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February 23, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 23, 2011

I recently came back from a missions trip to Panajachel and La Barranco. I was not only introduced to Mayan Families org but to Sharon and Dwight and several other leaders; and saw the great deeds they do and the great care they give. I witnessed the senior adult feeding program, a preschool in progress, a preschool being built, confidence in the eyes of mothers knowing their children would receive schooling and proper nutrition through sponsorship, and I also witnessed kindness to animals in need; spaying, neutering, and rescuing. I am proud to say I became a sponsor enabling a child to attend school. Unlike another organization I have been involved with where I sponsor two children for 5 years, I was able to have personal contact through Mayan Families . I was able to meet the child and his family and visit their home and village. I learned of their personal needs so I can be of real assistance to them. And best of all I was invited back anytime to see the improvements, the growth made from my small contributions. I cannot wait to return in a year, til then I know I can call, write to any one of the Mayan Family org workers and they will be able to tell me how my new little family are doing.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Guatemala

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

ask the postal service to ship donations free.

February 19, 2011

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February 19, 2011

We worked along side many others to install stoves, pass out clothing and food in Mayan villages in the highlands above Panajachel, Guatemala. While I was mightily impressed for a week - it is sobering to realize these folks at Mayan Families are there 24/7/365 knowing the needs of the communities, working to care for families, and to provide critical help for individuals. They are amazing. They juggle priorities against resources all the while training indigenous folks by providing real work and real income.

We brought bags of food to families whose corn crop had failed the second year in a row. We passed out clothing. Shoes were the greatest need for the children. And we got to look into the beautiful brown eyes of the little boys and tell them we had no more shoes. I would have emptied my bank account to go to Walmart and buy ALL the shoes so each child could have a pair. This isn't the beaches of the coastal areas of Central Americal. This is narrow and steep rocky paths just to get to someone's little home. Their homes were often a lean-to with corregated metal, dirt floors and bedding on the floors. Shoes seemed basic but most had none.

I am home but I often think of the work that Mayan Families does with these gentle people trying to hold on to their traditions, language, arts. I know whatever $$ is sent to them will be stretched every way possible.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

In the faces of the people that are helped. These Oneil stoves that they put in are installed in about an hour. THey use maybe 10% of the wood that a traditional wood stove requires -- which is good for the environment and relieves the families from spending so much time scavanging for burning materials. And it probably is easier on the lungs of the little ones who must breathe whatever the stoves put out.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help them find more revenue streams because they utilize all the resources they have access to help these Mayan Families. They live this passion for the people every single day.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

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

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

I have no suggestions. For Mayan Families, the work goes on whether there are volunteers there or not. SO they have dedicated a worker or two to work with the volunteers because the volunteers go home with stories. And those stories are good for the Mayan's.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Sure I a made some friends.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

The environment is beautiful. The people are friendly and open. I was ready to move down there.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

February 18, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 18, 2011

I volunteered for the third time with Mayan Families in Dec, 2010/Jan, 2011. I have sponsored a child through their Education program for three years, first meeting the child I sponsor on my first visit with Mayan Families in 2009. The organization had arranged to visit patients in the local hospital and give them water, crackers and stuffed animals for Christmas. One of the staff members of Mayan Families dressed up as Santa. The conditions at the hospital were horrid and depressing, and the visit from Santa and small gifts transformed people's Christmas experience. We then went on to visit a small village outside of Solola, where we handed out several hundred stuffed animals to children who otherwise would have had nothing for Christmas. I was amazed at the personal touch of the director and staff and how they quickly welcomed otherslike me to join them in their outings. The organization is incredibly accessible and allows for a high level of personal interaction between the sponsors and students and sponsors and staff. The organization focuses on immediate needs of their students and families as well as working on underlyingsocial issues and causes of poverty.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

a myriad of ways. I've visited my student and heard about her progress in school. I've connected with the sponsors of the other children in my student's family and together we've made it possible for them to create sustainable and dependable sources of income. I've seen the difference that shoes make in the lives of children who have none. And I've seen the difference that being a part of this organization has made in my life and my family and friends' lives. We have all become a part of Mayan Families.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Charge more! This may sound crazy, but Mayan Families allows such personal access and individual attention that at times itplaces a huge burden on the staff. The organization needs to hire more staff to lessen the burden and the cost should be borne by the sponsors.

More feedback...

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?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Yes - I made new connections.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Like I was doing work that makes a real difference in people's lives.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

February 18, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 18, 2011

I am an adoptive parent of 3 boys from Guatemala. We have gone to Guatemala many times and helped various organizations there. My husband is an ophthalmologist so we go to do eye exams and send the glasses back. I am impressed with Mayan families and Sharon and Dwight who head this organization. I learned of Mayan families from adoption listserves that I am on about Guatemala. On our last trip, we visited Mayan Families and took donations. They have a LOT going on there, trying to help Mayan families there in various villages nearby. They also work with other charitable organizations there to provide the best possible services without duplication. I could see that Sharon and Dwight have dedicated their lives to this. They help with housing, school, medicare care, food, clothing, disaster relief, and basically every place there is a need. We have helped financially on several occasions and plan to continue doing so. Their use of the funds is very well thought out and careful. I have recommended them to other people who were looking for a reputable charity to help there and I will continue to do so.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I saw the physical setup of where they take donations and I have seen many many stories in my internet experience with them and other organizations where they have helped the Mayan people.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I really cannot imagine what they should do differently other than make sure that they have a big enough following to maintain the great work they are doing.

