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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Mil Milagros Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Food, Literacy, Nutrition, Preschools, Primary & Elementary Schools, Remedial Reading & Encouragement

Mission: Mil Milagros (A Thousand Miracles) equips mothers and teachers with skills and resources to improve the lives of children and families in rural Guatemala. The Guatemalan Ministry of Education reports that 51% of sixth graders in rural Guatemala graduate from primary school, and according to UNICEF, 50% of the children in Guatemala are malnourished - the highest rate in the western hemisphere . However, the rates of child malnutrition exceed 70% in rural indigenous communities like those where Mil Milagros works.

Results: • Since 2010, 97% of 6th graders in Mil Milagros partner schools have graduated. • Rates of child malnutrition and stunting have been reduced by 50% among those children who regularly participate in Mil Milagros' early childhood development program. • More than 750 mothers and grandmothers have been trained in nutrition, hygiene, and leadership. • Children have developed and practice healthy hygiene habits including: tooth brushing, hand washing, and using soap. • Successful strategic partnerships have been formed with other NGOs to address other needs including clean water and healthcare services. In addition, Mil Milagros has worked with other NGO's to build 23 homes, 12 school bathrooms, and two schools in MM's partner communities.

Target demographics: More than 1,500 children (ages six months to 15 years) and their families

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1,500+ children, 800+ mothers and grandmothers, and 95 teachers

Geographic areas served: Guatemala

Programs: early childhood development, nutrition, health/hygiene, literacy, and training for mothers and grandmothers

Community Stories

63 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Mil Milagros for the last 3 years. What makes Mil Milagros (MM) unique, and what has motivated my increasing desire to help, is their enormous creativity to simultaneously improve children's nutrition and educational needs while also empowering mothers in the rural Guatemalan communities they serve. The level of community involvement has a multiplier effect on achieving MM's mission goals. Communities in rural mostly indigenous areas in Guatemala have many needs and MM is doing much with its resources to not only help improve children's welfare but also leveraging donations to amplify their impact by developing "mother-leaders" in the community. Children stay in school because they receive what is likely their only significant meal in the day --lovingly prepared by their mothers and grandmothers augmented with MM resources and assistance. MM has also added health and hygiene topics to the curriculum for kids and their Moms. MM develops these mother-leaders to help foster a sustainable and more durable model to keep kids in school and empowering women to take a more active role in their communities.

You recognize how great is the need when you learn children's most cherished possession is often a toothbrush. IMHO by sharing our ample resources here in North America we can improve the lives of Central American families and discourage them from perilous journeys across the continent to escape poverty and instead engender hope and progress for people to live happy productive lives in their own communities. Mil Milagros is making this a reality!

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our family of 4 spent several days with the Mil Milagros team. Margaret was incredibly gracious with sharing her time and knowledge with us. Suffice it to say, we were astounded by all that this organization has accomplished as well as by its plans for future work. Various members of our family have been volunteering in Guatemala for the past 18 years, and we all agree that Mil Milagros is a special group. It has a specific, well defined focus, and its attention to the needs of the communities it serves is both inspirational and practical. Mil Milagros uses evidence based data to effect change while maintaining compassion, love, and respect for the Guatemalan people. It was our honor to see and work with this incredible institution. This marks a new beginning for our family. Thank you.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a long time volunteer and donor to Mil Milagros. Last April I had the opportunity to go to Guatemala and to see the INCREDIBLE work the staff and volunteers are doing to support young children, moms and entire communities! The programs are so thoughtful and intentional and are designed to build leadership and empowerment skills for the moms and to support the health and nutrition of the children. The staff serve a critical role providing resources, knowledge and the opportunity to learn and practice new skills. I was overwhelmed by the commitment and dedication of the mother leaders and inspired to hear the transformational stories from moms who have been involved with Mil Milagros. The partnerships with the schools, teachers and members of the larger community provide a strong foundation for the families. Mil Milagros is making a positive difference in so many people’s lives. I can’t wait to go back!

