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2019 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Highland Support Project

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International

Mission: We work to create models of Transformational Development that foster agency with indigenous communities of the Americas to address critical environmental, social, and economic issues

Results: Each year we connect 300+ volunteers with indigenous communities, with about 14 partner Maya communities in Guatemala, a project with the Apache community in White Mountain, Arizona, and a new project growing in Peru that will work to support and empower women facing discrimination and domestic violence.

Programs: Symmetry Stoves & Trees, Holistic Health Program, Maya Arts Program, White Mountain High Adventure Youth Empowerment Program

Community Stories

82 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Molly14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am so grateful that I heard about Highland Support Project my freshman year in college; my college experience would not have been the same without it! I went on two volunteer trips to Guatemala with this organization. What I love most about Highland Support Project is the fact that everyone is able to help out in some way and that the organization is so open to members from all sorts of disciplines. There work that this organization does really focuses on humanitarian need and building strong relationships with countries like Guatemala that allow us to really give them the help they need. I love the personalization that Highland Support Project endorses because volunteers know exactly who they are helping and they actually get the chance to interact with the population that they are working with.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have to say that this is still the MOST AMAZING experience I have had in my life. Going to Guatemala, building stoves, planting trees, and engaging with people in the community was not only eye-opening, but life-changing. The HSP does wonderful work WITH the communities they serve, and brings AWARENESS to causes that should be important to everyone.

Liz_27

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Highland Support Project is a great non-profit organization and one of the few that actually does more help than harm in the communities they serve. HSP's mission is not only to develop, empower, and transform communities, but also to educate the more privileved communities through service-learning projects and lectures on Mayan history and culture. My experience in Guatemala, working alongside the wonderful people of HSP and AMA, is one I will treasure always. Together, we built stoves in the communities, worked in the schools presenting afforable art programs utilizing recycled materials, and participated in reforestation projects. I cannot wait to go back to Guatemala and once again volunteer my time and energy with the Highland Support Project.

Melinda14

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing trip to Guatemala AND I learned a lot. Just ask Ben why community development is better than plain charity and what he has to say will change your views. Eye opening experience!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Highland Support Project is an organization truly passionate about creating transformational change. I volunteered with HSP on a trip to Guatemala in 2009 and was blown away by the wealth of knowledge staff members had, the genuine relationships the organization had formed with people in partner countries, and the vision HSP had for both their volunteers and the communities they visited. I was so impressed that, when looking for a meaningful internship experience the following year, I immediately thought of Highland Support. I wanted to be a part of a goal-oriented organization with genuine values and transformative vision. HSP embodied all of these qualities and many, many more. My love for HSP and my belief that it is one of the rare, empowering agents of social change, have not wavered. The Highland Support experience is one that takes volunteers across geographic, socioeconomic, and cultural borders and truly changes the lives of everyone involved.

Russell G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Highland Support Project (HSP) is a stellar organization of social change. The organization balances substantive and meaningful solutions with culturally sensitive development tactics. For hands-on-volunteers, get involved in HSP's operations both in the United States and Guatemala. You will be part of meaningful cultural experiences. For businesses, establish relationships with the organization and learn from their model to foster independence. Top private sector firms are looking to build relationships with HSP. For other non-profit organizations, reach out to the leadership team to find ways for collaboration and resource sharing. This is an organization that marches towards strong values of exchange, empowerment, and creative solutions/enterprise.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Highland Support Project is absolutely wonderful! HSP provides a volunteer experience like no other. I have been on two different volunteer trips with HSP and I have worked with them as an intern for a month and a half in Guatemala. Each time I have had wonderful experiences. I have been on many volunteer trips outside of HSP and by far they are providing the best experiences! They are one of few organizations that legitimately provide a volunteer experience that benefits long term sustainable change for the communities they work in. This organization has found the perfect balance of "work", play, and education for their volunteers. Not only have I come back from their trips feeling good, but I feel educated on the issues happening in Guatemala and what we, as global citizens, can do to help! Coming from an education in International Affairs and Humanitarian Affairs, I can confidently attest to HSP's functional and brilliant model for change and empowerment. I love this organization! I have not worked with a better organization to date!!! Support HSP!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with HSP and going to Guatemala was eye opening and life changing. Everyone involved was amazing and I met many people i hope to work with again in the future.

1 Rick18

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My experience with HSP is a few years back now ... I felt like we were doing real work providing housing for war widows and their families. For anyone who is dedicated to service and wishes to see real people who are coming together to do relief and social justice the Highland Support Project is a class act! They've been around I'm guessing almost 20 years now providing housing, job skills training, immunizations and health screening. They provide supplies at reasonable prices to indigenous craftsmen and artisans... as well as supporting a market for their goods. They are dedicated to outreach and education about community, poverty, and how to cooperatively find solutions. I am always willing to give my time and resources to a fine organization such as this.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I loved the Highland Support Project, it was definitely one of the highlights of my college career. I truly felt that we made an impact on the lives of the people we helped, getting to know their beautiful country and their people, and making strong friendships while working with those who truly wanted to make a difference. I would highly recommend this to anyone who simply wants to help others while embarking on a wonderful life experience!

