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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

Donor

Rating: 5

Mayan families does wonderful things to help individuals and families in Guatemala. For instance, my son and I sponsor a 5 year old boy who gets clothes, shoes, and school supplies, and get to school for a decent education.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I became involved with Mayan Families after adopting our daughter from Guatemala. This organization does an amazing job helping the people in the indigenous people in the highlands of Guatemala. I became a sponsor to two young girls allowing them to go to school and get an education. The program also provides basic services/needs for the families as well as food and household items. The work that they are doing there is fantastic. The little amount of money that we contribute every month makes such a difference. With low overhead and a lot of hard work they have changed the lives of so many people.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is the real deal. The headquarters in Panajachel is a busy place where Sharon and the army of volunteers address the problems of the steady stream of people from surrounding villages in need. Sharon provides a critical link between donors interested in helping and those who desperately need the help. One summer she suggested we bring down shoes for children which we did. My daughter helped hand them out in a small local village to children who were thrilled at getting a new pair of (used) shoes that actually fit. In one afternoon trip, we handed out bags of shoes, hundreds of baby chicks to women entrepreneurs and then helped a visiting dental group who spoke no spanish set up a dental clinic. Through Mayan Families the needs of local people are accurately identified and the assistance provided by people who want to help is appropriately targeted and effective. I wish the hundreds of sponsors of the school children could meet their sponsored students in person and receive the extreme gratitude of the parents, as I have been able to do.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

My family has sponsored one or two Guatemalan students via Mayan Families (MF) for three years now. One of the students dropped out, but the other has been "our" student continuously. My daughter writes to her and gets letters back, we get occasional updates from MF about our student's family, and whenever we ask we get additional info and updates. As donors we receive various bulk emails about MF projects and needs, which we feel no pressure to respond to, i.e. they do not approach us individually and make saying "no" hard -- MF seems to respect that their donors will want to know what is needed but will choose what they do based on their own situation. We have responded to calls to sponsor food baskets, and received photos of the recipients with the baskets. We expect to continue our student sponsorship until she graduates (now in 4th grade), and we hope to visit our sponsored student later this year when we go to Guatemala -- MF has offered to facilitate our meeting our student, and we are hoping to spend some time slotting in to their other projects as volunteers for part of the time we are there.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

wonderful organization providing much need services to a vulnerable population. excellent communication with donors!

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been sponsoring a student for the past 3 years to attend school. We know that the money we send helps her. We get photo updates at least twice per year- with her holding the items..like shoes for school or her report card.

Sharon, Ely and the staff -work so hard to improve the lives of our brothers and sisters in Guatemala and we appreciate everything they do.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the wonderful opportunity of working with Mayan Families in Dec 2010 and visited many of the projects/villages that they support. They do amazing work and have an amazing staff. The staff works long hours and only has the best interest of those that they serve in their hearts. I have seen the positive effects that they have had in the lives of the children and families that they serve. Without their services, many children would not receive a healthy meal every day; many would not have a chance to receive any schooling. This is an amazing organization that is making a difference in the lives of 1000's in Guatemala.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been involved with Mayan Families for a few years now, sponsoring a child /family. They are wonderful--work tirelessly on behalf of extremely disadvantaged families. Their accomplishments are astounding--in many cases literally life-saving.

Aimee G.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am amazed at what this organization is able to accomplish for the indigenous communities of Guatemala. They provide hope for the poorest of the poor in these communities. I am proud to be a donor and can rest assured that every penny I donate is being put to good use. The dedication of this organization is inspiring to say the least.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is an amazing grass roots group. I have taken a group of veterinarians and volunteers for the past three years where we perform 4 days of spay and neuter clinics. We also work with a local veterinarian and the Guatemalan vet students. We have performed 417 surgeries over the past 3 years and plan to continue every year. They have done an awesome job in creating awareness of the importance of spaying and neutering the animals as well as the importance of treating animals humanely. The MF founders, staff and volunteers are all hands on during our week stay. It is amazing all that they accomplish and the dedication that they have for the people and the animals of Guatemala.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

To whom it may concern;
First of all, the work that this organization is unbelieveable. The
clinics that they conduct are providing great services to the needy.
Secondly, the schools that are provided to the children does more than
give them an education. They help with clothes and supplies and
probably most importantly it provides food and security for the
children.These schools can be the catalyst that provides these
future Guatemala's a way out of their provery.

