I spent close to 6 months as a volunteer with Casa Guatemala. It was a really wonderful experience with amazing people, and I encourage anyone that can volunteer to go for it! I was surprised at how much they can do with a tight budget, and how just a few staff involved with fundraising keep the school running smoothly year-round. This is an organization I can feel comfortable giving to because I've seen first-hand how even small donations for things like a chicken dinner, new books, clothes, or games have a great impact on the children.
Review from Guidestar
Casa Guatemala is an amazing place! I have been a short-term volunteer for the past 3 years (returning 3 times a year) and count the days until I can return again. Casa Guatemala gives each child the opportunity to thrive by providing a sound education, nutritious meals, a safe place to live and most of all, love. By volunteering at Casa Guatemala I am a part of the wonderful work that they are doing.
I have been a short-term volunteer at Casa Guatemala for the past 2 years (returning every few months). I absolutely love it! Seeing the children grow and thrive has been so inspiring. Helping with the daily activities and being able to spend quality time with these happy, bright and energetic kids is wonderful. I am so happy that I found Casa Guatemala!
Casa Guatemala is an amazing place. Working with other volunteers over there has been a wonderful experience but before anything else meeting the children and sharing a little bit of their life has been a life changing time for me.
What an amazing organization this is. You show up there to this school in the middle of the jungle by boat (it is not accessible by road) and you are greeted by the happiest children. They either live there during school time and return to their villages afterwards or their parents arrive by boat (or canoe) to take them. They are given a great education that would, otherwise not be available to them, as well as healthy meals and some healthcare. After the first year, we were so moved and inspired that we choose to return every year, bringing other volunteers with us and we are going on our 7th year of visiting. Please consider making a contribution to this really worthwhile organization. The children would benefit greatly from it!!
A great organization that is truly concerned about providing the best experience/well being for the child. You will feel at home by the third day. This is my first time doing volunteer work so I did a lot of research about these NGOs. Several other organizations gave me the impression that they were looking to attract the largest amount of volunteers for the shortest period of time ( one or two weeks ). Casa Guatemala encourages long term volunteer work (three months ro more) to enhance the experience for both the children and the volunteer, but shorter stays are also welcomed for the help they provide when doing activities with the kids. Having people come and go in the lives of such young kids is not beneficial for their social/emotional development. You will have a life changing experience because of the long term experience. Be ready to rough it out at this place, specially the diet, lack of electricity and air conditioning will make you appreciate the comforts from home. With so many kids you'll want to make an impact in all their lives, but remember that we don't choose which child or children we make a life long impression, the child will choose you. You won't regret being part of this organization.
Friends of Guatemala Children is 100% volunteer run, ensuring that all of the funds raised go directly to support their main grantee Casa Guatemala. Casa Guatemala works hard to ensure that the vulnerable children in their care receive an excellent education, healthy meals, medical care and a loving home. Over 200 children per year are benefitted by their important programs. This helps their families to break free from the cycle of poverty and gives them the chance for a brighter future.
Casa Guatemala was one of the most eye opening, life changing events I have ever experienced. After serving 5 years in the United States Army and graduating from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC I decided to spend some time volunteering in Central America. Thankfully, I discovered Casa Guatemala. When I tell people about my time in Rio Dulce they usually respond with, "Wow, what a difference you must've made in those kids lives." The truth of the matter is, although I'm sure I made an impact in their lives, the biggest change was in mine. Those kids taught me more than I could have ever imagined. They showed me that happiness is simple, when things are broken.. you fix them, and that when facing a tough time, such as finding out my dog just died, something as easy as a hug could bring a smile to my face. After the end of my 3 months, I genuinely saw the majority of these children as my little brothers. They were no longer just some kids at a children's village in Guatemala where I was doing volunteer work. I think it is extremely important to educate and instill morals in today's youth all over the world. Casa Guatemala gave me the opportunity to do this through helping these kids while simultaneously bettering myself. It's been a year since I left and I think about my little brothers often. I miss them so much that I'm coming back for graduation in 9 days! I'm so happy that Casa Guatemala was created and that I get to be apart of it.
