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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

Sue_103

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I sponsor 9 children with Mayan Families and have volunteered with them many times. The staff is great and the organization does so much to help the indigenous families around lake Atitlan. They have made a difference in so many peoples lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While working with Mayan Families this past month, I could not tell you properly how impressed I was with both the staff, and their ability to make things work for the benefit of these Mayan Families. They are truly a blessing. I worked in the classroom while the students were taken individually to test their Spanish skills. Working with them in the classroom was great, but doing volunteer database work made it come full circle. I was able to see and input the results from the different schools, and they floored me. I was overall impressed with the staff and the students.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

We currently are sponsoring two students and helping their families through Mayan Families. We just came back from a 5 week trip to Guatemala where we also were able to do some volunteering with Mayan Families. It is an amazing organization helping many families and kids. Their many preschools in the areas around Lake Atitlan provide not only basic education, especially Spanish study. to ready the children for primary school but also a daily nutritional breakfast, followed by teeth brushing (we led a class this time at a preschool in the highlands and donated toothbrushes for 50+ children!) We visited our 2 sponsored families, seeing the living conditions of extreme poverty is an eye opener and helps us know that our relatively modest donations for a roof, stove, table, chairs, beds, are much needed and valued. This is an organization we are so happy to be involved with. They are also great in maintaining communication with us about the organization and our sponsored families. Thank you, Mayan Families! Lynn and Greg

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What a blessing working with Mayan Families! My husband and I just returned from our volunteer mission trip Nov 2014. During our trip we encountered so many kind and compassionate people.
Mayan Families is truly changing the lives of the children and families of Panajachel. We were welcomed with open arms and warm hearts. We cannot wait for our next opportunity to volunteer with Mayan Families.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I was a volunteer physician with a group from the Anona Church in the Tampa area. We volunteered our time and efforts to the Mayan People in five different areas. I personally have never seen such abject poverty. I have also never seen a more caring group with whom to work.
The Mayans are the indigenous people of Guatemala who like the American Indian have had there land taken away by the more powerful. Unfortunately, for the Mayans there is no safety net and they live malnourished, sick, uneducated and in such crowded and unhygienic conditions that it begs the imagination. Hands of Healing recognizes that the most sustainable thing they can do is education, specifically teach the Spanish language, water purification, provide efficient wood burning stoves, and do their best to provide some basic medical care. They are accomplishing this every day.
Personally, I saw diseases of children for which I could do nothing and for which there are no alternatives except HOH and they as an organization are overwhelmed with specific medical problems while at the same time, they realize that resources can be better spent on public health or education. Tough choices. I feel confident that HOH spends its monies prudently and efficiently in its great attempt to "treat thy neighbor as you would your self"

Gerry Kilpatrick MD.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We came to volunteer with Mayan Families as part of a Mission Trip. We installed stoves, worked in the pre-schools, organized a soccer game, and worked with elder care.
We were SO impressed with Mayan Families and everything they organized for us. Not only was it amazing to work so closely with the families and see a real impact we were having on their lives, but the Mayan Families staff was so friendly and helpful, it was wonderful getting to know them as well. They were very organized, planned everything for us, and we even had beautiful accommodations that they set up for us at a nice hotel, as well as got to go out for lots of great dinners with the Mayan Families staff.
My favorite parts were seeing our youth group having fun with the kids and youth from the area, playing soccer, catch, and just hanging out. The area is so beautiful, the people are real artisans and so kind, and Mayan Families was the best organization we have been on a mission trip with. I recommend them so highly!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked as an intern at Mayan Families for two months this summer and had the most rewarding and valuable experience of my life so far. I had visited Guatemala with a university group for one week in May and met with several nonprofit organizations across the country to find potential partners. Mayan Families stood out as well-organized and fast-growing. Throughout my entire internship there the staff was friendly and helpful. The organization runs numerous programs that very visibly help families living in poverty. Every native Guatemalan that I met appreciated the work that Mayan Families does in the region. They work very reliably and transparently when distributing donations. They truly do educate, feed, shelter, and heal.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We just returned after a 10 days working with Mayan Families. I, along with my daughter and nephew, have been volunteering with this great non-profit for the past 4 years. The focus of our volunteering has been to raise money for the purpose of installing stoves for indigenous families living around Lake Atitlan. The beauty of this particular program, and most of the programs run by Mayan Families, is the direct impact and immediate impact they have on the recipients. We love the fact that we see where the money we raised is going and that we literally have a hand in helping change the lives of people who truly need the help.

