Mil Milagros is a model program for combating malnutrition. It has sparked amazing changes. I've seen the program in action on visits to participating schools over several years. There is always a buzz in the kitchen where the moms are preparing carefully planned nutritious lunches and snacks. Hand washing, tooth brushing, and giggles are standard additions. The kids' smiles are only a partial reflection of their improved health. The real transformation is in the palpable energy of the pride and hope in children, mothers, fathers, teachers, and town councils working with the program. In my 50 years of experience living in and writing about Guatemala, I can say that Mil Milagros is the best of programs that demonstrate all that can be accomplished by respecting, listening to, and working with the people on the ground.
I volunteered to lead a group of dentists from Boston University to help provide dental care and dental education for children in Guatemala served by Mil Milagros. we very much enjoyed working with the Mil Milagros staff. What impressed me the most was that not only was education and nutrition supported directly but that it was sustained by involving the mothers in the community in nutritional education and, during our mission, oral hygiene education. Involving the community in carrying out the mission of Mil Milagros has the potential for long lasting benefit over and above direct services to the children. The staff of Mil Milagros are dedicated to the mission to the point of joyful passion. a nonprofit well deserving of our investment.
After deciding I was financially able to donate a fair amount of money to help the less fortunate I made Guatemala my focus. I spent a year or so researching non-profits and the whole realm of charitable organizations- the good they do and the problems and pitfalls. I spent many weeks visiting and evaluating 10-12 organizations working in Guatemala and have now ended up working with and donating to 3 or 4 on a regular basis.
Mil Milagros is an inspiring organization. It is small (and growing) non-profit with a clear, well-reasoned and attainable mission. To achieve their goals Margaret and her wonderful employees and volunteers focus on what I and many others know are the key problems in combating relentless poverty- lack of access to healthcare and education. They don't just dump food and money on the doorstep of needy families and walk away, rather, they require the involvement of the parents, teachers, administrators and the kids themselves to realize and carryout the mission of MM- success in school via meal programs, nutrition, hygiene, classroom/teacher support, women's health education and so much more. I also admire that they cooperate with other non-profits that work in other areas (medical, dental, building construction, etc.) rather than possibly spreading themselves to thin.
Donating to MM does a great deal of good and benefits so many people, including myself. I am inspired and buoyed in my daily life by being involved with them and what they are able to accomplish! A better organization I haven't found! Thanks to MM for all their good work.
When I volunteered with with Mil Milagros in 2010 and 2013, I visited 23 families living in rotary club tents and cooking together in an outdoor kitchen in a village high above Lake Atitlan after a huge mud slide had destroyed their homes and school. I also visited a small school in Pana where madres and abuelas were making a nutritious lunch for all of the children. At an incredibly inspiring party for Mil Milagros last week in Newton (sept, 2014), many Waltham-Guatemalan families enjoyed dinner, dancing to marimba playing and gave so much of their spirit and support so that Mil Milagros can continue the work in their homeland. All of the 23 families are now living in cinder block homes through connections made by Mil Milagros!!! I also met a BU dental surgeon and his wife who brought 5 dental students to San Juan on Lake Atitlan last Spring to provide a year's worth of floride treatment to 250 children while he did more complex dental work.
What a difference one visionary and caring person can make in the lives of children and families!!!
Thank you to Margaret Blood and her dedicated board members and volunteers!!
Count me in to return next year!!
Sandy Sachs, Child Development Specialist, Family Nurturing of MA
Mil Milagros is doing amazing work in Guatemala by partnering with schools, teachers and mothers, to make sure that children have a healthy meal at school each day. In August 2014, my wife, son, and I visited four of the five schools where Mil Milagros is engaged and saw first-hand the close connections and many consequences of the remarkable work by this group. The school-lunch program provides an entry point for Mil Milagros to explore broader development efforts, which vary depending on the needs of each community and school. We were deeply impressed by the passion and the results of Mil Milagros, and by the dedication of the mothers who cook the food each day. We hope that the organization will expand its miracles to other schools and communities.