February 17, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 17, 2011

I have volunteered and am a donor with Mayan Families. The reason i love this group and will continue working with them for the rest of my life is because of the tireless desire to help everyone they possibly can. MF spend as much money as physically possible on their programs with minimal spent on overheads, fancy offices, caras , homes or their own lifestyle. The only thing I would change would be concentrating on the current projects and not taking on any new o es for at least a couple of years.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Providing nutrition and education to hundreds of Mayan children.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

See above. No new projects. Consolidate and enhance current projects.

More feedback...

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?

Quite well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

A professional full time project coordinator

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

More compassionate towards humanity and further understanding of other cultures.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Humbled

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

February 17, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 17, 2011

I have worked with Mayan Families as a donor, volunteer, and am currently coordinating a service trip with them. There are a couple of things that truly impress me. First and foremost, their desire to help others that face a life of limited opportunities and resources. Second, they understand the importance of education - whether in school age children, older students, or teaching women a skill (i.e., sewing) - so that they will have more choices and be empowered in their lives. Third, while they understand that education and skill training is important, they understand you must meet the basic needs of food and shelter at the same time. The Mayan Families staff works tirelessly to help others - even when their own families might be suffering (i.e., tropical storm devastation). As a result of their hard work and ability to "show" donors (through pictures and stories) what they are accomplishing, they have been able to attract many more donors and volunteers. This allows them to continue furthering their work. Last, and maybe most importantly, I have witnessed the manner in which the founders and staff do their work. It is in a humble manner and endears them to the Guatemalan people.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my volunteer work and position as a service trip coordinator.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

allow them to have more resources to continue their work.

February 17, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 17, 2011

Mayan families is an amazing organization that has done some great work to support families in meaningful ways in the Guatemalan state of Solola, where my daughter's birth family lives. When you donate to Mayan Families, you get to see your donation make a real difference. I know first hand how great the need in that region is and they are an organization that is making a deliberate and effective impact in the lives of many Guatemalan families.

In addition, when my family was visiting my daughter's birth family in the region, my son became ill. The Mayan Families staff helped get us to a pharmacy where we could buy the medicine we needed to help him.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

See my story above -- they helped my family when we were in Guatemala. I have seen first hand the difference they have made.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

broaden its reach. If only they could replicate what Mayan Families is doing across Guatemala, the country would be a healthier, safer place.

February 15, 2011

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February 15, 2011

I first became involved with Mayan Families in 2006 and I was able to visit with them and my sponsored student a few months later. I was fortunate to return last year to spend a week volunteering with them and I cannot praise them enough for their hard work, long hours and above all, their caring personal commitment with such upbeat can do attitudes among so much poverty and despair. It’s been a pleasure to watch them grow as an organization and expand their programs to help so many indigenous poor in both short term and permanent ways.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have seen the results of this organization while visiting the areas that they serve and with my sponsored students and their families. There are obvious improvements in the living conditions and overall their health as well as the continued education of so many children that otherwise would not have such an opportunity. I’m happy to say that one of their rescued pups is now a member of our family.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn’t change the organization, Mayan Families does a wonderful job, the one thing holding them back from being even greater is FUNDING. With the proper funding they could give more people the tools needed to break the cycle of poverty by replicating their already successful programs in other area communities and by reaching more people within the communities that they already serve.

February 13, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 13, 2011

In the aftermath of Tropical Storm Agatha here in Guatemala, Mayan Families gathered extensive amounts of food and distributed it to families in rural Mayan villages who had had their houses destroyed by the storm. I noted that the organization put a great emphasis on ensuring that their aid was given to the true victims of the storm, and that the aid met the most pressing needs of those they were serving. Since most of the Mayan Families staff are indigenous Guatemalans from the local communities, this was a much easier task for them to accomplish than had it been done by an outside organization wtihout connections locally.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Panajachel, Guatemala while volunteering with the organization

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

There were no obvious deficiencies in their program that I noticed during the time I was volunteering with them.

February 4, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 4, 2011

I recently had the awesome opportunity to visit Guatemala for the first time with a group from my church and spent some time with Sharon from Mayan Families. We made home visits with Sharon to several of the families that they sponsor and helped to pass out some supplies the families needed. It was very heart warming to see how this program is working to make a huge difference in each of the families situations. The people were so thankful for the smallest of items they received. I plan to return in the future to help Sharon and her staff in any way I can.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

To see the smiles on the faces of the families receiving much needed supplies was very heartwarming.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

This organization is working in so many ways to assist the families and meet their needs.

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3 hours of volunteer time for this nonprofit will...

Install Fuel efficient Stoves, translate student letters, hand out donations and much more depending on our schedule! Volunteer