Mayan Families

Rating: 4.95 stars   362 reviews

Issues: Human Services, International

Location: 2609 Hartford St San Diego CA 92110 USA

Mission: Mayan Families provides opportunities and assistance to the indigenous and impoverished people of Guatemala, through education and community development programs. Vision Mayan Families operates on the principle that all people should have access to the basic necessities of life. We strive to accomplish our goals through working democratically with the communities we serve.
Results: Over 2,800 Students sponsored to go to school in 2012! Hundreds of Micro Loans given out to impoverished Indigenous Mayan Women. Thousands of Water Filters given out to Indigenous Families. 6 Preschools running year round that feed and educate numerous malnourished children. 6 years of Spay and Neuter Clinics in rural Guatemala and so much more! Please go to our web site at www.mayanfamilies.org
Target demographics: Indigenous Maya people in Guatemala
Direct beneficiaries per year: Tens of thousands
Geographic areas served: Guatemala
Programs: Education Student Sponsorship Sponsor a Student General Education Sewing Classes Community Programs Family Aid Sponsor a Family Elderly Feeding Program Holiday Tamale Baskets Healthy Families Animal Welfare Sponsor a Dog or Puppy Chickens Onil and other Fuel Efficient Stoves Water Filters Micro Finance and Micro Loans Construction Mayan Families Kids and Teens Sports program

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Mayan families is a well established and fast growing non-profit. But don't let this fool you, they have the reputation of a great organization for a reason. Not only do they continue to help so many people in need but also, the people that work for Mayan Families really make it what it is. Mayan Families promotes a group help mentality; continually working and thinking together towards the goal of helping those in need. This, in turn, makes for a very awesome and in-depth volunteering experience. An experience consisting of more than being just a tourist, skimming the surface of a town, and not knowing how to help. I highly recommend Mayan Families to anyone looking for a volunteering opportunity in Guatemala.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I sponsor 9 children with Mayan Families and have volunteered with them many times. The staff is great and the organization does so much to help the indigenous families around lake Atitlan. They have made a difference in so many peoples lives.

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Rating: 5 stars  

While working with Mayan Families this past month, I could not tell you properly how impressed I was with both the staff, and their ability to make things work for the benefit of these Mayan Families. They are truly a blessing. I worked in the classroom while the students were taken individually to test their Spanish skills. Working with them in the classroom was great, but doing volunteer database work made it come full circle. I was able to see and input the results from the different schools, and they floored me. I was overall impressed with the staff and the students.

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Rating: 5 stars  

We currently are sponsoring two students and helping their families through Mayan Families. We just came back from a 5 week trip to Guatemala where we also were able to do some volunteering with Mayan Families. It is an amazing organization helping many families and kids. Their many preschools in the areas around Lake Atitlan provide not only basic education, especially Spanish study. to ready the children for primary school but also a daily nutritional breakfast, followed by teeth brushing (we led a class this time at a preschool in the highlands and donated toothbrushes for 50+ children!) We visited our 2 sponsored families, seeing the living conditions of extreme poverty is an eye opener and helps us know that our relatively modest donations for a roof, stove, table, chairs, beds, are much needed and valued. This is an organization we are so happy to be involved with. They are also great in maintaining communication with us about the organization and our sponsored families. Thank you, Mayan Families! Lynn and Greg

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

What a blessing working with Mayan Families! My husband and I just returned from our volunteer mission trip Nov 2014. During our trip we encountered so many kind and compassionate people.
Mayan Families is truly changing the lives of the children and families of Panajachel. We were welcomed with open arms and warm hearts. We cannot wait for our next opportunity to volunteer with Mayan Families.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have had the honor of interacting with Mayan Families for just over a year. During this time I have a total of 10 days seeing first hand how well they live their purpose: giving a hand up to the Mayan people of the Lake Atitlan area of the Western Highlands. They are caring, well organized, creative and efficient. Without Mayan Families, our Hands Of Healing Guatemala Team ( Medical and Vision) could not
possibly be as effective. Their partnership directs where we go, transports us to and from the villages, find us a place to set up, registers our patients and provides us with Spanish and local K'iche'
and Kachiquel translators. They open our eyes to the great needs of our Mayan friends and encourage us to continue to help long after we are gone by sponsorships and any number of other ways! Their great and generous heart is in EVERYTHING they do. It is a privilege being in partnership with them as a medical team member and as a sponsor of a precious 8 year old Mayan student!!

