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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.

February 1, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 1, 2011

I have been both a volunteer and a donor since 2006, when I first learned about Mayan Families and met Sharon. I was living in Antigua during the adoption of my two children, and was looking for a way to give back a little to the country and people who had given me so much. The first few times I visited Sharon she was accomodating and enthusiastic as she showed me around, introduced me to villages and families, and to many of MF's programs. From the onset I was very impressed with the breadth of her vision, her commitment and amazing empathy, and her ability to generate trust and loyalty in the staff and in the many donors and volunteers who make their work possible. In the five years snce I became involved with them, the organization has grown enormously, as have the number of programs and people they serve . I think they have managed this growth extremely well and seem to do a great job of always making it -- whatever it happens to be at the moment -- happen!

The Great!

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

My visits to Panajachel. I have seen first hand the number (in the thousands) of people that Mayan Families helps, and have seen the breadthe of the programs/services they provide ... all amzingly successfully

Ways to make it better...

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

clone Sharon

January 26, 2011

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January 26, 2011

My family and I recently returned from a visit to Mayan Families. It is not an exaggeration to say how much this trip changed our lives. We have been donors to Mayan Families for nearly four years and I was already a fan, but meeting Sharon and Dwight (the leaders of the organization) and seeing their projects first hand cemented my appreciation of Mayan Families.

As a professional fundraiser for nonprofit organizations, I am especially impressed with the way that Mayan Families is managed. Their budget is extremely lean and Dwight and Sharon have the best interests of the Mayan people at heart. There is no waste and the small staff is paid a fair yet conservative wage.

Mayan Families in now among my top three philanthropic priorities.

The Great!

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

I have been sponsoring a student to attend school for the past four years. On this trip, I visited my student and her family. I have also observed their animal rescue program, food distribution, and efforts to build schools.

Ways to make it better...

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

Identify additional funding to enable Mayan Families to hire additional staff and ensure the continuity of the programs they operate.

January 16, 2011

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January 16, 2011

I think I can honestly say that becoming involved in Mayan Families changed my life. I went from being someone who loved to travel to exotic places without giving back much to someone who is now acutely concerned with the challenges faced by people in those lands. But more than that, I have a way to give back, join a fantastic donor/volunteer community, and actually do something to help.

My husband and I went down to Guatemala twice to see Mayan Families. I wrote a full account of those trips on my blog:

http://gonnamakeachange.blogspot.com/2008/06/guatemala-trip-roundup.html

http://gonnamakeachange.blogspot.com/2009/01/december-2008-guatemala-trip-roundup.html

I would wholeheartedly recommend Mayan Families to anyone!

The Great!

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

student sponsorship, feeding of the poor, distribution of needed items, etc.

Ways to make it better...

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

None!

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?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

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

Can't think of anything.

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

Absolutely. Greater understanding of Guatemala and the world. New friends. A new passion.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

Great! I only wish I could help more.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

January 6, 2011

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January 6, 2011

I thought Mayan Families gave him everything I ordered for him, (example: a bed, food, etc) - but, I wanted to make sure.

In May of 2008, my son along with 4 others went to visit Mayan Families. Long story short, I was impressed by the dedication to the Mayan Families team. While we
were there we noticed Mayan Families workers going above and beyond helping the people in Panahachel and surrounding areas. When people would show up out the the blue for help, Mayan Families was there for them, day or night.

Sharron of Mayan Families is warm, giving and very hard working. All of the workers were friendly, compassionate and loved what they do, which is helping poor people in Guatemala on a daily basis - rain or shine.

I cannot wait to go back to visit Mayan Families and the wonderful people of Guatemala.

The Great!

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

so many different ways. It was a humbling experience to watch as all of the workers at Mayan Families helped hundreds of families, and they took time out of their busy schedules to take us "on the scene" to meet those who needed their assistance.

Ways to make it better...

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

I cannot imagine making changes in this organization.