Finally, I can not say enough about this organization and the personal
touch that I have come to know. They make such a difference on
a daily basis to the people in Guatemala. I am so blessed to
have found this organization and to have conducted business
with such a dynamic and honest organization as Mayan Families.
Your consideration of Mayan Families is greatly appreciated.Thank
you for letting me express my TRUE feelings of the real work that
Mayan Famillies does.

Fondly,
Janet Smith

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is exceptional.. our church started sponsoring a family, and that is when i found this little girl Brenda (1078).. I sponsored her and my life changed. Mayan families posts picutres of the children getting our packages or their new shoes or their school supplies.. I went down in December 2010 and the staff did everything humanly posibble to help my friend and I to visit the families we sponsor. Two translators everytime we went to a house, school party. This was amongst the Christmas parties at the schools, Peace Corp groups coming in and a spay clinic.The staff is tireless.. They sort clothes, find people to feed the elderly, feed families who lost a parent, find sponsors for everychild possible, and post those picutres to each persons page. They are the most amazing group I have ever seen or worked with. I can't wait to go back and to continue to keep up with things through the blog. They have such a great following that we all work hard to keep them going. We came home with much more than we gave because of the people being so gratful, that is the staff, the mayan people, the people you meet in the street. They help sponsor 1600 children.. and I don't know how many people are in elder care..It is just mind boggling how all this gets done. It is a really fantastic group.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

My family currently sponsor a student through Mayan Families in Guatemala. Mayan Families helps operate 5 pre-schools, feeding programs and sponsorship opprotunities that allow children to attend school in Guatemala. The orginizers of Mayan Families live and work in Guatemala and provide weekly updates on what is happening in and around the various programs that they operate. In addition to their human work they also do animal advocacy which included a spay and neuter clinic. Guatemala is a very poor country and we believe that Mayan Families provides a variety of resources both to the young, old and animals that is desparately needed.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I sponsor a little girl in Guatemala through Mayan Families. It is a wonderful organization that helps so many people in this country. I receive pictures and letters from my sponsored student and get updates frequently. My church also sponsors an entire family in Guatemala, and two members of our congregation were able to travel to Guatemala and work with Mayan Families. Their website and blogs are informative and interesting to read. They do amazing things!

Review from Guidestar

Jill M.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been blessed to be able to sponsor two girls through Mayan families so that they could attend school.
I am so thankful that through them I can help to educate these girls. They make it so easy and I know that every cent of my money is being used for something good.
They are great about sending updates and pictures of the girls. I know that if and when I go to visit Guatemala I will be sure to visit Mayan families and hopefully see the families I am able to sponsor.
Mayan families is a really great organization that is making a real difference in the world.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Mayan Families provides much needed assistance to the indigenous people of Guatemala. Through their website, you can learn about the lives of the people that are receiving aid, and see pictures of what is being provided. I am sponsoring a preschool student and I find it very rewarding. I am grateful to Mayan Families for the opportunity to help.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I have two adopted children from Guatemala. They are the love and joy of my life. I feel a strong connection to the country through and because of my children. Mayan families has and continues to do so much for families and children in Guatemala. Through their school sponsership and feeding programs many children will have opportunites that they would never have otherwise had. Mayan Families deserves the support of us all.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have numerous friends have direct interactions with Mayan Families and I have been amazed by the work that they do! As an adoptive parent to two Guatemalan daughters I have keen interest in groups doing things the "right" way and with honesty and integrity. This clearly is one of these organizations.

Review from Guidestar

Caro

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Mayan Families after one of our children was killed. It was a way to deal with the pain and help other children finish their education. Currently I sponsor two students for education and assist other families with food and other necessities. In the past year I have visited and volunteered with Mayan Families four times and plan to return several times each year. It is amazing how much they do for their community through education, medical, potable water, safe wood-burning stoves, elder care, animal welfare, etc. They are empowering their clients to change their lives and the energy and determination of both staff and volunteers is both amazing and inspiring.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is an incredibly dedicated organization in the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala. With programs ranging from Student Sponsorship to Medical needs, they take a multi-dimensional approach to helping the indigenous Mayan population with immediate needs.

