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Proyecto Itzaes

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education

Mission: The mission of Proyecto Itzaes is to provide educational resources for children and families in villages in Yucatán where traditional farming and fishing can no longer support families. We believe that the fundamental tools of literacy should be available to all. Our goal is to build sustainable community service programs that promote family-centered learning and respect Maya cultural heritage. Education will create new opportunities for children to fully realize their gifts in a changing world.

Results: Our programs are described in detail on our webpage and Facebook page. On our PI page https://www.proyectoitzaesusaonline.org/ you can read our newsletters that describe in detail our programs and successes!

Target demographics: Provide educational resources for poor, rural, Maya villages

Direct beneficiaries per year: 4000 Maya children and their families

Geographic areas served: Yucatán, Mexico

Programs: https://www.proyectoitzaesusaonline.org/ and FB http://www.facebook.com/pages/Proyecto-Itzaes/150081958284

Community Stories

109 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Jessica Cetz Dzib, José Fco P. Cutz and Executive Director Cindy Wilber did a fantastic job of organizing a science education day that my wife and I participated in. Our 5 year old daughter also took part. It was an incredible response by the community and for hours they came and learned from the small but effective hands in science exhibits and also shared parts of their beautiful Mayan culture. As we are Native Americans this part was especially touching. It was one of the most moving experiences I've had in 30 plus years of my professional career.

Diana M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the great opportunity to know about Proyecto Itzaes, as a beloved friend invite me to participate at the Science Fair that the Executive Director Cindy Wilber, Jessica Cetz Dzib, José Francisco Cutz organized last January.

I am a Mexican Biologist, my research is focused on bats from Yucatan, therefore for me was really amazing to have the chance of shearing and most important learning all the knowledge of bats. For me it was really surprising to see how the kids are truly interested in learn more about these mammals and how concern they are about protect them. One of the things I want to share is that most of the adults where a little bit skeptical about the importance and benefits that bats provide to the ecosystems, actually adults believed that all of them were vampires. However, when I asked the kids about bats, all of them answered that they were good for humans because bats eat insects and fruits.

As a Mexican I am pretty grateful with Projecto Itzaes because they are making the difference, because they are helping to our kids to be interested in education and science, I saw really smart kids, truly interested in learning, making questions and wanting to know even more, I saw kids without fear of asking and interacting with the scientists despite the language.
In a country where the support for education is scarce and the poverty high, projects like this one make a big difference.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first got a chance to work with Proyecto Itzaes about 10 years ago when the organization was working at providing internet access to local villages. Since then, I’ve returned to the Yucatan on a number of occasions and witnessed the progress PI has made with the communities it serves. I’ve been amazed that a relatively small non-profit has withstood the test of time and continues to grow and thrive while bringing great educational opportunities to underserved people. It has also been gratifying to watch young kids I interacted with a decade ago leveraging the opportunities PI provided into higher education, careers, and great personal achievements!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I first learned about Proyecto Itzaes while working at Stanford University over the summer of 2016. I have been continuously blown away by this organization, and in particular by how much impact is being made with limited resources. Having seen many non-profits fail to effectively serve under served populations while working in Latin America, Proyecto Itzaes stands out to me as a bright spot. I am especially impressed by the great concern that Proyecto Itzaes takes in engaging genuinely with the local cultures. One example of this I recently heard about was trip lead by Proyecto Itzaes that brought a group of young Mayan students to visit some of the ancient Mayan ruins -a cultural site that many of them had never visited. Thanks Proyecto Itzaes for all you do!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known about the wonderful work done by Proyecto Itzaes (PI) since 2010 when I was studying my PhD in Education at Stanford University. After all these years following the work PI does, I was finally able to travel with them to the Yucatán peninsula in January of this year (2017) to experience first hand the service they do to the Mayan communities. As part of my trip, volunteers from different universities and organizations put together a science fair open to all the Mayan communities served by PI. I cannot put into words the wonderful opportunity I had being part of this science fair! It was clear to all of us how much impact PI has had on the education of Mayan children and their communities. I hope to travel with PI in the future to help in their work.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This summer my husband and I took our boys (ages 8 and 6) down to the Yucatan. We visited a Proyecto Itzaes center in Chicxulub and saw firsthand the amazing impact of this non-profit group. We watched kids check out books from the library. We sat in on a brainstorming meeting to talk about what classes the older kids wanted to offer the younger kids. We cheered on the Proyecto Itzaes soccer team as our boys joined them in a fun filled game. We learned about the cooking classes, cultural classes, and plans for more access to technology to help students in this modern world. The best thing we witnessed were the smiles of all the kids and the truly dedicated people who make it all possible. My boys are excited to visit again and help out in the future. To me, that speaks volumes.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I just visited Proyecto Itzaes, outside of Chicxulub, MX, for the second time a couple weeks ago. I was truly amazed at the work being done. I sat in on a meeting where past youngsters from the program, now older, facilitated a meeting with high school aged kids from the community. They were gearing up for how to run this particular community center for the summer. The fact that the people once served by this organization are now so eager to help run it really impressed me. It is a wonderful resource for the Mayan communities in the Yucatan.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We are planning a charity trip to visit Proyecto Itzaes this fall, and can't wait to see firsthand the great work Cindy and her team are doing in Yucatán. The pre-trip communication and support have been superb! Our program participants are excited to meet the kids and learn more about this incredible part of our world.
Amber Kelleher - Founder, Exchange of Pace (exchangeofpace.org)