January 5, 2011

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January 5, 2011

I got involved with MF after our daughter's adoption was complete. We wanted to find a way to give back to her birthcountry that had given us so much. At first I fell in love with a girl to sponsor for school. We now sponsor 5 girls for school an send food, clothing and other aid to them and the general public throughout the year. This led to joining the MF connection Yahoo group. Through that group we have done all sorts of fundraising from paying for funerals to Bucks for Clucks; the annual chicken drive! We have sent huge shipments of donations. I have even started a website selling jewelry with the profits going entirely to Mayan Families. I was honored to have visited Panajachel, Guatemala in July of 08. Sharon and the entire staff work ceaselessly to do whatever humanly possible for the people of Guatemala. Basically my entire life revolves around MF and planning what I can do next. If ever there was a person I would call my "hero" it would be Sharon Smart Poage one of the founders of Mayan Families. Sharon opens her home not only to the needy people who are served by Mayan Families but to all who volunteer and visit.

The Great!

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

MF ensures relationships with students are very personal with email updates, report cards, letters, pictures of them receiving gifts. MF provides jobs for indigenous people. This gives opportunity for them to learn and earn an income. The main ideals of MF is to Give a Hand Up not always a Hand Out. The variety of programs MF has speaks to the many aspects of the varied dilemnas these people live in and gives ample opportunity for volunteers and donors to find something that speaks to their soul.

Ways to make it better...

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

hmmm.. Not sure I would change much. Just maybe clone Sharon!

November 16, 2010

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1 previous review
November 9, 2010

Working with Mayan FAmilies was great. They were very informative and guided us every step of the way. They are doing a great service in Panajachel and the surrounding areas. Can't wait to go back ... more

November 16, 2010

Recently visited and volunteered with Mayan Families for 2 weeks. Going out with the staff on the Elderly Feeding Program and visiting the preschools. I also sponsor a student in one of the preschools thru Mayan Families. This is a great organization. Can't wait to work with them again very soon.

The Great!

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

I have not personally experienced the results of this organization but I have witnessed people being helped and lives changed by this organization

Ways to make it better...

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

none

November 9, 2010

Working with Mayan FAmilies was great. They were very informative and guided us every step of the way. They are doing a great service in Panajachel and the surrounding areas. Can't wait to go back and work with them again.

The Great!

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

I witnessed lives being changed by this organization first hand for 2 weeks.

Ways to make it better...

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

Don't think I would make any changes to this organization

November 16, 2010

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November 16, 2010

I'm currently a volunteer at Mayan Families, and will spend about three months working here. I've been working with the Family Aid program, interviewing families in crisis and then writing content to help raise donations to help them. I've gotten to see firsthand the customs, living situations, and problems of the indigenous communities in this area. It has absolutely been a life-changing experience -- volunteers looking to get real experience working with the people of Guatemala would do well to consider coming to work for Mayan Families. There is no shortage of work, no matter what field you specialize in (or even if you don't specialize in anything in particular!), and this is an area with a true, desperate amount of need.

The Great!

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

Bringing clothing, food, and even shelter to families in real crisis. This includes bringing food and beds to families living in shantytowns after their homes were destroyed by storms, fundraising to bring medical attention to patients in desperate need of prohibitively expensive treatment, and bringing food donations to families currently going without.

Ways to make it better...

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

hire more staff or long-term volunteers.

November 10, 2010

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November 10, 2010

I have spent the past two months as a volunteer for Mayan Families, and I've seen firsthand the importance of their role in Panajachel and the surrounding towns. Since I've been here, I've seen more than one life saved, and many made much better, by the work that this organization does. You can be sure that any support sent here will be quickly put to great use by a very dedicated staff.

The Great!

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

We've been able to get one young single mother and her children out of an abusive housing situation by building them a house, and get essential emergency medical care to countless people who otherwise would have had to go without it. I've also had the pleasure of meeting dozens of the some 1500 students that are sponsored through Mayan Families. These students would otherwise not have the chance to study, and they are thrilled to be able to stay in school.

Ways to make it better...

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

Get them more long term volunteers, or a few more staff members. Most of the staff are doing at least a job and a half.

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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