Review from Guidestar

Sarah H.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been both a volunteer and a donor since 2006, when I first learned about Mayan Families and met Sharon. I was living in Antigua during the adoption of my two children, and was looking for a way to give back a little to the country and people who had given me so much. The first few times I visited Sharon she was accomodating and enthusiastic as she showed me around, introduced me to villages and families, and to many of MF's programs. From the onset I was very impressed with the breadth of her vision, her commitment and amazing empathy, and her ability to generate trust and loyalty in the staff and in the many donors and volunteers who make their work possible. In the five years snce I became involved with them, the organization has grown enormously, as have the number of programs and people they serve . I think they have managed this growth extremely well and seem to do a great job of always making it -- whatever it happens to be at the moment -- happen!

Review from Guidestar

Pam W.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family and I recently returned from a visit to Mayan Families. It is not an exaggeration to say how much this trip changed our lives. We have been donors to Mayan Families for nearly four years and I was already a fan, but meeting Sharon and Dwight (the leaders of the organization) and seeing their projects first hand cemented my appreciation of Mayan Families.

As a professional fundraiser for nonprofit organizations, I am especially impressed with the way that Mayan Families is managed. Their budget is extremely lean and Dwight and Sharon have the best interests of the Mayan people at heart. There is no waste and the small staff is paid a fair yet conservative wage.

Mayan Families in now among my top three philanthropic priorities.

Jack S.

Donor

Rating: 5

The founders of Mayan Families, Dwight and Sharon were members of our Unitarian church in San Diego, so we were curious to see what drew them to Guatemala a few years ago. This Christmas my wfe Maureen and I volunteered to help distribute food baskets, shoes, clothes and matresses to some very destitute Mayan folks in Panachel and in the refugee [mudslide refugees] tent villages. It was deeply gratifying to participate first hand and to see how grateful the moms and kids were when they got their gifts. We came to realize Christmas was just a blip, although a big one, for Mayan Families. For 365 days a year they help in so many ways,eg., indigeneous fabrics, clothes and art, folkloric dancing, education [ we joined to sponsor a hs Mayan student for $450/year making it possible to attend school for a year], sex education and birth control, health care and more. There are no limits what Dwight, Sharon and about 30 volunteers try to accomplish. Every effort is made to be transparent so the doners know where their money went. Administrative costs are rock bottom low, so every donation gets used effeciently. Its a one of the best small ngo's that is making a big difference inindividual lives. Almost all donations are small and come via word of mouth from people like us contacting their friends and churches in the US, Canada and Europe.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think I can honestly say that becoming involved in Mayan Families changed my life. I went from being someone who loved to travel to exotic places without giving back much to someone who is now acutely concerned with the challenges faced by people in those lands. But more than that, I have a way to give back, join a fantastic donor/volunteer community, and actually do something to help.

My husband and I went down to Guatemala twice to see Mayan Families. I wrote a full account of those trips on my blog:

http://gonnamakeachange.blogspot.com/2008/06/guatemala-trip-roundup.html

http://gonnamakeachange.blogspot.com/2009/01/december-2008-guatemala-trip-roundup.html

I would wholeheartedly recommend Mayan Families to anyone!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

We have been living in the community where Mayan family is based for many years and know the founders and their family personally. What I have seen them do over the years cannot properly be described in words: Their dedication, selflessness and competence always blows my mind. Apart from having great ideas and knowing where help is needed most, they follow through with every great project they plan, are well organized and very well presented on the internet and locally. They follow up on projects so that you can see where the money or physical help you provided went. I have recommended Mayan Families to many friends and family memebers as an organization that can be fully trusted, knowing that the money you give really goes where it is supposed to. I am honestly impressed by Mayan Families.

Patti K.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I thought Mayan Families gave him everything I ordered for him, (example: a bed, food, etc) - but, I wanted to make sure.