Advisor

Rating: 5

My company has a charitable program through which we partner with charitable organizations in places we visit for meetings and conventions. We had 2 groups visit Cancun this spring. Anytime we're outside the US, it can be difficult finding a charity that meets our criteria. Our partnership with Proyecto Itzaes was most gratifying and we were excited to raise enough money for them purchase a vehicle to transport educational resources to remote areas. One huge plus in working with PI is that they are a registered US 501(c)(3), which means all donations are tax deductible in the US. Everyone we dealt with representing the organization was knowledgeable and great to work with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Anyone who has worked with Proyecto Itzaes has seen the tangible and positive effects that the organization is making in small communities on the Yucatán. I worked with PI at a community science fair in the village of Ixil, and was equally impressed by the dedication of the teachers and the enthusiasm of the local community. The organization brings much needed educational resources to underserved areas, and opens up incredible opportunities for its students. I can't speak highly enough of the work that Proyecto Itzaes does, and have seen firsthand that all donations are put directly to use for the betterment of local communities. If providing opportunity through education is something you care about, you can't go wrong with a contribution to Proyecto Itzaes.

1 mjalbe

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Proyecto Itzaes is an incredible organization. They welcomed the Coalition for the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) down to Ixil, Mexico and connected our scientists and educators with many amazing Mexican scientists, educators, and local activists. They organized a science fair for the community, which we all participated in, and it was AMAZING. Hundreds of people attended and it showcased the local talent. The town of Ixil is filled with very creative and smart individuals! Everyone involved had a wonderful time and fell in love with science for the first time, or all over again.
I was particularly impressed with the Proyecto Itzaes organizers for the event Jessica Cetz Dzib and José Fco P. Cutz and their Executive Director, Cindy Wilber -- these folks did such an outstanding job that it was extremely easy for the rest of us to participate. The whole endeavor went off without any problems and I hope it's the start of a long friendship that will lead to many other collaborations.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a fantastic non-profit and the founder, board members, and volunteers are incredibly compassionate and hardworking. I have been able to travel to Yucatan with Proyecto Itzaes and witness first-hand the impact that this organization has on the community and on education. I could not give a higher recommendation!

