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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Mayan Families

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Nonprofit Overview

Target demographics: Indigenous communities around Lake Atitlán

Geographic areas served: Guatemala

Programs: Initiatives focused on improving Education, Nutrition & Health, and Economic Development

Community Stories

433 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is an incredible organization led by three hard working, dedicated individuals - Dwight, Sharon and Patti. We have been volunteering with them for over 10 years and continue to be impressed with how committed the staff are to the Mayan people. We trust the money we donate is used in the most effective manner and do not hesitate in the least to promote them. Bob & Pam

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to Guatemala with my college on a Transcultural Healthcare Trip1/1/16-1/10/16. We worked with Mayan Families. I had no idea of what to expect as I have never done anything like this before in my life. Mayan Families were great! They explained everything that the organization is about and why they do what they do. They also were very clear in what we would do as a group of volunteers. We installed 12 Onil stoves in 3 different communities. We also had the opportunity to serve lunch to some of the elderly women of San Jorge. I was deeply touched by the entire experience working with Mayan Families. I felt a deep need to do more than what we as a group had just done; so I sponsored a child for the school year. I am planning a trip in late July to take my 15 year old son down to meet the child we sponsored who is 9 days older than my son. We will volunteer our time with Mayan Families again while there. I am also planning on going on the trip with school again next year during the winter break. I will tell anyone who will listen how great of an experience I had and would highly recommend people going and doing something for someone else and experience the wonderful feeling you get when you make a difference in someone's life.

Mari12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing charity. I spend 4 days with them and it was a spiritually uplifting experience. you can see immediately how your donations big and small are helping them accomplish their goals. I am looking forward to spending more time with them in Panajachel.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to go volunteer and saw the amazing differences they make in the community. It was truly an amazing experience to work with them and will continue to.

Daniela9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Daughter (13) and I spent 2 days at Mayan Families distributing used shoes to those in need. These 2 days have changed our lives. During this time, we saw first hand the difference that Mayan Families have made in the lives of the indigenous people of the Lake Atitlan area. The passion and dedication of the entire staff was also apparent at all time. My daughter & I can't wait to go back :-))

krm296

Former staff

Rating: 5

This is an amazing nonprofit organization with hardworking, dedicated staff. As a trusted, reputable organization in Guatemala, Mayan Families makes visible, long-term impacts on impoverished communities. They work hard to curb extreme poverty through education primarily, but also nutritional and medical assistance, as well as community development and shelter programs.They have changed hundreds - if not thousands - of lives over the last few years and will likely continue to have an incredible impact in Guatemala.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family and friends went down mid January to deliver shoes to those in Mayan families critical care group. The support we received from Mayan Families was heartwarming. Also, the staff was incredible helpful and we had an amazing time!




Katelyn Z.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I really enjoyed working with this organization. Everyone was very passionate about what they were talking about and doing. They were all very friendly. The only unfortunate part was that my school was only there for 5 days working with them and the days were very busy which made it hard to process what I was seeing and experiencing. Besides that I am excited to continue working with them (now sponsoring a child) and hope to go back with my school next year.

3 Linda60

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been working with Mayan Families since 2008. Their consistent service and attention of goal setting, of educating, and of helping families succeed is remarkable. Since I go there and see first hand what is being accomplished through excellent management, targeted goals, and extremely hard working employees, I can say without reservation, Mayan Families is one of the best places to make a difference in this world.

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5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My Children and I started working with Mayan Families in 2009 and have been back twice including this last summer for a month. One of the things that sets this organization apart from other good ones in the Lake Atitlan area is that they truly make use of the resources that are offered. They don't charge you to work for them and they operate on a shoestring (even for Guatemala) and work very hard. I have seen their growth from a relatively small NGO to being a Major Provider of services to those who have no safety net. They are forward thinking an their focus is on education. They start with the youngest, most at risk children and help them to be successful in school. Their primary purpose is to educate. To do this effectively the people they service need help with food, shelter, and health. They do their best to "teach a man to fish and feed them for a lifetime" but sometimes during the process help is needed to continue the process.

Another significant part of this organization is that two of the directors and most of the employees are indigenous and understand the culture and needs of the served population. This allows them to better monitor who really needs help, how they need help, and who is trying to play the system. Sharon, Dwight, and Patti have worked very hard to make their corner of the world a better place and to allow other who want to help and participate the means of doing so.

I couldn't possibly give enough stars to Mayan Families because "far exceeds expectations" does not even begin to explain how I feel about their ethos and efforts. I will continue to work with them for years to come and recommend to anyone I know who is willing to make a difference that they consider doing the same!