This is an amazing organization that is truly changing lives - not just short term, but long term. What Mil MIlagros does is nothing short of community transformation....by partnering with families (particularly mothers and grandmothers) and communities/schools, they are building local capacity to improve and sustain outcomes not just for the children, but for the entire community. Mil Milagros's work and approach respects and leverages local ownership, cultural sensitivities, and input. Mil Milagros is flexible and opportunistic, and willing to rethink tactics based on evaluation of what is/is not working. This is a model that should be learnt from and replicated in developing countries across the globe.
Ever since I was a teenager (50 years ago) and first visited Guatemala in a family exchange program, I've love Guatemala and Guatemalans. 20 years ago, I adopted my son who was born in Guatemala. For all these years, I've been aware of the dire circumstances of Mayan people. I am inspired by the change in these good peoples' lives which Mil Malagros makes: for example, teaching mothers to make more nutritional meals at the schools develops the strength of all members of these wonderful famillies. The mission of Mil Milagros is to give the children the best nutrition, health&dental care, and education. The actual impact of Mli Milagros is much greater: the children thrive, the mothers gain self-esteem, their families thrive and the community gets empowered engaged citizens. WIN WIN WIN! This model of empowerment takes skill and engagement from the Mil Milagros staff and again all thrive from it. The future of these children, these families, these communities is made stronger for it! This is a model of transformational engagement that makes Futures Brighter. THANK YOU all who help this program continue to grow. Its a great investment!
I was able to see the work provided by Mil Milagros last year first hand. I visited the schools on two occasions with my teenage children, both adopted from Guatemala. The experience was moving and inspirational. The changes that occur as a result of this program impact not only the children, thier families, the community but also those that get involved. My children were inspired to do more for this program and the children serviced. They look forward to their next visit and they hope to inspire their friends and schools to get involved.
I am honored to be associated with this wonderful non-profit that is truly making a significant, positive difference in the lives of the children and communities it touches in Guatemala. As the father of a daughter born in Guatemala, I am particularly sensitive to seemingly insurmountable challenges facing children in that that country. While I am always willing to listen to organizations trying to make a difference in that country, I decided to give significant support to Mil Milagros because: 1) it has a clear and compelling mission, 2) has developed a unique model that has allowed it to succeed where other well-intentioned organizations have not, and 3) it measures results vs. goals as rigorously as it lives its mission.
In August 2014 I visited the schools Mil Milagros serves in Guatemala and met with the children and their teachers. The children come from Mayan families in impoverished villages around Lake Atitlan in the central highlands. One school serves 22 families displaced when a hurricane destroyed their village. I assisted as Mil Milagros' capable staff helped the women of the village learn how to better purify their drinking water. Despite the many hardships that they face, these children and their schools are accomplishing great things. Mil Milagros provides educational support, basic medical interventions, healthy meals, and nutritional guidance to the families. Particularly important are the outreach programs to, and partnerships with, the mothers, who help run the school lunch programs and assist the teachers. At a time when the USA has become focused on Guatemala children as an immigration issue, Mil Milagros continues its ongoing work in building and strengthening Guatemalan schools, to give the children literacy, nutrition, and a chance to build lives for themselves right there in Guatemala. Please support the vital work of Mil Milagros.
Putting the experience I had last week visiting Mil Milagros into words seems like an impossible task. While I was familiar with Mil Milagros and their work, I was completely unprepared for the thousands of ripples their work has created. Mil Milagros brings health and hope not just to the children of the schools with whom they partner, but with the teachers, the staff, the mothers, siblings, whole families and the larger community. Mil Milagros is creating ambassadors of hope, health and light in the children they serve and the work is making life and death differences every day. At the risk of speaking in hyperbole, I hope to create in my lifetime the kind of change Margaret and her staff creates in the course of a day with these incredible children.
