Over 250 youth served so far • Ages 7 to 16
40 youth currently enrolled
- Casa Hogar Trisker Orphanage - Casa Hogar Trisker is a government program founded in September 1994. The orphanage currently looks after 25 to 40 children of all ages from the streets of Panama. The children may have been orphaned, abandoned, and/or abused. Many of these children are orphans, others abandoned by parents too poor to care for them. The children often live in fear or learn to consider crime as a normal part of life. The local villagers fundraise to pay for school uniforms, books, toys and equipment for the children. They also try to provide fruit and vegetables for the often malnourished children.
- Antonio Singh - organizer of the Boquete Jazz Festival
The Music Summer Camp began in 2008 and offers intensive workshops for its students in music and art. Youth also have the opportunity to attend Saturday music classes at UNACHI, the local university. In addition, UNACHI provides scholarships for weekly music lessons to children who really want to be dedicated music students. The students also perform at local seasonal public concerts and at the International Boquete Jazz Festival. Through the project students gain:
- Guitar, flute, keyboard skills
- Latin percussion skills
- Folk dancing classes
- Vocal training
- Experience in reading music
- Art and jewelry skills
- Performance experience
- Increased self esteem
- Awareness of cultural traditions
- Leadership skills
Professor Ovidio, leading coordinator of the LI Panama project
A symphony musician with over 20 years of professional experience connecting youth to music. He teaches at the School of Music at UNACHI (Universidad Autónoma de Chiriqui). He is the founder and director of the UNACHI Symphony, and the founder of Chiriqui Mariachi Band, and holds degrees in music and education. He is the leading coordinator of the LI music program.
“I can see that the music has really changed the kids. They smile and forget their problems. Irma and the Orphanage Staff have been doing physiology reports of the kids. The kids in the music programs show a significant improvement in attitude, behavior, concentration, and working together.” -Professor Ovidio
Marselino Sanchez, Ngobe Indian guitarist
An Ngobe Indian who teaches guitar in the Panamanian Folk Rhythms traditions. He works at Café Ruiz coffee processing factory up in the hills, and raises his grand-children. Years ago he suffered a leg injury, and his brother brought him a guitar as a diversion during his extended hospital stay. LI Panama has allowed him the opportunity to revive his love of music.
“It is a dream come true to teach Ngobe Indian children music.” -Marselino Sanchez
Andrea Arias Fallas, Costa Rican professional dancer
Other music instructors: Humberto, Pepe Calavera, Professor Edgar Reyes, Gloria Naranjo, Jorge O'Brian Roseman Cajar
Feedback from LEAF Staff
“LI Panama is changing lives in a profound way. This trip reinforced my conviction that music has the power to transcend socio-economic, geo-political, or even self-imposed barriers. I am honored to be associated with such a powerful program."
- Steve Thompson, LI Panama Ambassador 2009
“Upon our first visit, it was more akin to a prison than a home for the abandoned and orphaned Ngobe Indian children. Three years later, Casa Hogar Trisker has come alive with music and renewed its connection and respect within the local community. The kids in the music programs are regular performers in the town square.”
- Jennifer Pickering, Founder and Executive Director of LEAF