Mayan Families

Rating: 4.95 stars   377 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
2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 20-8433997
619-550-2608
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

I learned about Mayan Families four years ago, during the process of adopting our daughter. I liked the fact that I knew any donations I sent were in fact being distributed and used wherever needed. I also liked the fact pictures of kids and parents receiving items were always posted. This organization began small, and it's amazing how much it has grown. Those in charge of Mayan Families have done an excellent job keeping up with the growth they have experienced, both in Guatemala and here with the volunteers in the U.S. They always let us know exactly what is needed, and what should not be sent as there are some items that cannot be used. Mayan Families is organized, efficient, and run by a team of dedicated, compassionate individuals.

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

by way of seeing photos of my sponsored students, and I have also collected items from students at school to send to Mayan Families.

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

hire more help :)

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I went to Guatamala in October 2010 and met an worked with Mayan families. I also sponsored a child in Elbarrenco. This has been one of the most heartwarming experiences! Everyone there helping with Mayan families are so nice and I can't wait to go back!

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

October 2010

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

Change nothing. Just wish I could do more!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I spent 8 days in Panajachel with Mayan families staff, and got to serve first hand with the team. Their work is substantial in the lives of the children, seniors and community care they provide. We have sponsored children for 3 years, and are amazed at the photo journalism and photo documentation of our donations, as well as the direct communication link with our sponsored children and their immediate family. The momentum Mayan families has makes it an extremely desirable donation destination, as your giving will very quickly make an impact. I have nothing but high praises for their faith in action. Truly reflecting God's Love with their neighbors and community.

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

By Sponsoring Children, sending donations, serving for 7 days in Panajachel with the Staff.

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

No Changes

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Hello, My husband and I have been sponsoring students with mayan families for 3 years. Last week we made a 10 day visit to Panajachel Guatemala to visit and work with mayan families and visit our students. Our expectations of mayan families far exceeded even what I had thought about their ministry. Firstly, the entire town knows Sharon the director by first name...they call her the "mother Theresa" of this area. We worked with them side by side at the preschool, sewing classes, feeding programs for the children, families and elderly. Getting from small village to village is quite a challenge as they have to travel up small winding roads up the mountain...many are wased away from the mud slides. That does not stop the team. Every single member of mayan families I witnessed working very hard...harder than you can imagine for the people. The highlight of my trip was visiting my sponsored students....it was as if we were part of the family. The excitement they had to meet us and they were so appreciative of our support but we felt more like relatives. I absolutely loved my families and can tell how our support really does make a difference in their lives. Just getting back from Guatemala I can say first hand this organization is worth the $5000 grant. I have told all my friends and family about our experience and am encouraging them to sponsor children...the need in this area is so great. Mayan Families is making a huge impact in the lives of the people...I've seen it!

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

I sponsor 3 children to go to school. And have encouraged family and friends to sponsor. I have sent supplies down for their Christmas party, clothes, shoes, and also things for the preschool/feeding program to get up and running.

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

Help them hirer more locals. Money is tight and the work is great...they need more help. Wish they had more money to hire more local help.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My husband and I are very impressed with how Mayan Families is managed. The Directors (Sharon, Patti, Dwight) are extremely responsible and passionate for the work they do. We donate money for children's education and general expenses - and are happy to do so! Keep up the good work!!

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

Guatemala

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

I can't think of anything that needs to be changed.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Mayan Families is a great organization. All of the staff and vonlunteers are very kind and professional. They are helping in so many ways in the community. There is never a need to big or too small for them. They make you feel at home, even when you are far from your home. I am happy to have had the experience to work with them.

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

Seeing how they have made a difference in Mayans and volunteers lives

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

Give them another location that is larger to be able to organize things better.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

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.

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

Guatemala

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

ask the postal service to ship donations free.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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.

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.

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

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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.

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.

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

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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.

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.

 
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Review from Guidestar