I was a volunteer at Casa Guatemala 15 years ago and it changed my life. It is a beautiful place filled with caring volunteers and paid staff who endeavor to help educate, feed, and care for hundreds of Guatemalan children each year. The children benefit from a higher quality diet, medical care, and education than they would otherwise receive. Volunteers benefit from learning about a new culture and community that will shape their future attitudes and life experiences.
Mi experiencia en Casa Guatemala ha sido, en una palabra, increible. He podido aprender mucho y crecer como persona, mientras colaboraba en diversas cosas para el bienestar de [email protected] niñ@s.
Me he sentido como en casa, parte de una familia, y no pienso en otra cosa que en volver.
I was a volunteer at Casa Guatemala for 3 months back in 2016. Casa G is a fantastic org looking that dramatically improves many children lives over the years. My experience was a very hands on, at times challenging but most of all highly rewarding. The positivity instilled in these children really rubs off on to you and is something that i carry with me even to this day. I would highly recommend Casa G for your volunteer experience and I myself hope to return in the near future.
I've worked for a lot of non profit organizations. Few do what they say they do. Casa Guatemala does all that and more.
Children from severely under privileged circumstances might arrived underweight and with poor educational opportunities, within six months, all are at a normal weight, have been well cared for and are on their educational path.
Each child has positive ripple effects in their home communities. Every dollar donated to this organization is wisely managed and carefully spent. There are no wealthy CEOs, it all goes to kids.
I've worked in many overseas organizations and Casa Guatemala is the most effective and efficient organization I have seen. The children are offered education, health care and love and they thrive.
They work with a very modest budget, they aren't wasteful, there are no administration budget blowouts, their executive director lives modestly and is a hands on leader who is known in the surrounding communities for her caring leadership.
This is a wise community investment.
Casa Guatemala is an incredible organization with a lot of heart! I’ve been here for 10 months and I’ve seen how day after day they ensure that their children thrive and succeed in life.
They help the kids even after they graduate from the school and are always there for them when they need help, even as adults. When hard times fall on the students’ families Casa Guatemala supports them through it. They know that in order for the kids to thrive the families and community must also thrive.
Casa Guatemala succeeds because of a lot of hard work from passionate, dedicated individuals who come together to create a loving, nourishing community. They make magic happen even on limited resources.
There is no better place to donate or volunteer if you want to make a great impact on struggling communities who are striving to improve their circumstances for this and future generations.
I had an amazing experience at Casa Guatemala. Heather and the hostel not only took care of us on our journey but I learned that all the proceeds go to the orphanage which our Dentistry For All Team were able to help hundreds of kids with dental issues on top of that we all made great friends. I can’t wait to go back and I recommend anyone of any age to get down there to help where they can!
It's a family away from home and an opportunity of a lifetime for the children that attend the school where they receive an education and a safe environment to enjoy growing up. The only downside to it is, whether you are a volunteer or a student, that one day, you'll have to move on.
Amazing amazing amazing - wonderful organization really well organised heather is a super person and all the staff really friendly
I've volunteered twice at Casa Guatemala once for 3 months in 2016 and once for 2 months in 2017. It is hard to put into words how much of an impact the kids have had on me. I went as volunteer aiming to help, serve, and try and improve their lives in whatever way I could; but it was the kids who ended up making my life so much better! They taught me so much about being persevering despite the circumstances and seeing the best in any situation. They showed a level of love and care that I will never forget. The organisation itself does the best it can with the resources it has, but there are still a lot of things on the wish-list for the kids that any future volunteers or donations would help towards. Even so, after returning there six months after my first stint, there were massive improvements - and it is getting better and better. Casa Guatemala not only helps the kids who actually board there, but also kids from local villages, giving them an education and food as well. I am literally counting the days until I go back.
I first visited Casa Guatemala 18 years ago on a small ship. I've watched their evolution over the years. They're a stable project that provides much needed educational and medical services to the children of impoverished Mayan villages in the jungle communities of the Izbal region of Guatemala. I've supported them since that first visit almost two decades ago.