We continue to be impressed with Mayan Families' dedication to their motto to "Educate, Feed, Shelter, Feed" these wonderful people around Lake Atitlan.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

This past weekend my daughter, nephew and I returned from a one week stay in Panajchel, Guatemala where we volunteeered with Mayan Families. Our focus this trip, our second year volunteering with Mayan Families, was to install stoves for 10 deserving Mayan families paid for with money that my nephew raised to support this very important effort. The beauty of installing stoves is that it has an immedate impact in transforming the health and well-being of each needy family who receives one. For us, the experience was magical and profoundly gratifying.

Generally, we can't say enough about the Mayan Families organization and the tireless efforts they make on behalf of the Mayan population around Lake Atitlan. The energy, love and care Sharon, Dwight and the entire MF crew give to enhance and change the lives of these lovely people is astounding. From educating, to feeding, to caring and building, they provide comprehensive support to the poor of the poor in Guatemala. We thank them for the opportunity to help.

We will be returning to Panajachel next year, with even more energy and resources than this year, with an eye to do our little part for those who work so hard and deserve so much.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I just got back from Guatemala after my third summer working with Mayan Families. During the year, I raise money from my community, and then go install fuel efficient, concrete stoves around Lake Atitlan. The stoves properly ventilate the smoke out of the home, avoiding the many health risks that come with an open fire. I have done numerous community service projects here in New York and in Tanzania. I can honestly say that Mayan Families is the most productive, organized nonprofit that I have ever worked for. What makes this particular organization unique, is that one really has a sense of exactly where his or her money is going. You raise the money to buy stoves, you go install the stoves. It is beautifully simple. I also can't say enough about the staff at Mayan Families. They have always been extremely kind, productive and helpful. I hope to have many more visits to Mayan Families in order to help the people of Lake Atitlan.

Katie98

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families operates their charity in the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala. They work with Mayan people to improve the lives of the desperately poor. The projects include providing water filtration systems, building stoves that pipe smoke out of the home, providing children and elderly one hot meal a day, and operating preschools.

My experience with Mayan Families involved helping to build a stove for a family that was building wood fires on the floor of their home. This family had been abandoned by the father and the mother struggled to feed and cloth herself and her four children. The stove we built is fuel-efficient for wood burning and will improve the health of the family by piping the smoke out of the building, thus reducing eye and lung inflammation and illness.

Growing up in the U.S., this is a level of poverty I have never witnessed before. The work that Mayan Families does for the native people of Guatemala is critical and fundamental to improving the health and basic well-being of the Mayan people.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent several days volunteering with Mayan Families in July, 2014. Mayan Families is the perfect partner for visiting groups who want to make a difference in the lives of the people in the highlands of Guatemala. They know the greatest needs among families, and coordinate our projects. We built highly efficient cooking stoves, passed out shoes to many children, and visited our families we sponsor. They are also instrumental in providing medical and nutritional support to many impoverished families. I can't say enough good things about Mayan Families. They have a heart for these wonderful residents of Guatemala, and the things they have accomplished in 6-7 years is amazing.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I coordinated a trip for a group of our donors in February 2014. Everyone at Mayan Families was extremely helpful throughout the planning process and while our visit was taking place. Our group was so impressed by the lengths the Mayan Families team members were willing to go to accommodate our group's needs. Thank you to Sharon, Dwight, Elizabeth, Hannah, Sergio, and everyone else at Mayan Families for making this such a positive experience!

1 Jim_90

Donor

Rating: 3

This is our third trip to Guatemala, and enjoyed working through Mayan Families, and seeing the greT work they do.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

What a wonderful opportunity to help God's people. It is good to know that what is given for the Mayan families, goes to the people who need help. All the Mayan voluntees seem to love their roles and care about the Mayan people. They were so willing to do anything that we asked. It might be good to see the upper level school. We did spend a lot of time waiting for directions. Connie did a great job planning things for us to see. Sharon opening her home for us was wonderful. Thank you Hananna for all your help. It was a great experience.

