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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.

February 2, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 2, 2011

I first came in contact with Mayan Families when I began sponsoring a couple of children through them to attend school. I was immediately impressed with the way the charity is respectful of the people, working within the community and within the culture and not as outsiders stepping in with what they "think" should be. I was also impressed with the way they kept in contact with me as a sponsor, sending me copies of my sponsored child's report card, sending me photos of my child receiving their school supplies and keeping me updated on my sponsored child's situation. I was so impressed with the results I was seeing Mayan Famlies accomplish that I went from sponsoring a couple of children to sponsoring 10 children.

I keep updated with the activities at Mayan Families through their web sites and blogs. I became aware that they were raising money to build a community center in the community of San Jorge, Guatemala. Mayan Families saw a need for a preschool in this community. Many of the families in this community speak a local Mayan language in their homes. When their children began school, which is taught in Spanish, they immediately fell behind due to the language barrier and many would drop out of school early. The community center would serve as a preschool and would begin teaching the children Spanish, which would allow them greater success in school and employment within Guatemala. My church assisted in raising the money for this center. Mayan Families involved the community in the construction of this center and kept my church updated on its progress. Eight members of my church traveled to Guatemala to view the center during its construction. My group was not only impressed with the center but with the staff of Mayan Families. Every staff member had a dedication to their work and a selflessness. They truly love the people they serve. While visiting the charity, I saw one of the founders of the charity grab a sweater out of her daughter's closet to give to a child when she noticed how cold the child was and the charity did not have a sweater to fit her. The founder did not know I was watching this event transpire. Several of the staff members even volunteered their time on their day off to assist me in a volunteering endevour I was undertaking.

The community center in San Jorge now holds a very active preschool and will soon hold an afterschool program for students needing assistance with their homework. The center is a sanitary location for medical and dental clinics and a meeting location for community groups. My church could not be more happy with the results...with the lovely building and with all of the positive ways the building is serving the community. The medical clinics held in the center have actually saved lives.

The Great!

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

I have met every one of my sponsored children. I have hugged them and heard from them how excited they are to be attending school. I have seen the beautiful community center that my church helped build. My local Kiwanis Club collects new and used shoes every year that we send to Mayan Families. Mayan Families distributes these shoes to those in need and every year they send us hundreds of photos of the shoes being distributed. I have complete confidence in this organization and their amazing work.

Ways to make it better...

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

I think they are doing a great job and have no complaints.

February 2, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 2, 2011

I had the wonderful opportunity of working with Mayan Families in Dec 2010 and visited many of the projects/villages that they support. They do amazing work and have an amazing staff. The staff works long hours and only has the best interest of those that they serve in their hearts. I have seen the positive effects that they have had in the lives of the children and families that they serve. Without their services, many children would not receive a healthy meal every day; many would not have a chance to receive any schooling. This is an amazing organization that is making a difference in the lives of 1000's in Guatemala.

The Great!

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

I've spent time with the various programs and seen children go from malnourished to nourished.

Ways to make it better...

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

Give them more volunteers and more hours in the day to accomplish their goals.

February 2, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 2, 2011

Mayan Families is an amazing grass roots group. I have taken a group of veterinarians and volunteers for the past three years where we perform 4 days of spay and neuter clinics. We also work with a local veterinarian and the Guatemalan vet students. We have performed 417 surgeries over the past 3 years and plan to continue every year. They have done an awesome job in creating awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering the animals as well as the importance of treating animals humanely. The MF founders, staff and volunteers are all hands on during our week stay. It is amazing all that they accomplish and the dedication that they have for the people and the animals of Guatemala.

The Great!

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

I have seen the results of this organization when I return each year and see a decrease in street animals as well as I see the results when I receive letters from my sponsored students and see them thriving in school.

Ways to make it better...

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

I would get them more money so they can continue to expand and increase their programs to allow them to touch more lives human and non-human.

February 1, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 1, 2011

I started volunteering with Mayan Families after one of our children was killed. It was a way to deal with the pain and help other children finish their education. Currently I sponsor two students for education and assist other families with food and other necessities. In the past year I have visited and volunteered with Mayan Families four times and plan to return several times each year. It is amazing how much they do for their community through education, medical, potable water, safe wood-burning stoves, elder care, animal welfare, etc. They are empowering their clients to change their lives and the energy and determination of both staff and volunteers is both amazing and inspiring.

The Great!

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

Seeing how education is changing the lives of children who otherwise could not attend school, forging friendships with those students and their families, working with dedicated staff and volunteers.

Ways to make it better...

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

None!

February 1, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 1, 2011

Mayan Families is an incredibly dedicated organization in the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala. With programs ranging from Student Sponsorship to Medical needs, they take a multi-dimensional approach to helping the indigenous Mayan population with immediate needs.

The Great!

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

several ways. I have seen first hand the wonderful good they are doing for many families.

Ways to make it better...

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

increase the long term development focus. It is hard to look at long term needs when faced with immediate crisis, but without sustainable development we'll never move past crisis mode. I'd love to see the Micro-finance sector grow, vocational training, and gardening/permaculture.

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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