Virgerdeberder D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Highland Support Project has been my true college. This non-profit is quite amazing. I traveled with them as a student and continued participation with them until even now, as a teacher. My experiences in working with this non-profit have shaped my life and career. They have facilitated grants and projects and are always open for new ideas .

Carol68

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have taken youth on mission trips for decades, and the Highland Support Project is easily the best. The work was well within the capacity of my high school students and inexperienced adults. The work was simply a small part of the experience, however. The Highland Support Project staff and volunteers opened the whole team's eyes to justice work and to the implications of mission work. My group was challenged to consider their role in the political world and the ramifications of US involvement and/or lack thereof. My students got to understand the importance of community and family life, as they felt connected to the families and communities in which they worked, sometimes more so than the communities in which they grew up. This was an extraordinary, transformational, and life-changing experience.

Melissa90

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I volunteered this summer, building stoves in one of the villages. The experience was great, the people were so authentic and the mission is so meaningful. The team is experienced and are passionate about their work.

2 Aruna A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is by far the best organization I have had the opportunity t get involved with. They really focus on sustainability and relationships formed with the communities in Guatemala and not just the delivery of goods and supplies. However I would have to say that the best aspect of the Highland Support Project is its dedication to educate and involve students across all disciplines. They understand and realize the power in educating the younger generation and offer student so many opportunities to get involved and make a difference. They have impacted so many people and the passion that this organization holds in everything that it does is truly inspirational.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have really enjoyed my time volunteering with The Highland Support Project. The organization is composed of wonderful accommodating individuals who are genuinely interested in what they are trying to accomplish. They are always up for new ideas and strengthening their ties with the community, here and abroad. I recommend this organization to anyone.

2 Alison A.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with Highland Support Project was not my first experience volunteering with an international nonprofit, but it was the first I had had with an organization that takes seriously the ethical implications of their projects and the self-determination of those they are serving. In the summer of 2010, I joined HSP in the highlands above Quetzaltenango to work collaboratively with Mayan midwives and health workers. What was truly unique about this experience was that the approach was wholly symbiotic, encouraging both involved groups (American and Guatemalan) to add value, empowering all participants every step of the way. Attention to political, historical, and social issues was paid during excursions, as every trip was an opportunity to learn and share. If ever I am asked which organization is the best to travel with in Central America, I always answer "That's easy- Highland Support Project outshines them all."

2 shawncav

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It was my junior year of college and I was really itching to get out of the country. While browsing on my university's study abroad website, I came across a service learning project in Guatemala. Little did I know that this service project would forever change me. At this time in my studies, my heart was set on med school. I had been preparing for my MCATs for some time. However, eight days with the Highland Support Project changed me for what I believe is the better! Rather than attending med school, I now work for a non profit in New Jersey that empowers and advocates on behalf of migrant farm workers. Without my experience with HSP, I do not believe that I would be in the position that I am today. What I liked most about the organization was their model of fostering agency rather than dependency. The changes that we were making did not last a day, a week or a year but a lifetime. I also liked the intimacy of the work that I was doing. Being able to work in somebody's home and knowing that our project was going to change their lives on multiple levels was an incredible experience. To me, there is no better feeling in the world than helping those in need. I have had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer with HSP twice. I also had an opportunity to collaborate with them on a separate project. While in Guatemala, they provided me with all the tools I needed to succeed! I cannot rave enough about this organization. Plain and simple, my experience working with the Highland Support Project changed my life!

1 Jennifer133

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with HSP in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala the summer between my junior and senior years in college. I met my husband that summer and ended up moving to Guatemala with him after I graduated. We've been together for 10 wonderful years (the last 5 back in VA). I couldn't be more thankful to HSP for the amazing opportunity to visit what became my second home and meet the live of my life!

3 Laurel C.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

While working as a staff member for another Guatemalan NGO in Quetzaltenango, I had the pleasure of witness the Highland Support Project and AMA's inspiring work. Their emphasis on women's empowerment, their focus on working to break down dependence, and their longterm commitment to specific communities provides an excellent model for grassroots development and empowerment. HSP/AMA has a commitment to ethical practice that is rarely witnessed in the development field and has made a significant impact in the 20 years they have worked in the Guatemalan Highlands. I always readily use their organization as an example of Best Practice in grassroots development. Keep up the great work!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with HSP for 5 years and couldn't think more highly of their organization. Throughout my years serving on mission teams building stoves, I was so moved by my experiences in the village and working with the staff that I decided to pursue a summer internship under their guidance. Working with the staff this summer was a privilege and they were extremely flexible and supportive throughout the entire process. I learned so much both within my field of agriculture and also about NGO dynamics. HSP really has their act together - they are organized, coordination experts and an amazing vision for improving lives in communities from the ground up. Keep up the good work!