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Mayan Families
December 2, 2013

Three years ago, on my 3rd visit to Panajachel, Guatemala, I decided to sponsor a 3 year old girl sothrough Mayan Families so she could attend preschool, get 2 meals per day, a daily vitamin, and learn Spanish in preparation for public school. I I wanted make a difference in the life on a girl, hoping to give her a chance for an education and a better future. At the same time, my mother decided to provide a considerable donation so that a teacher assistant could be hired for the pre-school.

Little did I know how this decision would impact my life and the journey it would take. This past November on my 5th visit to Guatemala, staff at Mayan Families arranged for me to spend an afternoon, visiting Marta Lidia and her family. My mother passed away this year, a difficult time for me. I brought a bag of her sweaters and shoes to give to the mother as a way to continue Mom's spirit for giving. Maria, the mother, was thrilled to have my mother's sweaters and actually chose to put on a pink one bringing me to tears as Mom was wearing that sweater on one of the last photos of the 2 of us. I showed the photo to this family. Orlando, the father, expressed deep condolences over my mother's death and proceeded to invite me to become a member of their family with the hopes that their love and support might in some small way, replace some of the love I miss from my mother. What an amazing gift - family and love - the biggest gift one could ever receive. And from a family that lives on $40 per week.

Little did I know that I would be the actual beneficiary from this sponsorship in such a meaningful and touching way. So thanks to Mayan Families for making the gift of love and family possible for me at a time when I missed my mother so much. I am so blessed and enriched by this volunteer opportunity.

Ways to make it better...

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

Give them more stability in funding so that they have a stable base of funding staff.

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

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

Mayan Families
December 7, 2012

Being part of a community is important to me, and that is what I have received with my volunteer experiences with Mayan Families. I sponsor a little girl to attend a pre-school hosted by Mayan Families aimed at giving Mayan children a head-start on life by learning Spanish, receiving 2 meals per day, and learning how to interact in a school setting before starting pubic school. Over the past 2 years, t is powerful to see the change in the girl I sponsor. She smiles now, is willing to talk to me, have her picture taken, she laughs. We read books together in Spanish, identifying colours, objects, and laugh at the fun parts of the book. Mayan Families has arranged several personal visits with the Marta Lidia and her family, giving me the opporunity to get to know the family, spend time in their house, hear about the issues that are pressing and stressful. This year we exchanged gifts. I brought clothes and shoes for all family members; the mother gave me a woven table runner she made with a backstrap loom; the father gave me a wall hanging that he made with a foot loom. He embroidered the words in Spanish: a remembrace from your sponsored daughter Marta Lidia. This opportunity made me feel part of the community through this warm, genuine relationship. My grandchildren are similar ages to Marta Lidia and her siblings; so this year I brought clothing my grandkids had outgrown and explained where the clothes came from. The kids loved knowing that the clothes were favorite items given from my grandkids. My experience in Panajachel area is up-close with culture and indigenous people through the respectful guidance and support of Mayan Families staff.

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

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

MY ROLE:
Volunteer

Mayan Families
February 23, 2012

As a donor and a volunteer, it is interesting to be working at ground level in an organization where one literally sees the end results of a donation or volunteer work. This is so rare in many non-profit service agencies. One can pick a family, a town, a project and support it, get updates and see results as hard working staff provide the infrastructure and support for volunteers and donors. A real team effort with a personal touch, using local employees who speak the various dialects of the indigenous language. I value this organization and its love and strength. Que bueno este grupo de personas.

More feedback

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

MY ROLE:
Donor