In May of 2008, my son along with 4 others went to visit Mayan Families. Long story short, I was impressed by the dedication to the Mayan Families team. While we were there we noticed Mayan Families workers going above and beyond helping the people in Panahachel and surrounding areas. When people would show up out the the blue for help, Mayan Families was there for them, day or night.

Sharron of Mayan Families is warm, giving and very hard working. All of the workers were friendly, compassionate and loved what they do, which is helping poor people in Guatemala on a daily basis - rain or shine.

I cannot wait to go back to visit Mayan Families and the wonderful people of Guatemala.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I got involved with MF after our daughter's adoption was complete. We wanted to find a way to give back to her birthcountry that had given us so much. At first I fell in love with a girl to sponsor for school. We now sponsor 5 girls for school an send food, clothing and other aid to them and the general public throughout the year. This led to joining the MF connection Yahoo group. Through that group we have done all sorts of fundraising from paying for funerals to Bucks for Clucks; the annual chicken drive! We have sent huge shipments of donations. I have even started a website selling jewelry with the profits going entirely to Mayan Families. I was honored to have visited Panajachel, Guatemala in July of 08. Sharon and the entire staff work ceaselessly to do whatever humanly possible for the people of Guatemala. Basically my entire life revolves around MF and planning what I can do next. If ever there was a person I would call my "hero" it would be Sharon Smart Poage one of the founders of Mayan Families. Sharon opens her home not only to the needy people who are served by Mayan Families but to all who volunteer and visit.

Chess E.

Donor

Rating: 5

Our Men's group collects money each month when we get together to support the excellent work of Mayan Families. Their impeccable organization puts families first and they are unflagging in their efforts, care, compassion and energy.

Cindy U

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Recently visited and volunteered with Mayan Families for 2 weeks. Going out with the staff on the Elderly Feeding Program and visiting the preschools. I also sponsor a student in one of the preschools thru Mayan Families. This is a great organization. Can't wait to work with them again very soon.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with Mayan FAmilies was great. They were very informative and guided us every step of the way. They are doing a great service in Panajachel and the surrounding areas. Can't wait to go back and work with them again.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm currently a volunteer at Mayan Families, and will spend about three months working here. I've been working with the Family Aid program, interviewing families in crisis and then writing content to help raise donations to help them. I've gotten to see firsthand the customs, living situations, and problems of the indigenous communities in this area. It has absolutely been a life-changing experience -- volunteers looking to get real experience working with the people of Guatemala would do well to consider coming to work for Mayan Families. There is no shortage of work, no matter what field you specialize in (or even if you don't specialize in anything in particular!), and this is an area with a true, desperate amount of need.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I've been hearing about the work of Mayan Families from my niece, who is a volunteer there this month. I'm so impressed by the variety of efforts they make on behalf of the sick, the hungry, the aged, the children and the homeless in their community. A wide variety of services helping destitute people. Thank you, Mayan Families.

Wendy W.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been following the stories of individuals and families posted on the Mayan Families website. My daughter went to Guatemala to teach English so the children would have a better chance of employment and self-sufficiency. A worthy effort, but the people in the region served by Mayan Families are struggling just to SURVIVE. Children can't stay in school because the $.50 a day they might make is needed by their family. They have one of the highest malnutrition rates in the world. I recently donated to help a young mother with 4 children, abandoned by her husband (an all too common occurrence) have a house built. This can be done for $750 !!! This was a very small home on a tiny rented lot -- but it is a palace to this family. Mayan Families has proven themselves to be one of those organizations completely devoid of 'fluff'. You can be confident that your donations are making a huge difference in these families' lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have spent the past two months as a volunteer for Mayan Families, and I've seen firsthand the importance of their role in Panajachel and the surrounding towns. Since I've been here, I've seen more than one life saved, and many made much better, by the work that this organization does. You can be sure that any support sent here will be quickly put to great use by a very dedicated staff.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with Mayan Families was a rewarding and life changing experience. They were very helpful in attempting to direct our efforts and expertise to help the most individuals that were in the most need. They made us feel extremely welcome, and appreciated.