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2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a simply wonderful organisation. We have visited many times and remain deeply impressed at the professionalism and compassion we see each trip. The programs save and change lives for the better in a sustainable way. No praise properly captures our opinion of Mayan Families, the staff and the volunteers.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My church has partnered with Mayan Families for several years. For the past two years, I have been on medical mission trips with the church and coordinated through Mayan Families. They are an awesome organization focused on healing, educating, feeding and housing the Mayan people in Guatemala. I am so impressed with the caliber of people in the Mayan Family organization and the life changing work that they do.

8 Ann_120

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have worked with this organization for four years bringing primary health care to remote villages around Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. As in-country coordinators, they bring their cultural expertise in an effective manner to help my organization, Hands of Healing, bring medical, dental and vision services to the Mayan peoples who don't have access to basic health care due to extreme poverty.
Mayan Families prepares the communities for our arrival, coordinates with local residents to provide translators and ensure that we have an adequate venue to set up our temporary clinics.
We are truly indebted to Mayan Families for all of the work they do to enable us to serve the most deserving in Guatemala

1 cindilu

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We travel with a group mainly out of Florida called Hands of Healing, Inc. We are a interfaith medical mission team that has been on mission in Guatemala since 2005. We have used other organizations along the way and then for the past several years have gone exclusively with Mayan Families Organization. They are delightful to work with in the process of organizing our next trip, providing transportation and sometimes arranging hotels, etc. We always have a good turnout at our on site locations because the Mayan Family Organization is really trusted throughout the region (Panajachel) where we work.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our medical mission group, Hands of Healing Medical Missions, travels from Florida in the US. We have worked several times over the years with Mayan Families. They have been such a great help and made our mission trips so much easier and organized. Those in their company are compassionate and so knowledgable about the families and villages they serve. Their programs for children, the elders and the community are incredible...frankly I don't know how they do all they do! Blessings to them!
Cindi

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing charity. just visited them. They're making a huge change one child at a time! Please give any time, donations, or prayers for this wonderful organization!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is quite impressive!!! For several years my mission team, Hands of Healing Guatemala, has relied on Mayan Families to help select the most needy communities to serve, transport all 25 of us, provide chairs and tables for use during our portable clinics, provide us lunch, and provide and arrange Spanish and Mayan translators. Each member of their team is knowledgeable about the communities we serve and they put our safety and our needs as top priority. When we are not in clinic, they offer opportunities to sponsor children and help with their education and needs. They arrange meetings with our sponsored children and are open to taking us places as time allows. We find everyone associated with Mayan Families dedicated, loyal, creative and most of all, compassionate to our Mayan brothers and sisters!! We are honored to have this partnership with them!!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the honor of interacting with Mayan Families for just over a year. During this time I have a total of 10 days seeing first hand how well they live their purpose: giving a hand up to the Mayan people of the Lake Atitlan area of the Western Highlands. They are caring, well organized, creative and efficient. Without Mayan Families, our Hands Of Healing Guatemala Team ( Medical and Vision) could not
possibly be as effective. Their partnership directs where we go, transports us to and from the villages, find us a place to set up, registers our patients and provides us with Spanish and local K'iche'
and Kachiquel translators. They open our eyes to the great needs of our Mayan friends and encourage us to continue to help long after we are gone by sponsorships and any number of other ways! Their great and generous heart is in EVERYTHING they do. It is a privilege being in partnership with them as a medical team member and as a sponsor of a precious 8 year old Mayan student!!

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I spent an amazing week with Mayan Families seeing first hand the wonderful work they are doing in Guatemala. The educational, economic, health, and home programs they operate not only sustain, but are making a life changing and in many instances life saving difference in the lives of the Guatemalan people. Wonderful organization with the most amazing people involved!

Donor

Rating: 5

I spent several days traveling with the team from Mayan Families visiting preschools and homes in the towns around Panajachel. The trip was fantastic as I personally witnessed the work they do to bring a better way of life to the less fortunate in the area. I saw happy and healthy children due to the multivitamins and nourishment they received due to the support of Mayan Families. I also visited homes that had clean drinking water due to the supplied water filters and stoves to cook on that were also supplied by Mayan Families. Truly a very emotional experience and one that I will never forget.

1 Jenna25

Donor

Rating: 5

We visited Mayan Families last week to view their preschools and nutrition program. We were highly impressed by the caliber of their work and their obvious dedication to their community. The staff is professional, kind, and talented. They have taken on a monumental task by choosing to take a holistic approach to building stronger communities, and they handle every challenge with a high level of skill and compassion.

The children and mothers we visited in the communities around the lake were confident, friendly, and obviously proud of their association with Mayan Families. To me, this is the strongest indicator of the success Mayan Families has found in its work.