I've visited Casa Guatemala twice over the last eight years. I happened upon it by chance when the small ship I was sailing on from Panama to Belize stopped for an afternoon to drop off a propane refrigerator and a lot of food. I asked my fellow passengers for donations for the orphanage and we all pitched in with cash. Since that time I've kept up with the orphanage via the internet and made many donations during emergencies, such as the bats in the girls' dormitory problem. I returned for a visit with my adult daughter at Christmas in 2007. We took 150 lbs. of river sandals and children's underwear. Then we went to Fronteras and bought gallons of shampoo and big bags of fruit for the children. This past year I've supported one of the older girls that we met during our 2007 trip. She goes to secondary school in Fronteras. I love that particular program. The conditions at the orphanage are so primitive and all donations are greatly appreciated and put to use. This is a "no frills" orphanage that serves hundreds of the most impoverished children in Guatemala. Hopefully I'm going to be able to return for another visit next spring.
Gracias a FOGC ha tenido el oportunidad de crecer en Casa Guatemala desde niño y ahora voy a graduar de abogado. Ahora trabajo por Casa Guatemala y ayudó a los niños como yo fui ayudado.
What a magical place! In the middle of the jungle, Casa Guatemala is a safe village for children to grow up healthy and to find an education. Volunteering with them changed my life and linked my heart to the lives of these wonderful kids. I am glad when I hear about their successes and I keep supporting them in every way I can. If you still don't know Casa Guatemala or if you have never donated to their cause, what are you waiting for?
Maria Jose Dominguez
Casa Guatemala is a place with a heart. The biggest heart I have discovered while travelling around the world. Once I volunteered there, I kept going back. There is nothing better than seeing these kids smile.
My daughter found out about Casa Guatemala in a magazine at Alberta Motors Association in Edmonton Alberta Canada. She fell in love with the idea of volunteering,she went and said..that she found out what her purpose in life was. She applied to the faculty of pharmacy and she was accepted. She is going back in November 2016. A sustainable organization lead but an amazing executive director and all her staff volunteers and donors!!! Thank you.
We love casa Guatemala. A place filled with celebration, consistency and always hope.
Friends of Guatemalan Children provide 100% of the funds collected to support programs in education, nutrition, and healthcare to some of the most vulnerable children in Guatemala. I have been involved with the organization for 15 years and have seen first hand the impact their support makes on the lives of the children at Casa Guatemala!
I was in Casa Guatemala in 1993 for the first time. It was very good to see the good care the children receive. It was very rewarding to be a part of this as a volunteer. We came back years layer to help rebuild the many destroyed house after a great earthquake and again it was so good to see the efforts that were taken to give the children and the staff a save place again. Love to go back one day...
I volunteered here for 8 months around 6 years ago now. I loved every minute of my time there and I'm still involved in supporting the charity from Ireland. I would highly recommend this charity to anyone interested in volunteering or donating to a good cause.
I volunteered at Casa Guatemala from 08/2005-07/2006. Casa Guatemala is a magical place. I thought English, pe and music at the project and worked some time with the younger boys (verones pequenos). I can totally recommend the project. Meeting the kids, the local stuff and the volunteers from all over the world changed my life.
Un beso grande! David
I volunteered at Casa Guatemala May of 2013. I went by myself from Canada without knowing anyone I would meet along the way. The experience was amazing: the other volunteers became great friends, the kids were cheerful and full of energy. I taught a few English classes and a few gym classes but I learned so much myself! The hostel associated with it was so accommodating and flexible as well. I will be going back in the future!
Casa Guatemala is a magical place. It provides hope & love to young children who otherwise would continue the vicious cycle of poverty. That is in addition to basic necessities that many Westerners take for granted: shelter, food to nourish, medical care, & education. The staff, teachers, & long term volunteers overseen by Heather dedicate long hours enriching the children at the orphanage. They are building a foundation as the children grow into young adults & enhancing the community by nourishing them in many aspects. It was gift to visit the orphanage this summer.
We film short documentaries of some of the most inspiring charities and not-for-profits in the world. In our time in Latin America several people mentioned Casa Guatemala to us, luckily we were able to arrange it as this is a very special project.
Casa Guatemala is extremely well run and clearly has an important role in the communities it looks after for education, nutrition and medical. We followed the story of a young man who was brought here as an orphaned toddler and is now completing his doctorate.
We would highly recommend Casa Guatemala as a place to give generously of your time and/or money. A fantastic project!