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Donor

Rating: 5

Mil Milagros is doing critical work to support the children and families in Guatemala. It has been amazing to see the organization strategically grow and have greater impact without losing its laser focus on results. I have been inspired to hear about all the programs and services that are making a difference - especially the work with the moms. I am proud to support Mil Milagros.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Andrea G. Volunteer/Donor I have been volunteering in the Mil Milagros's Boston office for awhile and have been a donor for the past 5 years. My observation is from the perspective of how the administrative portion of the program works. The dedicated staff is hard working and highly organized. This well run non-profit organization's attention to details is admirable. Every donor receives a personally signed thank you letter or a beautiful card with a picture of some of the children who are benifiting from this wonderful program. I am so impressed by the passion, love and dedication of the Mil Milagros's founder, Margaret Blood. She speaks to any and everyone about her program, which often brings in new donors and people who become interested in helping or volunteering in Guatemala. Just recently a local t.v. program, "Chronicle" interviewed Margaret and showed how the program is working in Guatemala and how it is benefiting the families in the community. Margaret also shops for beautiful handmade crafts while in Guatemala and brings them back to Boston where she sets up many church and private home sales. She is always striving to get the word out and educate people about her program and the importance of helping these families towards a better future, and to raise money so her program can continue this important work. I feel fortunate to be apart of this wonderful program and to work with such passionate and dedicated people. Thank you Mil Milagros for your outstanding and important work.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Last week my children and I had the pleasure of visiting Solola and 2 Mil Milagros supported schools. The children in the schools were so grateful for the meals and supplies provided by Mil Milagros.

Margaret Blood is passionate about her work and it was clear the children and school staff recognize her as their champion. Ms. Blood and Mil Milagros have been successful in incentivizing school attendance by providing consistent nutritious meals on a daily basis to all students.

Mil Milagros has also been advocating for it's communities by coordinating with other organizations to bring in necessary resources such as sinks, water and other enhancements to schools.

During our visit we witnessed children enjoying healthy meals (corn on the cob, hamburgers, bread and fresh fruit). We saw a volunteer from another organization preparing to drill a well to provide fresh water to the school (coordinated by Mil Milagros).

Children at the Mil Milagros schools expressed gratitude for the hygiene implements (soap, toothpaste and toilet paper) provided by Mil Milagros. The students told us that without Mil Milagros, they never had these items.

We were so impressed with Ms. Blood and her team of miracle deliverers! They are addressing true needs with planning and care.

1 Juan Antonio G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is my pleasure to share my experiences volunteering for the past two years for my favorite charity, Mil Milagros in Sololá, Guatemala. I have personally experienced the great impact that MM has been achieving in the rural areas of my country.

I worked from April to July this year in several of the schools and communities the participate with Mil Milagros. I was able to see how happy and well fed the children are and ready to learn. Also I saw the parents involvement in the schools either in preparing daily meals for the children or participating in classes or workshops designed to improve their skills in the areas of health, nutrition and childcare. The quality of services that this program os offering to all the participants, is very impressive.
I can describe the success to this program in three words, dedication, transparency and efficiency .

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Board Member

Rating: 5

It is with great pleasure that I write this review on behalf of Mil Milagros. As a Guatemalan educator, I have being able to witness the amazing transformation occurring among the children, their families and the villages where the program has been functioning in the State of Sololá.
Last year I had the opportunity to visit my country and to work directly with the children, parents and teachers in four of the eight Mil Milagros schools. Seeing the results of happy, well fed, healthy children who are so willing to learn, made me feel that there is hope for a better future in my country. Knowing how important this program truly is, I am committed to return this year to continue the work that I started during my firs visit.
Thank you Mil Milagros for providing our children and parents with the tools to be in charge of their communities, for allowing them to find and use their own voices to express their feelings, desires and dreams.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This is an extraordinary non-profit that is changing both lives and communities. I had the privilege of seeing it in action this past February, when we visited four of its school sites and witnessed first-hand the impact Mil Milagros is having on improving the nutrition and hygiene of impoverished children in rural Guatemalan communities. What Mil Milagros and its leaders understand so well is that long-term change can only be effectuated by involving parents, grandparents and the whole community in efforts to improve the quality of life for children. The program takes great care to engage mothers and caregivers not only as participants in health programs, but also as potential leaders of wellness efforts in their own homes and communities. As an Executive Director of a non-profit in Washington, DC, I am very familiar with the best practices that allow a lean organization to have a major impact in its field--and Mil Milagros exemplifies everything that good non-profits should be doing. Since spending time with Mil Milagros Executive Director Margaret Blood and her staff in Guatemala, I have become an active supporter as well as an avid fan of the remarkable work they are doing.