1 turveycl

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I bring groups twice a yr. and am always so pleased with the work Mayan Families does here. I couldn't arrange these trips without all their help. My groups have sponsored over 70 students through Mayan Families to enable them to get an education along with helping the families with much needed food and clothing. We'll be back in Nov.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been working with Mayan Families for the last several yrs. and take groups down to Guatemala twice a yr. My groups have sponsored over 70 students in school and we are about to build our first house for a family in El Barranco. None of this would have been possible without Mayan Families. They help with hotels, transportation and all the work and home visits we do.Guatemala has been a blessing to my life and Mayan Families made that happen.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a dental hygiene student and had the opportunity to work with the Mayan Families on a mission trip through school. As I worked with the Mayan families I was extremely surprised with how many great things the Mayan families did for the people of Guatemala. They did a great job organizing our activities while we worked with the Guatemalans. They truly have a love for what they do and they are very compassionate about their work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a dental hygiene student and a small group of dental hygiene and nursing students went to Guatemala and worked for a few days with the Mayan Families. I really enjoyed working with them and it was a great experience. This organization is doing amazing work for the Guatemala people. I was amazed at how organized they were and how much of a difference they are making for these families. I would love to work with them again!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to bring 10 university students along with another professor to volunteer our health care services. It was truly a life altering experience. The experience we had with Mayan families far exceeded my expectations. It also gave us an opportunity to fact find and see what else we could do for Mayan families as we continue our relationship and plan on returning.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am nursing student that had the privilege to work with Mayan Families. I am absolutely impressed at how much of an impact Mayan Families has already made amongst the population. The staff is full of such great and caring people -- each person made me feel welcome and I enjoyed working with each one of them. After working Mayan Families and seeing what a positive impact they've created for these families, public health nursing and working with indigenous populations has now become an interest as a possible career path.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The week of Jan. 11-19 I led a group of nursing students in a Service Learning Experience in Guatemala. The week my group of nursing and speech pathology students spent working in Panajachel with Mayan Families was life changing for us. Mayan Families was one of the 10 best experiences of my life and having the support of directors, Sharon and Dwight and all the dedicated, committed staff made our ability to work with the people of Panajachel and surrounding communities a daily privilege. The authentic caring and respect for the people of Guatemala by all the people associated with Mayan Families was humbling for us. My students had an incredible life altering experience that will impact them for years to come and all of that because of the selfless work that is done by every single person at Mayan Families. Our university plans on having a continued relationship with Mayan Families and we know that we are the lucky ones!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I work in international education and helped coordinate a volunteer program through Mayan Families for our College of Nursing and Public Health. It is a regular function of my job to help coordinate such linkages and, at times, we've been disappointed in the agencies we've targeted. I honestly could not be more thrilled at what we found at Mayan Families... caring people who've grown their non-profit to effectively feed and service over 2500 community members.

I am so moved by what they do and so happy to be at, what I hope, is the start of a long relationship between our university and their programs.

Donor

Rating: 5

As the President of Tri-Village Rotary in Columbus, Ohio (USA) I want to be accountable to our members, and our community donors, to make sure that our charitable donations are used in the best way possible. Mayan Families continues to amaze me with their staff and how every penny is maximized. I had the opportunity to visit Mayan Families in March of 2013 and again in November of 2013 and each time I visit I am more reassured that our money is going to the best possible group.

JoyBarney

Donor

Rating: 5

I visited the Mayan Families Foundation in Panajachel, Guatemala in November 2013 and was moved by the incredible need for the services provided by the organization, as well as the dedication of the staff and volunteers to fill that need. This is an organization that, I feel, makes the best use of donor's contributions in making a lasting impact on the lives of the children and adults it helps.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We visited Mayan Families this summer as part of our second trip to Guatemala. We have supported two students through Mayan Families for several years, and even before our visit, we viewed it as a wonderful organization which brings aid directly to impoverished families and which very directly helps improve their lives and the futures of their children. We were able to visit both the students we support, and we saw how connected Mayan Families is to the families they help and how aware they are of the needs of each one.
We also were privileged to volunteer in some of the pre-schools that Mayan Families operates around Lake Atitlan. It was a tremendous experience. The schools are exceptionally well run and provide great benefits to the poor children who attend them by both teaching them a preschool curriculum (including introducing them to Spanish, a second language for many of the children) and by feeding them nutritious meals. In addition, we brought some medical supplies with us, and we saw the invaluable medical services that Mayan Families provides at its main site. Many, many Guatemalan families lack any access to health care due to their poverty and Mayan Families works tirelessly to help them.
Mayan Families is a great, great organization, and we will continue to support them because we know how directly and effectively they benefit poor families in Guatemala.

Mike and Janet, Oakland, CA

Nancy142

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our last mission as Hands of Healing from Florida was Oct 18-26/13. We were amazed at all the Mayan Families do to help the Guatemalan people. They also made our mission easier as they made sure that our team was used in the best villages that needed the most care. It really did not matter what we needed they were there for us and the village. Many thanks to Amy and Vicki who really extended themselves to make our experience the best. I have travelled with this organization for more that 10 missions and will do so again. Nancy D

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Visiting Mayan Families in Guatemala was my first "real" experience outside of the United States, and as an 18 year old high school student the usual culture shock and humbling was immense. And though I was shocked by the poverty, malnutrition, and lack of resources, I came to realize that both the Mayan Families organization and the people of Guatemala were some of the kindest and most welcoming people I've ever encountered. During my entire visit I was guided and taught hands on by the Volunteers of the organization, and had the chance to see first hand how the organization is able to help the much needed people. It was an extremely rewarding experience and believe fully that this chance I had has taught me more than years in general schooling.