I visited Casa Guatemala at Christmas, 2014. I was impressed and touched by the care these children receive. There seems to be minimal administrative issues, as Heather lives on site and is happy with sharing the same standard of living as the children.
I've never been more touched by any humanitarian project. They deserve to be your #1 charity.
Heather G. 09/10/2015
Thanks Jeff! I actually live in town since I work mostly on the computer and need electricity and internet connection but all of our wonderful volunteers and teachers live onsite and we are incredibly grateful for all their hard work!
I visited Casa Gautemala for a day earlier this year whilst travelling. I was absolutely amazed at the good work they do and how happy the children they care for are: these children would otherwise fall through the gaps with no education and some rely on the foundation for food and housing- all of which is funded by donations and volunteering. I was so touched by my experience there that I am looking into volunteering there next year to help such a wonderful organisation.
I will remember my volunteer experience at Casa Guatemala forever. Such an important place within a community that needs it. The staff and children are such remarkable people and I hope to continue to do my part in helping them all.
The mission of this non-profit is clearly to help enrich the lives of the children and make a positive impact on their lives. I will be volunteering again soon because the first time was such an amazing experience and I am proud to be a part of this organization!
I visited Casa Guatemala for the day and was gobsmacked by the amount of good work they do. The location is enormous along with the passion and hearts of the people involved. After that one visit, seeing all the fantastic work they do, I became a regular donor straight away, you should too!
To call the experience of volunteering at Casa Guatemala "life changing" would be to understate the significance of this experience. For me and many other volunteers, life at Casa Guatemala has been a source of inspiration. The challenges, the trials, the triumphs and hardships are all part of a big lesson on life, humanity, and hope. Moving to another country, living and working with a group of people for something larger than ourselves...this is not something that most people experience in their lives.
For six months, from August 2013 to February 2014, I lived and worked at Casa Guatemala as an "orientador" - a counselor/caretaker. I was assigned to the small boys, whose ages range from 4 to 9 years old. There were 24 boys in my group. Sometimes there were as many as 4 volunteers for the small boys; other times as few as 2 volunteers. Each day, when the kids are not in school, they are in the care of the volunteers. We get them up in the morning and get them showered. We get them to breakfast and then to school. We watch over them during their free time after lunch and again when school is out in the afternoon. We take them to dinner and put them to bed. We plan activities for them during the weekends. Over the course of 6 months, you get to know the kids extremely well and they get to know you. You are the role model, the parental figure, the one they turn to when they need something. It is an enormous responsibility and a monumental challenge but each day you see you the direct effect that your efforts have. Each day you can see the cause that you are working for and each day you find yourself surrounded by both the natural beauty of the Rio Dulce region of Guatemala and the warmth of the people around you, both the indigenous community native to the region and the volunteers you work and live with. Life can be challenging at times; there is no electricity in the volunteer house and there is no hot water, either. But if you can learn to live without modern comforts, you will find yourself inspired by this place and the people in it. I was certainly inspired by my time there and I now plan to return for 8 months more.
I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to volunteer twice with Casa Guatemala in the last year and a half. The organization and staff work continuously to provide care and education to children who are in dire need. In many cases, attending the school is the children's only shot at an education and a brighter future for them and their family. I can not think of a more worthy cause to donate time, money and donations to.
I have never seen such an amazing organization as Casa Guatemala. They have created a children's village where neglected, orphaned and abused children can get meals, education and most of all, love. They are the model for other agencies to follow.
FOGC is entirely run by volunteers so that all donations can go directly to support the children in need in Guatemala. Our main beneficiary is the Casa Guatemala school and orphanage (http://www.casa-guatemala.org). Casa Guatemala provides a safe home, medical care, education and a healthy environment to 250 children in Guatemala who have been faced with abandonment, abuse, neglect or extreme poverty. FOGC provide financial, administrative and logistical support to Casa Guatemala and have done so for almost 30 years. We have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for grants for CG; assisted with the coordination of volunteers, schools, social clubs and church groups visiting; arranged for large shipments of supplies for the orphanage, school and clinic; and helped to organize trips of medical teams who have provided cleft lip and palate operations and other important surgeries to thousands of Guatemala's poorest people.