Marcie V.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was lucky enough to volunteer in the fall of 2016 for Mil Milagros. The commitment and dedication that Mil Milagros has to a greater purpose is unforgettable. Every member of this organization is driven and considerate. After speaking to coordinators in Mil Milagros' Guatemala and Boston sites, I am positive Mil Milagros is a positive force for change that will never rest. To me, Mil Milagros is a family. Everyone from Guatemala to Boston had an immense amount of care for each other and from this organization, I learned that the best thing you can share with the world is knowledge. Margaret Blood and Mil Milagros are sharing knowledge with mothers in rural Guatemala every day, and I cannot wait to see how this nonprofit grows and gives in the future.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently returned from a 5 day trip to Solola with an amazing group of people to see an amazing organization and the work it does. While in Guatemala the group I was with visited four different schools that Mil Milagros has touched, and it is apparent that a touch from this organization is a touch of life, for the children, and teachers in those schools showed nothing but thankfulness and friendship when we walked through their doors. Mil Milagros' work in these schools surely has changed the lives of these children, giving them their first meal of the day, allowing them to focus and actually show up for school. I never in my life have seen children so happy to receive dental floss, but it just shows how much these kids truly want to be healthy, and how they want to learn and grow. It is because of Mil Milagros that they are given this opportunity that they so obviously long for, it is remarkable work that is being done. I hope to visit again very soon.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have just gotten back from my 4th trip to see the programs. Everything that is done at the schools is amazing it not only benefits the children at the schools but beyond. It touches the lives of everyone in the village in which the schools are located. Mil Milagros not only changes the lives of the kids when they are at school and in the programs but long after they graduate.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just came back from my third trip to Guatemala. During this trip, I visited four of the schools supported by Mil Milagros. This was a wonderful and rewarding experience. Mil Milagros does an amazing job with supporting these schools. The children are always so grateful for what they receive and everything that they have. The love that Margaret has for this program, that she created, is beautiful to witness. The children when they see her, surround her with nothing but love and hugs. Being adopted from Guatemala has made this experience eye-opening for me. I know that I could have been one of those children. Just knowing that I can make a difference in these children's lives is more than I can ask for, and being able to give back to those who need it. This time going to Guatemala was different and I could really see it more as a place in my heart and somewhere that I know is always going to feel like home.

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

After spending nearly 10 days in the company of the extraordinary team of Mil Milagros it is easy to share my amazement at the work that they accomplish every day on behalf of the women, children and families they serve. I was there to train the Mother Leaders and the staff of Mil MIlagros as facilitators of the Parenting Journey, a dynamic, groundbreaking parenting program. Given our program's innovative approach and Mil Milagros' committment to not just supporting but launching women leaders in the communities they serve, it was a match made in heaven We planned together, adapted our curriculum to the needs of Mil Milagros' women leaders and launched an amazing week of training.

What most impresses me about Mil Milagros is the combination of vision and commitment that they embody every day. Some of the obstacles they face are daunting. The communities they serve are impoverished (of resources, not of spirit), and they can feel isolated in the highlands of Guatemala. Mil Milagros serves as a tremendous anchor and a seeding ground for both personal and community growth. I look forward to returning this spring and continue to support these invaluable women. They represent what changing the world actually looks like.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Our family has been involved with Mil Milagros for 3 years, as donors and as visitors to Guatemala. The miracle of this tiny but mighty organization is the way they they work directly with each village. They teach families about health, they involve families with the school lunch programs, and they help people help themselves.
Ultimately, this is how you truly change lives. Mil Milagros should stand as an example to all non-profits in terms of helping to effect permanent change in a poverty-stricken country. They have been so successful that they have a long waiting list of schools and communities in need of their help.
Here in the US, it's easy to forget how fortunate we are. Meeting Margaret, and learning about this incredible organization has been a life-changing experience for me. She is truly an inspiration to every person who wants to make a difference in the world.

4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I recently came back from an amazing five day trip to Guatemala to support Mil Milagros. My group and I brought supplies to donate to the schools. We were lucky enough to visit four different schools that were receiving support from Mil Milagros. Margaret traveled to every school with us and introduced us to students/staff, translated and answered any questions we had. Both the staff and children in the schools showed immense gratitude for have the support of Mil Milagros. The staff explained to us that these schools are now able to serve meals to the children, allowed them to focus better on school work. Mil Milagros has been so successful in supporting and educating hundreds of children. I hope this organization is able to grow and continue to spread their love to schools in need. Thank you for everything you do, Mil Milagros!

