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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.

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.

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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