Donor

Rating: 5

Our Rotary Club has been partnering with Mayan Families for the past 3 years, and out experience has been beyond my expectations. The organization is so well run and is fully integrated into the community it serves, so Mayan Families knows so much about the needs and is able to get us plugged in with truly impactful projects that are changing the lives of such needy people. We will continue to partner with Mayan Families because we know that they are so accountable for the projects we've implemented together.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful, rewarding experience Looking forward to going again next year. JMG

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Going to Panajachel with Hands of Healing Guatemala to work with Mayan Families was the best experience I have had since I was a youth doing local missions with my church. I can't wait to return next year.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I participate with the Group Global Hands of Healing in conjunction with Mayan Families in Panahachel, Guatemala. It was a wonderful experience. I was so impressed with both organizations and hope to particplate again. Sharon and Dwight at Mayan families do so much to help the families of that area. I am amazed at their commitment and their organization of their headquarters. I encourage everyone to look into the work they do. It is grassroots and hands on all the way that includes many young volunteers and workers. The dedication that I saw toward those they help was really inspiring. Thank you so much for the time I spent and I hope to return. it was a life changing experience.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I spent 3 weeks Volunteering at Mayan Families with my partner Ben. We had such a fulfilling experience. It was wonderful working as a part of such a large team where the work is very grass roots and raw. I am a REgistered Midwife in Australia and felt my skills were utilised during my time with Mayan Families. We have treasured memories and hope to one day return and do some further work with this organisation!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

My partner and I spent 3 weeks volunteering with Mayan Families last month. I am a Registered Midwife from Australia. I felt Mayan Families were very accommodating and wanted to put my skills in health to use during our short stay at Lake Atitlan. Sharon and the team organised visits to Preschools in the surrounding communities to present to the mothers regarding maternal and women's health. Mayan Families is a very warm and welcoming organisation which i felt privileged to be a part of the team in August 2013. My partner and I are already planning a return trip!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel privileged to have volunteered with Mayan families. It's such a unique organisation as it focuses on empowering the local Guatemalan people to make changes within their community. I can't wait to return next year to see how their programs have developed.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My partner and I volunteered at Mayan Families for the previous 3 weeks. It was such a enriching and positive experience working alongside Sharon, Dwight and all the staff. This organisation is completely in touch with the needs of the Panajachel community and provide services and support of the highest standard. I saw first hand how important donations are for this continued support. We are already planning our trip back to support this wonderful organisation.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I spent a month volunteering with Mayan families in Panajachel this summer. Mayan families gave me the incredible opportunity to work with Dr. Louis De Peña in the clinic at the Mayan families compound.
For a pre-med student like me this was a great learning experience. The staff at Mayan families all tried to ensure that I had the best experience possible and were very accommodating and friendly.
All of Panajachel knows about Mayan families, and that is for a good reason. Mayan families has helped improve several important resources in the area: health care, education, job opportunities, etc. They make a difference in the lives of many people in and around Panajachel.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Mayan Families has the most holistic and comprehensive program that I have experienced in Guatemala! Their programs are benefitting thousands in need, yet they somehow manage to personalize the attention given to each and every family they serve. My wife and I are so pleased to sponsor a child through Mayan Families, we get regular updates on her, and we have absolute confidence that our contributions are directly benefitting our child and her family. One of the most genuine organizations I have ever encountered and worked with in service to God's people.

Previous Stories
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Volunteer

Rating: 5

We are a Florida-based medical, dental and vision mission team. We have partnered with Mayan Families on numerous occasions. Mayan Families coordinates sites for our clinics and provides translators and staff. We've had the opportunity to experience the substantial difference that Mayan Families is making in Guatemala and they are the real deal! Their holistic approach to improving impoverished lives is nothing short of miraculous.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My daughter and I volunteered with Mayan Families in the summer of 2013. Day after day we'd find our way to our carefully created service positions amidst many dozens of other volunteers and staff who all interacted in a delicately choreographed yet powerful improvisational dance. I absolutely loved the sense of well organized community and genuine heart-centered warmth. Amidst the sometimes accelerated chaos and dire need of the beloved population of Mayan families, the organization, Mayan Families, generated practical services for people of all ages in soulful ways that were sourced by community members. The services I saw rendered were mostly facilitated by local people, who worked in the kitchen, the pre-schools, the many offices and the grounds. Some people, like myself (a psychotherapist), came in from the exterior to help with medical and other professional needs.