We are proud to partner with Mayan Families, and look forward to continuing our relationship!

2 SareBear

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Shuzz Foundation Team and I traveled to Guatemala from south FL for a 4 day trip to give new shoes to children in need. Partnering with Mayan Families was the BEST choice I could have made. We loved our guides Jackie and Hannah - they were very welcoming and helpful. The restaurant choices they chose were amazing! Sharon and Dwight, the founders of Mayan Families, took our team in like we were one of their own, showed us around their facility, gave us a real taste of Guatemalan culture. Sharon Smart has a heart of gold and I am lucky to have met her. The SHUZZ Foundation will definitely come back to Guatemala and work with Mayan Families again.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is a compassionate, well-organized, and hard-working organization. I recently had the opportunity to bring 14 college students to Panajachel to work with Mayan Families on Humanitarian Engineering initiatives and it was an exceptional experience for me and my students. Mayan Families' communication was wonderful and consistent, the accommodations and projects were great, and the educational and service opportunities where beneficial for all that were involved. We can't wait to work with Mayan Families again next year.

4

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is great organization, doing great work for the Mayan families in the region of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. They helped make our project very effective. All the staff is highly professional, and at the same time friendly and compassionate. I hope to work with them again! Prof. Kevin Passino, Ohio State University

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Famalies us an awesome organization that allows individuals to live an enriched life by offering medication, education and emotional support to the Mayan people . Professionals and volunteers can go to donate their time to lessen the suffering of others. It is highly recommended.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

After watching the documentary Living On One, I decided to sponsor a student through Mayan Families. As a sponsor, I provide funds for many of her school supplies and needs as a one time yearly payment, but I think it can be done in installments, too. As a sponsor you can choose to do a full or half sponsorship of a child. I am kept up to date with photographs of my student receiving her school supplies, and with her report card. Of course it is not required, but you may choose to send donations specifically for other things the child or their family needs. Food, a water filter, a mattress, a birthday gift. You are given access to a written profile of the child and their family situation, which is updated as things change. Any time I send a donation I am shown photographs of my student and her family receiving the items, and hand written thank you letters that my sponsored child holds up proudly for the camera. These are eventually mailed to me. You can remain anonymous to the people you sponsor, or you can ask for and receive greater detail about their lives, and be available to help if they have a family emergency. It's entirely up to you.

As well as individual student sponsorships, you can donate toward specific families, elderly folks, children in crisis, people with medical needs, the animal rescue program, pre-school, vocational training, many many more programs! Or just give funds where needed most.

I appreciate the ability to verify that my sponsored child is indeed receiving the donations I am sending. Many individuals and groups visit in person and they are welcomed.

Mayan Families has given me the opportunity to make a real difference in a child's life.
I hope to donate some time as a volunteer soon, doing computer work over the internet.

1 Alex40

Volunteer

Rating: 5

AMAZING!!!!!
I volunteered with Mayan families for 5 weeks by myself. They hooked me up with a great homestay and helped me get to know the town. They were there for me since I got off the bus from Guatemala City. Mayan Families is made up of some great workers, expats from around the world and locals from around Guatemala. Everyone was nice and friendly. They seem to care about their work. And they are doing some pretty great work. I volunteered with the medical center translating and some set up work, and also in the carpentry trade school. By what I've seen, Mayan Families puts good use to their donations. I hihgly recommend them, and will be back as soon as I can. thank you mayan families!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

A non-profit organization which helps the local families of Guatemala in many different aspects, including free school to kids, food supply to poor family and elderly, animal shelter, programs to help women making incomes, etc. I didn't know what it was like in Guatemala at all when I was just randomly doing research online for volunteering opportunities. I'm glad I did it. This organization is definitely making the positive impacts to the local families. I'm happy that I was part of them to make my own contributions. The trip shifted my perspective towards life.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Thank you to Mayan Families for an action-packed visit with multiple opportunities to see the people of the area, to better understand their needs, to learn about and install stoves and water filters, to meet the students and teachers in the pre-schools, and to learn more about the multitude of activities and services Mayan Families provides every day. Dwight, Sharon and the staff are such generous hosts with amazing hearts for service to others.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Caring Group. They helped our team provide Dental and Medical care

1 michelles317

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have made four annual trips to Panajachel and worked with Mayan Families each year. I also sponsor both school kids and one Anciana or elderly woman. I am extremely impressed with the growth that I have seen from year to year in the infrastructure of the organization as well as the services they offer to the people (and animals) of Guatemala. Where I really see the final effect is in the families that I sponsor. The Mom's are learning Spanish and seeing the importance in having their kids educated. I LOVE the work that Mayan Families is doing to support these people. Thanks so much Sharon and Dwight!! Great job.

