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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Children of the Americas (COTA)

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, International Development, International Relief

Mission: COTA enhances the health and wellbeing of underserved women and children in developing countries through international collaboration.

Target demographics: Mayan women and children

Geographic areas served: rural Guatemala

Programs: donated medical/surgical/dental and orthopedic services

Community Stories

63 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The 2017 trip was my first year with COTA. I went with the group as an interpreter.
This is a remarkable and extraordinary volunteer group of caring, dedicated and hard working people and I feel honored and blessed to have been a part (albeit small) of this trip and to be able to help where I could. COTA is very well organized and it is truly amazing to see what was accomplished and how many women and children were helped in the space of 5 days.
I consider it an honor and privilege to be part of this organization and look forward to next year and many more to come.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In January 2017 I made my third trip to Guatemala with the COTA organization. During that week COTA provided much needed medical care to women and children who would otherwise not receive medical care. Many families traveled far and long to receive dental care, medical advice, and vitamins. For many the doctors advised the patients on hygiene, treatment of current ailments, and how to perform self-examinations. The care, surgeries, and medical equipment that the organization provides for many greatly improves their lives and gives them hope for the future. The organization and its volunteers work tirelessly throughout the year to replenish supplies and prepare next years trip. Many who have benefitted from COTA have returned to help on future trips which is a testament to the impact this organization makes.

Norman N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've spent the last 4 years traveling to Guatemala with this group. To say that I look forward to the trip every year would be an understatement. The week of giving something back to the world has been one of the most rewarding and grounding experiences of my life. It is a wonderful example of selflessness and teamwork and I look forward to continued participation in the future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful organization dedicated to providing healthcare and services to the people of Guatemala. I was fortunate to be a volunteer on the trip in January and returned even more in awe of this hardworking group of people than I was last year. Time and resources are devoted entirely to delivering care to patients who come from miles away for services they might not ever receive if not for this weeklong program.This is a team of people who make serving others a core part of their lives in both the US and abroad.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a nurse and 2017 was my 5th year to travel with COTA. I am amazed at what happens in the short amount of time this group spends in this beautiful country. I also help during the year to prepare for this yearly medical team. It takes a lot to make this happen. Many items are taken to be donated such as walkers and wheelchairs for many that were previously carried everywhere by their families. Supplies are also donated to the hospitals that offer space for our team as well as to local charitable organizations. Every year I have traveled with this group I have been humbled by their generosity as no one, including the president or board members, make any money. Everyone covers their own expenses and everything else happens with donations and fund raisers. The gratefulness of the those receiving surgeries, examinations, medicines, prosthesis or dental care cannot be put into words. The women and children who receive care are truly deserving. I see lifelong friendships form among team members. I see all of these volunteers leave knowing they have been involved in a group that truly makes a difference. I look forward to continuing to be a part of this organization.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went on my first medical mission 14 years ago. I had been in Central America before while I was in the Army. This was just gonna be a adventure for me. But I got here and saw the need and I was hooked. Then came me two boys. They are happy and healthy. I'm blessed and have a duty to give back.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was my second year with COTA. It's just a great group of people with really big hearts, taking care of a very appreciative, very deserving patient population. It's really a pleasure and a privilege to be a part of it. And if Mike and Omer are reading this, I just bought 4 brand new sen retractors off amazon to bring down for next year...sweet.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been working with Children of the Americas since 1996. Throughout the years, I have watched it grow and mature into the amazing organization that it is today. It is a pleasure and honor to be a small part of the big differences we are making in the lives of children and their mothers in Guatemala.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I have had the honor to serve this organization since 1996, as a board member, a host parent, and a volunteer on the teams. My decision to become involved has been one of the most positive and influential decisions of my life. It has not only given me a better appreciation of the culture of a beautiful country, but also an understanding of the challenges that face people in all developing countries. That appreciation has changed not only my life, but the lives of my family and friends, who have seen for themselves the importance of service to others in need. I am humbled and honored to work alongside the other COTA volunteers in our efforts to improve the lives of the women and children of Guatemala.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Again this year a group of 120 non paid volunteers headed to Guatemala to join with the caring people in Retalhuleu to help those who need medical care. With members from Guatemala, Ohio, Colorado, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and numerous other states, these people joined together to lend a hand. Many on this team have worked together for years and others were strangers. That's why it was so amazing when they immediately became such a united group all serving each other and the people of Guatemala. I have worked with Children of the Americas for twelve years and am always amazed at how this many people can pull it together in one week to set up a medical team that will see nearly 2000 patients requiring consultation with a primary care doctor, surgery, dental care, ultra sounds, prescriptions, and orthotics. We are all blessed to be a part of this endeavor.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been privileged to work with this all volunteer group since 2006. We are called upon to serve those who are marginalized by poverty, disease or circumstance. Working side by side with the wonderful people of Guatemala, I find that we transform not only those whose needs we serve, but ourselves as well, making the world a better place one child at a time.