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I was priveleged to be part of a medical team called Hands of Healing Guatemala that came to work with Mayan Families in Panajachel, Guatemala in late October of this year. I am new to this team but this partnership has been going on between these two organizations for a few years. Mayan Families is the umbrella non profit under which HOH can serve Mayan villages in the Western Highlands around Largo Atitlan. Mayan Families offered us their transportation, safety, translators and helped identify the villages who most needed our medical services. Their staff helped us in every way, every day even giving us walking tours of Pana and allowing us to tour and see how their organization functions on a daily basis.. We saw such a dedication to their Mayan brothers and sisters. Everything they do is to help better the life of every Mayan person they meet. They offer sponserships for the elderly, for children and for families. They coordinate sponserships for housing, water filters, stoves, food,. They manage 7 pre-schools and coordinate sponsers for each child. They even have a medical clinic at their compound. They make it easy to donate and ,by everthing I saw and heard,they use the donations in the most effecient ways. Personally, I was amazed at the credentials and educational backgrounds of the staff. Many young ex-pats who are committed to giving a "hand up" to the Mayan people and even many Mayan young people giving back to their people. I saw hard work, long days, lots of traveling and strong leadership. I personally was moved, by their example, to purchase water filters and co-sponser a young child to ensure her education. During each days medical clinic, their staff worked hand in hand with us to provide exams, medicine,vitimins glasses and shoes to as many people as can be seen in a day. It was a life changing experience for me and I certainly was inspired by everyone who worked for Mayan Families . Judy--- Birmingham, Alabama, USA

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 4 stars  

I was a volunteer physician with a group from the Anona Church in the Tampa area. We volunteered our time and efforts to the Mayan People in five different areas. I personally have never seen such abject poverty. I have also never seen a more caring group with whom to work.
The Mayans are the indigenous people of Guatemala who like the American Indian have had there land taken away by the more powerful. Unfortunately, for the Mayans there is no safety net and they live malnourished, sick, uneducated and in such crowded and unhygienic conditions that it begs the imagination. Hands of Healing recognizes that the most sustainable thing they can do is education, specifically teach the Spanish language, water purification, provide efficient wood burning stoves, and do their best to provide some basic medical care. They are accomplishing this every day.
Personally, I saw diseases of children for which I could do nothing and for which there are no alternatives except HOH and they as an organization are overwhelmed with specific medical problems while at the same time, they realize that resources can be better spent on public health or education. Tough choices. I feel confident that HOH spends its monies prudently and efficiently in its great attempt to "treat thy neighbor as you would your self"

Gerry Kilpatrick MD.

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Rating: 5 stars  

We came to volunteer with Mayan Families as part of a Mission Trip. We installed stoves, worked in the pre-schools, organized a soccer game, and worked with elder care.
We were SO impressed with Mayan Families and everything they organized for us. Not only was it amazing to work so closely with the families and see a real impact we were having on their lives, but the Mayan Families staff was so friendly and helpful, it was wonderful getting to know them as well. They were very organized, planned everything for us, and we even had beautiful accommodations that they set up for us at a nice hotel, as well as got to go out for lots of great dinners with the Mayan Families staff.
My favorite parts were seeing our youth group having fun with the kids and youth from the area, playing soccer, catch, and just hanging out. The area is so beautiful, the people are real artisans and so kind, and Mayan Families was the best organization we have been on a mission trip with. I recommend them so highly!

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I worked as an intern at Mayan Families for two months this summer and had the most rewarding and valuable experience of my life so far. I had visited Guatemala with a university group for one week in May and met with several nonprofit organizations across the country to find potential partners. Mayan Families stood out as well-organized and fast-growing. Throughout my entire internship there the staff was friendly and helpful. The organization runs numerous programs that very visibly help families living in poverty. Every native Guatemalan that I met appreciated the work that Mayan Families does in the region. They work very reliably and transparently when distributing donations. They truly do educate, feed, shelter, and heal.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

My Children and I started working with Mayan Families in 2009 and have been back twice including this last summer for a month. One of the things that sets this organization apart from other good ones in the Lake Atitlan area is that they truly make use of the resources that are offered. They don't charge you to work for them and they operate on a shoestring (even for Guatemala) and work very hard. I have seen their growth from a relatively small NGO to being a Major Provider of services to those who have no safety net. They are forward thinking an their focus is on education. They start with the youngest, most at risk children and help them to be successful in school. Their primary purpose is to educate. To do this effectively the people they service need help with food, shelter, and health. They do their best to "teach a man to fish and feed them for a lifetime" but sometimes during the process help is needed to continue the process.

Another significant part of this organization is that two of the directors and most of the employees are indigenous and understand the culture and needs of the served population. This allows them to better monitor who really needs help, how they need help, and who is trying to play the system. Sharon, Dwight, and Patti have worked very hard to make their corner of the world a better place and to allow other who want to help and participate the means of doing so.

I couldn't possibly give enough stars to Mayan Families because "far exceeds expectations" does not even begin to explain how I feel about their ethos and efforts. I will continue to work with them for years to come and recommend to anyone I know who is willing to make a difference that they consider doing the same!

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

My son did his eagle project through Mayan families. They were very good to work through. We went down to Guatemala and saw first hand how they are helping people help themselves.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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