3 Donna276

Donor

Rating: 5

My daughter and I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Solola with Mil Milagros last week! It was a life changing experience which has renewed my faith in the work of non profit organizations. The passion and dedication of the founder, Margaret Blood, along with her small and talented staff in Guatemala are beyond compare. Training mothers and grandmothers to be leaders in their communities, 700 to date, positively impacts the long term mission to eliminate childhood malnutrition and improve the health and education of the children in rural areas where malnutrition is estimated to be 70%. Through partnership with rural schools and the efforts of the mother/grandmother volunteers, Mil Milagros is able to provide 1300 nutritious meals every day!! What an accomplishment! And many more schools are on the waiting list! Our family is committed to providing a monthly gift to Mil Milagros to support the life sustaining work that is done on behalf of these beautiful children. Muchas gracias Mil Milagros!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent my summer volunteering with Mil Milagros. I had the opportunity to visit their partner schools, watch how the staff worked in the office and also conducted 1:1 interviews with their Mother Leaders. The team really cares about the population they work with, and they understand the challenges that their communities face, which is crucially important. During my interviews with the Mother Leaders, I heard so many stories about how Mil Milagros had impacted these women's lives. Not only did the mothers report that their children were healthier, but they also reported that they themselves had gained so much from working with Mil Milagros - self-confidence, a community, and more.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of volunteering with Mil Milagros for several months in their Boston office and a month in their Guatemala office. Both locations instilled in me a sense of amazement at the variety of high-impact work that is occurring in Guatemala. Not only do the Guatemalan partner communities collaborate with Mil Milagros staff, but they lead and develop the majority of the projects. It was fascinating to see the direct benefits from the health and hygiene, educational, and nutritional projects on the children, but also the profound impact the projects made on the mother and grandmother leaders in each community. Grandmothers who became influential leaders in their communities and mothers who were inspired to go back to school were common stories amongst all of their partner communities.

Needless to say, Mil Milagros is one of the very few non-profits out there that invests in the right combination of community involvement, health, education, and women's leadership with a high success rate. I am confident in saying that an investment in Mil Milagros will take you farther than other organizations. I look forward to witnessing their continued success as they expand their work with-risk mothers, grandmothers, and children in one of the poorest areas in the world.

2 Elvis L.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've had the opportunity to work with Mil Milagros in its outreach to the Guatemalan community in the United States. As a Guatemalan-American, the work Mil Milagros does has very personal meaning to me and it has touched many others in the community who are blown away by the successes achieved. The accomplishments of Mil MIlagros gives hope to many in the community in what oftentimes seems like a hopeless situation. It allows the community to build their lives in the United States while helping those in need in Guatemala.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the privilege of volunteering for Mil Milagros for 3.5 months, working primarily as their communications volunteer. I helped operate their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, as well as helping out in field with the lessons that my coworkers planned. I was impressed by how well Mil Milagros worked with its partner communities, and not simply for them. Being on social media all the time and reading about a lot of other non-profits in the area, I was struck by how many weren't working to establish long-term change, and instead were just giving handouts. Mil Milagros, on the other hand, spends a lot of time and energy working with the mothers of its partner schools to train them in proper hygiene and nutrition practices so that Mil Milagros can step away from the community after a few years and the mothers can continue teaching their communities without skipping a beat.
Additionally, I admired how well the staff members worked with and got to know the members of the partner communities; mothers and children alike felt very comfortable approaching them with any questions or feedback they had.
Mil Milagros is an organization that creates tangible, lasting change, and I cannot recommend it enough.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity and pleasure of working with Mil Milagros as part of my social work practicum. I saw how the organization was able to accomplish such breadth of work with a small staff, and did so in a way that honored the dignity of each community Mil Milagros works with. Mil Milagros employs a partnership model, meaning that the organization does not simply impose its ideas, but rather works in alliance to implement its program and meet the needs identified by the communities. Community members are not just passive beneficiaries, but they actually play an integral role in executing the program. This unique approach therefore goes beyond a typical charitable model. By working with, and not just for the communities, Mil Milagros' approach is more sustainable and effective. I learned a lot about how to build rapport with individuals, families, and communities, and how to develop impactful programs. Additionally, as a volunteer, I felt especially supported and valued. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to form part of the Mil Milagros team!