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beatty

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my third year with COTA. Each year is better than the last. I love the culture and the people of Guatemala. I was blessed this year to experience serendipity. While vacationing at Lake Atitlan prior to the trip through multiple events I was put in touch with a widowed woman and her young son that had never walked. $125 dollars and 6 days later this child was in surgery and will eventually be able to walk. The community leader and Canadian volunteers visiting Guatemala hiked the three hours up a mountain to the village to back pack the child down to public transportation. Six hours later on a local bus got the child, the mamá and community leader arriving at Retalhuleu. COTA provided housing and food while "mi familia" awaited surgery. This same journey happened in reverse after surgery but a village closer to public transportation will care for the family until the child is able to go back to his village.

$125 dollars- something that I spend on a dinner out changed someone's life forever. I know that my financial support and my time makes a difference with COTA. I am lucky to be part of this organization and am impressed with the board and my fellow participants

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with Children of the America's for the last 11 years. For the last 5 years I have been a board member. Our actual humanitarian mission is 7 days in duration, but the time and work to prepare for the mission is ongoing all year. Planning, Organizing, fundraising, team development, the list goes on and on. I am privileged to be involved in such an amazing team. I plan to remain involved as long as I am able.

Sandra_Alboum

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been to Guatemala five times with this organization as an interpreter. Truly caring people, well-organized, and they do a ton of good work. I plan on volunteering with them for many years to come.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to Guatemala this January with COTA as a Spanish interpreter. It was an excellent experience - well organized, and SO VERY WORTHY. This year we did something like 2200 consults for women and children, 150 surgeries, extracted maybe 175 teeth, gave out 25k vitamins, ran out of anti-parasite meds... So very necessary. The poverty down there is so severe, and people have to choose between food and medicine. It's unfair, and unnecessary.

I will be going back in 2014. Fabulous org, fabulous mission.

Mary_Ann9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm a volunteer with COTA as is everyone involved with the organization. No one is paid so all resources and donations go directly to the people we serve. We spend each year gathering medical and operating room supplies that are shipped to Guatemala for the January trip.
I've been going for 15 years. Before that my family hosted a young, Guatemalan boy who needed his surgery done in the States.
The defining characteristics for me of this organization are the caring, welcoming, fun loving people who contribute their time and talents to the group and the people of Guatemala.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing organization that truly helps those in need. Very well organized and full of big hearts.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went with this team for the first time this year and it was much better than I expected. It was greatly organized and I could the get help or answers I needed quickly. I am currently expecting to go again! Can't wait to go help more people in Guatemala.

1 glassgirl0821

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We spend a year preparing for a little over 1 week in country to enhance the heath and wellbeing of the women and children and a simple note like the one attached makes it ALL worthwhile!!

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Board Member

Rating: 5

Under consistently fluid circumstances, in true COTA volunteer form, everyone pulled together to make this year's team trip a great success, including 131 surgical cases and 2364 patient visits in a week of hard but rewarding work by all!! Thanks to everyone for their time and commitment, I can't image another group I would want to work with any more than this one!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

This January will be my sixth mission trip to Guatemala and to say I am hooked is an understatement. Working with this group of volunteers is amazing, everyone is there for the right reason and that is to play a small or large part in making life a little better medically for the women and children of Guatemala. The medical staff see many many patients and the surgeons perform surgeries that are life changing and life saving and to be part of that is just awesome. Every year I come home feeling yes we did make a difference and realize how fortunate we are. I am very proud to be part of the support staff that helps this team do what they do best and that is to render medical treatment to those that would other wise have a more difficult life.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with COTA for several years and have had the opportunity to watch it grow from a small volunteer group to one of the largest medical/surgical teams that work in Guatemala. The teams that go now consists of approximately 125 volunteers (none of whom are paid). They do over 100 surgeries and treat thousands of women and children in the clinic. An effort such as this requires dedicated and skilled leadership, and COTA certainly has that. Many people devote hundreds of hours each year to gathering, organizing, and shipping medical supplies to Guatemala to make it possible for the doctors and surgeons to do their jobs. It is a joy to watch the Guatemalan patients receive much needed medical care, and to watch the volunteers who serve with humble hearts.

sicurobin

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Children of the america's provides much needed medical care to indigenous women and children in Guatemala. I have traveled with COTA for the last 8 years - it is composed of the most amazing people that I have ever had the opportunity to work with. Teamwork rocks !!!

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have volunteered and traveled with COTA on the last six of their medical/surgical missions. While in Guatemala I am a nurse in the recovery room. The surgical specialties that we provide include plastics, orthopedics, general, and OBGYN. The teamwork required to complete a mission trip like this is beyond anything that could be taught - somehow we make it all work. The days are long and demanding, but the rewards are immense. Surgical procedure's that we provide, such as club foot repairs and cleft lip/palate repair, are life changing for their recipients. The look in the parents eye's after surgery speak volumes, even if we do not speak the same language. I am blessed to be a part of this organization.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an organization COTA gets 5 stars in ALL areas. Organization is the constant concern of the Board and b/c of that commitment the concern filters down through all areas and allows the individual providers in their contacts with patients to take advantage of many other areas of COTA so that it's not just a stream from the Board down but can be diverted so that the patient can actually be the primary concern and all that filters back up to the Board and it's decision making.