Alan N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

These people are really amazing. Seem to be very active, with a lot of direct involvement both in and from the communities around Lake Aititlan that they serve. I had a terrific experience working with them and would highly recommend them to anyone interested

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the opportunity to work with Mayan Families for a few days in October as we distributed aid to families affected by landslides and flooding. They are helping in such a huge range of different ways it is staggering - this is one of the most proactive charities I have ever come across. Witnessing what they do first hand I can only admire their commitment, optimism and pragmatism in the face of a challenging situation. They were so helpful in helping us acheive our goals during our short time in Guatemala.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have always enjoyed my time with this great group of individuals. They are truly committed to helping better the lives of those most in need. I have worked with them once a year since they started, and have seen them grow exponentially in size. Their employees mainly consist of local Guatemalans who use their intimacy with the community to discover those most in need of aid.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering for Mayan Families was such a great experience for me. I learned lots, and had the priviledge of giving back to others. They are a great organization to volunteer with!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We have worked with Mayan Families for 6 years and have watched them grow. The need is so great in this part of the word and they react to that need, instantly. They have their finger on the heartbeat of what is needed and they provide whatever they can, however they can, as fast as possible. They also provide steady work for 40 indigenous people. This is great. Mayan Families doesn't stand on pomp and ceremony. They are not about how it looks to others. They are the real thing with their heart in the right place at all times. I will continue to have my organization (Mayan Families Canada) work exclusively with them for years to come

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Volunteering with Mayan Families was an incredible experience! I learned so much about Guatemala and had the opportunity to help many people through the many great programs run by Mayan Families. The staff and volunteers at Mayan Families have such big hearts for the people of Guatemala and are doing great things in the country. It is really amazing how many students are able to go to school through the sponsorship program. Many kids are very loved by their sponsors.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

What I found so impressive about this organization is their commitment to help as many people as possible in concrete and sustainable ways. The staff both paid and volunteer were committed to helping the people as much as they could, but also worked to help impower the people to be able to build a better life for themselves. In other words, we weren't just handing out, we were helping people to structure their lives and make choices that they could eventually sustain on their own.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Life changing wouldn't be enough to describe the amazing experiences I had in Guatemala. I have worked with and known the people involved with Mayan Families for many years. I have found this Non-profit Mayan families to be outstanding and a very valuable resource to the Mayan Indigenous communities that they serve in the Highlands of Guatemala. It is a Hard working and efficient organization that is underfunded for all of the fine work that they do. I assisted with

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is an NGO that does allot with very little funding. Mayan runs a vast amount of projects ranging from education to construction I personally witnessed Two of the projects, the first was dentistry. I wondered in to the clinic that had been set up by Mayan Families for local children. In Guatemala there is very little fluoride in the water so all the children are given fluoride treatments as well as having their teeth examined by a qualified dentist. by 2pm in the afternoon 187 children had arrived to have free help that they would not get without Mayan families. The second project I witnessed was a project involving street animals. Mayan helps injured or unwell animals often from the street, nurses them back to health and then does its best to re home them. I stumbled upon Mayan by chance,after seeing the good they do first hand I intend to become involved in anyway I can.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

'Mayan Families' offers real and sustainable solutions for the many issues faced by impoverished Guatemalan families. The small organisation covers an impressive and comprehensive range of programs that provide essential skills, medical care, educational programes and animal welfare to the community in the Panajachel area. I was welcomed into the charity with open arms and any skills that I could provide were greatly recieved. The organisation is the perfect example of selfless charitable work; the organisation is run by the kindness of others and can only be continued to be mantained by the devotion of its staff. I am planning to return next summer as a volunteer and work for a longer period. I am also plan to organise promotional ideas in my home town. A fantastic charity that does so much for a community in great need.