Board Member

Rating: 5

This is a small Palo Alto, CA based nonprofit that does big value-added experiences for several Mayan villages east of Merida Mexico near Chixalube Puerto - families, children and adults learning together to build more sustainable lives - teaching each other

1 jesusk

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Me gusta mucho el Proyecto Itzaes porque brinda espacios de aprendizajes para niños y jóvenes de una forma divertida y dinámica, para que los niños se sientan motivados a aprender; algo que igual me gusta es aprenden acerca de la cultura, el doporte, educacion y manualidades.
Hoy en día llevo más de 5 años estando en el Proyecto Itzaes, me he quedado tanto tiempo y seguiré, porque pienso que este es un gran proyecto que beneficia a los niños y jóvenes de las comunidades a través de la creación de los espacio anteriormente mencionados.

#YoSoyProyectoItzaes

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

El proyecto itzaes ha ayudado en el aprendizaje y creatividad de niños y jóvenes, desde leer un libro de manera personal o leerlo en grupo hasta le realización de diversas actividades recreativas, por eso le agradezco al proyecto itzaes por todo los beneficios que le ha brindado a la comunidad de ixil. por otra parte desde que llego el proyecto itzaes a mi vida y el poder ser uno de los voluntarios ha hecho cambiar mi vida y verlo desde otra perspectiva, por eso nunca me canso de agradecerle a esta fundación por todo lo que hace a lo largo de estos años. GRACIAS PROYECTO ITZAES!!

Dan Q.

Board Member

Rating: 5

PI is a wonderful organization. It provides community support, after-school activities and education, and role models in several villages near Merida, Yucatan. While Merida is a world-class city, the nearby villages have seen a lack of progress. PI helps people band together to help themselves and their children -- give them aspirations for a better future, and help them achieve it. I am especially proud of the college students we have encouraged and supported. Often, they have a scholarship already. PI supplies bus fare so they can stay home and travel to Merida for classes, plus some support for books and supplies. When they get their degree, many stay and contribute to the community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Proyecto Itzaes keeps doing an amazing job towards education of unprivileged children in Yucatan. It has shown resilience to keep working in difficult areas and where there are few opportunities and it really makes a difference on the kids that can be reached.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Was fortunate enough to see PI in action in Mexico. Impressed at how far they can make their resources go. Very well-run org doing great work!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our Los Altos Rotary club partnered with Palo Alto RC and Mexican Nuevas Generaciones Rotary in Merida providing and completing a recent $32,000 grant to Proyecto Itzaes which provided notebook computers, flash drive memory sticks, educational software, outdoor shade providing palapas, solar cooking ovens, efficient biomass briquette fueled rocket stoves and Spanish language STEM instruction software on the use of the solar cooking and biomass fueled efficient rocket stoves to use instead of open fire ovens or expensive propane cooking. Our team of Rotarians from Los Altos, Mountain View and Merida visited Proyecto Itzaes village centers to deliver, assemble and demonstrate these devices... which were warmly received by these Mayan village families. This grant helped improved computer literacy, sustainable STEM related instruction, and demonstrated how these devices can reduce the need to chop wood fuel from surrounding forest or buy expensive propane cooking. An article which featured this Proyecto Itzaes Project appeared last week in USA Today's Caribbean-Mexico edition. Proyecto Itzaes does outstanding work in improving the quality of life for these poorer rural villagers in Yucatan

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went down to the Yucatan to view the non-profit in action and was very impressed. The children are benefitting greatly from the extra computer and book exposure at the centers and the best part is that they are fully supported by their parents who are also leaning from their kids. I plan on going again in the near future to continue to help them as they work on a "shoe-string" budget to do great things.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While sitting in on an English language course taught by Proyecto Itzaes I was thrilled to see students at several different levels of skill engaged and learning about Sequioa Kings Canyon National Park in California as part of a vocabulary lesson. Proyecto Itzaes not only organizes classes (and yard sale fundraisers and other community events) in villages throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, it also provides scholarships tailored to the specific needs of the community. For example, students from villages surrounding the city of Merida may not be able to afford to attend college classes even if they have received a full ride scholarship, because the scholarships typically do not cover the cost of daily transport to and from the city, which can be prohibitive. Proyecto Itzaes recognized this need and provides supplementary funding for some of these students so they can continue their education.

I am excited to see Proyecto Itzaes continue its participation in this vibrant community in the years ahead.