is required. This program operates year-round, except the months of January, February and all National Holidays.
Youth Development Sports Project
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The Youth Development Sports Project helps children develop team building and social skills, promotes hard work and improves the kid's self esteem, leads them towards a healthier lifestyle, and obviously gives them a wonderful chance to play, laugh and have fun, just like all kids should do... kids should only have two jobs: study and play! When a child can run around with freedom all his troubles seem to float away...
Volunteers can assist at public schools, day care centers or at orphanages. Volunteers can expect to practice and teach soccer, gymnastics, baseball, basketball, kickball and many other sports.
This program is part-time and will need to be combined with other projects to make up a full-time schedule. If you like to play, run around, and let that inner child in you loose, then this project is for you!
This program is held both in Boquete and in Bocas del Toro, Panama.
Había una vez... Reading Project
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Había una vez... (Once upon a time...), our local reading and book-lending program, began recently with the involvment of the Club Activo 20 - 30 branch of Boquete, (a Panamanian non profit organization). The original idea started back in December of 2008 with fomer local expat Richel Brown and her "Loco por Leer" program at the library in Palmira Centro, and has now expanded to other places within our community.
Literacy levels are very low within the indigenous communities of Panama, and those who do learn to read, aren't overly enthusiastic about books. Había una vez... promotes the joy of reading and provides many children with the opportunity to spend quality time with someone who gives them love and respect.
Every Saturday morning, Había una vez... offers a program of reading in small groups: exploring topics through writing exercises, information organization and creative activities. Each session ends with the children choosing a book to check out and take home for one week. Había una vez... owns a library of childrens' books in Spanish donated by Books for a Better World, the Boquete Rotary Club, the Active 20 - 30 Club of Boquete and many other generous individuals.
The Había una vez group is always in need of advanced level Spanish speaking volunteers to read with the kids on Saturdays and project leaders whom wish to start their own Había una vez group. Book donations are always happily received.
Public Schools in Boquete and Bocas del Toro, Panama (March - December)
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Volunteers can help at several public schools in Boquete and Bocas del Toro such as the Escuela Josefa Montero de Vásquez, Escuela de Alto Boquete and Escuela República de Nicaragua.
Volunteers can work supporting English teachers, kindergarten teachers, sport teachers and the Multiple Challenges classroom where there are kids with special needs.
Public schools are open en Panama from March to December and kids attend schools either in the mornings or afternoons.