12

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful grass-roots organization that helps many of the neediest families in the Lake Atitlan area of Guatemala. The people who run the organization live there and really know the needs of those they serve.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hands-on programs for education, health, shelter, health, animal welfare. I sponsor two students' education and have donated items such as an Onil stove, water filter, food and clothing. This organization stands out because it respects the culture of the indigenous Maya who are the majority of the population they serve and most of their employees are Guatemalan. The provision of water filters and Onil stoves are major contributors to improving health in the area.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In April 2010, I went to Guatemala with my two teen-age kids and two of their friends to volunteer with Mayan Families for one week. From the moment that we arrived, we were made to feel welcome. We were kept busy installing Onil stoves, working in the pre-schools, handing out donations, meeting our sponsored students and helping with the spay and neuter clinic. In July 2010, I returned for two more weeks with all three of my kids, including my college age daughter, and a friend. We arrived several weeks after Tropical Storm Agatha, but the effects of the damage were still very apparent. The need for the programs offered by Mayan Families is even greater now than ever. Sharon, Dwight and all the staff are caring, respectful and responsive to the needs of the Mayan community. They are truly dedicated to helping improve the lives of the desperately poor people that they serve. There is so much work to be done and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing organization as Mayan Families.

10

Donor

Rating: 5

Mayan Families works directly with very impoversihed families. They allow their donors to also have a personal relationship with the families. We sponsor a child for school and also help his family with food, water filter, etc. They are an amazing group.

10 senor-david

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have supported the Mayan Families student sponsorship program for two years which enables Mayan children to attend school. One of the very fine parts of the program is in the informational where sponsors are informed through email pictures of their students and families receiving assistance. My on site experience in Guatemala revealed a dedication of staff that carried through even into lunch time where talk, instead of being chit chat, centered on service to the people.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

it was an amazing adventure it all started with a great party from the kids who did a tradicional dance for us, and for a week i was part of the elderly feeding program,that was very entertaining to see the elderly and get to taste the delicious food they had, and i get to built many stoves for diferent familys, tahat was a real trhill...

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families was a wonderful organization to volunteer for. I had emailed them in advance and their response and general concern was prompt and personal.They were very down to earth, yet professional and well organized. They were eager to work around our schedules and interests. The friendly staff made the work extremely enjoyable. They provided a large variety of activities for us, including seeing traditional dance and visiting schools, working with children, helping to feed poor elderly etc. It was truly both a pleasure and an honor to have met and worked with Mayan Families. I am eager to continue to stay involved through donations, and sponsorship and will be telling everyone I know about the wonderful work they are doing in Guatemala!

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families does what other people organizations talk about dream about. Their commitment to the work is massive. The founders live in this community too so they are also available to feel the pulse of what the people in the community are requesting and what needs to be done next. In the recent disaster Agatha this was also lifesaving. They were the first to be there to help families who had lost loved ones and housing and now needed food and shelter. This was along with maintaining their other programs. On a recent visit I saw first hand their passion and commitment to the people and animals that they serve. Yes … along with the massive service programs they have helping children, elderly, woman … they also help the animals many who are thrown on the streets as puppies and kittens. More donors are needed to step forward to help with the emergency care of these animals that often endure massive suffering and the neuter and spay program which helps prevent unnecessary suffering of future generations of animals.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We came to Guatemala knowing that the here have major need that we take for granted.We knew that there was a house that needed to be built and other home that needed general repair. Mayan Families had projects lined up for us when we arrived. They had a very organized plan that was almost immediately destroyed by horrible weather. ach day we woke up with a new plan in place to help those that were in despirate need of help. At the end of 5 days we started a new house foe a family that lived under tarps, we built cabinets for a Mayan Family pre-school; we painted walls of the pre-school with murals and bright colored walls and gave the child a bright and fun environment to learn in. We made it possible for a very ill person of 16 to be able to use his bathroom without assistance. All of these things happened as the result of a organization dedicated improving the lives of the people that live in their community. WAY TO GO MAYAN FAMILIES. You are a gift to Guatemala

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The first day we spent in San Jorge to get a start on rebuilding a families home that was destroyed recently and they had nothing left. We were able to get a great start on this reconstruction project, however with the storm that hit that day and night, the conditions of the road unabled us to get there the next day to finish that project. The second day we spent at a families home in Pana. We built them a new roof with one panel to let the sunlight in. We also rebuilt their bathroom. The last two days were spent at a preschool in which we painted all the walls with educational pictures, built coat racks, and put together cubby shelves, enough cubbies for each kid to have one.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This was a fabulous experience. I came here to give to the people but went away with the feeling that they gave me more than I gave them! I helped to construct houses for people whose homes had been washed away by Tropical Storm Agatha, replace pieces of a home that was in the most impoverished state that I had ever witnessed and painted the walls of a pre-school to make in child-friendly and colorful. I hope I can return every year!