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have just completed my second week with this organization in the past year and have had great experiences each time. The support for the Mayan people and the support for those of us helping the Mayan people is amazing. I am sponsoring the education for three children through Mayan Families and I am assured that this organization is following up and watching. Sharon has helped me with ways to further support one of my students who was not doing well and is now successful with his education. All in all a very knowledgable and helpful group.

1 Bill78

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Rotary Club of Santa Barbara provided funds to Mayan Families to assist the poorest of the poor in Guatemala. Eight of us from the club flew down to give personal service by volunteering for 5 days and provide valued service to those in need. We were able to build stoves, provide food baskets, donate water filters, serve the elderly lunch, and so much more. It was an outstanding opportunity for us to see how our donation was being spent through the Mayan Families organization. They were so supportive before, during, and after our visit. I have worked in nonprofits for over 35 years so I know how difficult it can be to meet the needs of the clients, donors, and volunteers. I am amazed how well they do it, with their caring and concern for the people they serve. I can highly recommend support to Mayan Families!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our Rotary Club had an outstanding visit to Guatemala and projects with Mayan Families! The staff was so supportive before, during and after our project concluded. They are very well organized as a non profit to accomplish their mission. We met so many families in Guatemala that were very greatful to Mayan Families for their new stove, water filters, education for their children, senior feeding programs, housing, and much more. An non profit to be proud of!

Steve146

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For the second year in a row I had an incredible experience working with Mayan Families. Their programs for the Mayan people are very wide ranging and assist all ages of Mayans. Last year I took the opportunity to sponsor a little girl in Tierra Linda. This year I was blessed with the support of my Rotary club and Mayan Families to actually work on her house to improve her living conditions. The Mayans are so appreciative of anything we can do for them which makes the effort all that more rewarding. The smiles and hugs we receive from them are priceless. I will continue to help them for as long as I am able and look forward to returning in the near future.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is an amazing nonprofit organization that helps the poor and in need natives in Guatemala. My time shared with them was one to remember. It's one thing to know that people around the world and poor and struggling with hunger, but it is a whole other story to actually witness it in person. During my volunteer work I had the opportunity to work with preschool children and also build stoves for the most needy in the mountains of Guatemala. It was the most rewarding feeling to see smiles on children and families faces every time I was near. They are so appreciative and love everything that you do for them. Building stoves was very touching and heartfelt. Some families even had tears in their eyes because a stove was something they never owned before. Guatemala was truly an amazing experience and I can’t wait to go back!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Mayan families through my nursing school. It was seriously one of the most rewarding and life changing opportunities I have experienced. All of the employees are well informed of the organizations mission and of the history of the villages. This nonprofit helps so many people in the community ranging from preschooler education to elderly care and meal preparation. I could not have asked for a better organization for my school to have partnered with for our trip. I really hope to have further involvement and contact with Mayan families.

Austin B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Mayan Families as part of a healthcare focused college volunteer trip. We were given an orientation session where we learned about the organization and their focus areas. We were then able to volunteer our time with the local indigenous populations. Mayan Families organized our volunteer activities each day as well as some of our travel logistics. They did a fantastic job providing us with meaningful opportunities to connect with and help the local people. The professionalism, dedication, and passion of their staff is unmatched. Thank you Mayan Families!

2 Rick55

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I took a group of 17 high school students on a service trip with Mayan Families to install 10 Onil stoves and we had a most amazing time being hosted by the wonderfully attentive and thoughtful folks of Mayan Families! The staff is energized, lovely, and so thoughtful in organizing every facet of our trip and meeds. We felt like members of their family and became fast friends! We love their vision of bringing a comprehensive multi-plan to educate, care for, and empower the indigenous peoples of the Central Highlands. Our group and individuals caught the joy and vision of sponsoring young students, purchasing water filtration kits, and becoming partners with Sharon and Dwight and their phenomenal staff to deepen and expand our participation in other outreaches such as the family Christmas baskets and many other interesting and life changing endeavors! Thank you Mayan Families!!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan families is a well established and fast growing non-profit. But don't let this fool you, they have the reputation of a great organization for a reason. Not only do they continue to help so many people in need but also, the people that work for Mayan Families really make it what it is. Mayan Families promotes a group help mentality; continually working and thinking together towards the goal of helping those in need. This, in turn, makes for a very awesome and in-depth volunteering experience. An experience consisting of more than being just a tourist, skimming the surface of a town, and not knowing how to help. I highly recommend Mayan Families to anyone looking for a volunteering opportunity in Guatemala.