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with Mayan Families to build a home for a family whose home was about to colapse. I helped to put a new roof on a home and reinforce the supports on that home. I also helped to build a ramp to a bathroom for a termanilly ill young man so that he could get from his bed to the bathroom and we painted a pre-school to give some color to the education of disadvantaged young children.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan families impressed me by giving our group many options through difficult circumstances beyond their control. While we didn't get to perform the tasks we had planned prior to our trip due to an extremely rainy week. They were able to shift gears as seamlessly as possible in a country such as Guatemala and find ways to put our large group (over 30) of volunteers to work in a vital area everyday.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 4

This charity was an amazing experience helping the people of Guatemala. It was a true and organic experience helping people who truely needed aid and care. After the disasters of the lake area, it was overwheling to see the need. We felt so blessed to be able to help in any way that we could. It was also nice to be able to provide medical care in whatever way we could. We came into Guatemala with no plans, but with Mayan families help we were able to volunteer in many different and interesting ways. They organized and facilitated most of our trip which was extremely important.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is an exceptional organization that not only takes a wide scope of the needs of the Mayan people to heart, but also ensures that every donated dollar goes towards the people whom they serve. They are rooted in integrity and compassion. My volunteer experience with them was fantastic because I was given ample opportunity to serve on a breadth of projects, and my responsibilities could entail as much as I was willing to give. Great organization!

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I loved working with Mayan Families, it's a wonderful grassroot oganisation,that does not have a big bureaucracy. I felt confident that the donations reached it's intended person or project. Most of the staff are indigenous, and were welcoming + helpful.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been studying abroad in Guatemala for six weeks in a social work program. I was placed with Mayan Families for my service placement, and can't imagine a better organization to fit my own preferences and the needs of the indigenous community. I've been welcomed into the home of Dwight and Sharon with open arms, and am so appreciative of what they have helped me to experience during my time here. Mayan Families is such a great organization because, although I was primarily interested in working with animal welfare, I was given the opportunity to work in various program areas to have a more well-rounded experience. Agatha left her mark on Guatemala shortly before I arrived, so there were always tasks to be completed. The staff and volunteers of Mayan Families approached the situations with such poise and confidence. Being surrounded by such a great group of proactive people of all ages has been such a refreshing experience. I'm already working out the kinks for a return trip!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went to Guatemala to relax and meditate but found that i needed to contribute more with my time and energy whilst there. I was introduced to Mayan Families and felt very welcomed by them. It was a busy time after hurricane Agatha had left her mark on a very fragile country. I found MF to be very responsive to what was needed and they got on with doing it, I think their strengths are that they are proactive, spontaneous and flexible...afterall things happen in Guatemalan time. Their ability to let go of plans and do what was available to be done to me is a great way to be. I would recommend anyone to go and work with them to get an all round experience of an ngo, especially if you speak spanish and maybe if you are willing to learn the local languages too, this gives the opportunity to get really involved with supporting the local people and to gain an understanding of what its like to live in a place like guatemala. I look forward to going back sometime.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Myself, my wife and 11 year old son visited Mayan Families headquarters for 5 days during Christmas week 2009. We wanted an adventure that was both exciting and provided our son to see the beauty of Mayan cultures and to give back some of the good fortune we received by helping some people.We had soo much fun. One wouldn't normally describe handing out shoes to long lines of people in the rain a good time but I would!!! You wouldn't think working for hours to create baskets full of food staples so that some mayan families could have a special holiday dinner would be incredibly rewarding....but I would!!!! This was so cool. When we first went down we agreed to sponsor a family. Upon arriving we met another family we just had to help also. On our final days we met a tiny little woman with her son wrapped in a blanket on her back. She stole our hearts. Okay...one more family. No problem. As I type this I'm still wearing the friendship bracelet she gave me as a gift. Wow.

1 pink

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is unique organization in that the directors are on the ground hands on directing the many programs they are involved with.I have witnessed during my 4 month stay a level of service I did not know existed .Mayan families is about helping the most people in the most cost effective way .I