As the parents of a daughter born in Guatemala City our work with Mil Milagros means a great deal to us. We recently returned from a week in Guatemala that provided (besides the trip of a lifetime for our daughters) a chance to work in MM's six schools, meet the children we are helping and see up close and personal the difference MM makes in the lives of so many students, teachers and families. We were particularly moved by the daily effort that the parents put in to make MM a success at each school. The parents know how fortunate they are to have MM working with them to improve the lives of their children every day and they take their responsibilities very seriously. The experience solidified for us our commitment to continue our support and do our small part to maintain the success, and grow, this wonderful organization. We feel very lucky to be part of Mil Milagros.
Best regards, Charley & Nan Murphy
Mil Milagros, one thousand miracles. Well it’s way more than that; way more than a thousand!
The initial miracle was that a forty-somethingish Boston woman should have found herself on a fun vacation in Guatemala and be quickly overcome, indeed stricken, by the kids which, as if magnetized, flocked to her ready smile, Spanish words of encouragement and blondest of blonde complexions. That was four or five years ago when Margaret Blood came to recognize in these arresting school-age kids a sense of need: these children showed signs of being among the very most malnourished in the world; their primary school completion rate was abysmal; the country’s child pregnancy rate alarming; their poor families in need of help, too. “What to do? There must be a way?”
The next of many miracles to come was Margaret’s success in the formation and evolution of the school feeding program, a not-for-profit, known and celebrated in the Guatemalan state of Solola, and here in the US, as Mil Milagros. Nearly a hundred people in the Boston area have contributed thousands of dollars to guarantee a hot meal for every kid in the many schools which have been fortunate enough to benefit from this endeavor. There are now over one thousand kids participating: not only is the benefit that of reducing the likelihood of progressive malnutrition in these kids, the hot meals have a major effect on kids and their families such that kids stay in school and dropout rate is markedly reduced. As an adjunct, kids are taught basics of health and hygiene. Every kid brings in his/her toothbrush and is expected to use it; hands are washed after going to the bathroom; sinks and showers have been installed with Mil Milagros help in certain schools. Whole families participate and are integrated into the program: the kids must bring in fire wood for the wood stoves to cook the meals which the mothers prepare in organized rotation. Clearly there is leveraged benefit, miracle upon miracle: the hope and enthusiasm radiating from the families and schools where Mil Milagros is working.
The next miracles Mil Milagros is rolling out will come with implementation of supplemental feedings for the younger siblings of the families whose children are in the school age program because, it has now been recognized by Mil Milagros and health experts, some aspects of malnutrition develop at a very young age and school feeding programs cannot be expected to help with all those early deficits.
It’s easy to understand the enthusiasm and clamor of neighbors, schools and towns to bring Mil Milagros to thousands more in Guatemala. The next miracles: get to ten thousand kids within a couple of years, each child, each family another miracle in the evolution of humanity.
Mil Milagros provides me the opportunity to give back in such a way that I know I am not just providing a fish, but a fishing pole. It allows me, as a donor, to play a small role in building capacity and hope among some of the poorest people in the world. It provides children with the foundation they need to be successful, and their parents with the skills and resources to help their children achieve greater success than they could have dreamed. It is a wonderful organization which benefits both the families and guatemala and donors such as myself.
Our youngest child, who was adopted from Guatemala, died after a long and tragic illness in 2008. When she died, we immediately knew that we wanted to dedicate a significant amount of our time and resources to a cause that would be worthy of her beautiful life and memory. It was then that we met Margaret Blood, the Executive Director of Mil Milagros. Founded in 2007, Mil Milagros is dedicated to eradicating hunger and poverty among the indigenous population the children of Guatemala. Mil Milagros partners with 5 schools, 41 teachers, and 355 mothers & grandmothers to serve 1,100 children in the state of Sololá in Guatemala. Mil Milagros has a five point program: (1)Nutrition: - children are served nourishing lunches prepared by the children’s mothers and grandmothers who are trained by Mil Milagros. They have also recently instituted a supplemental nutrition program for infants and toddlers. (2.)Health and Hygiene: Mil Milagros has created dental clinics and teaches the children about hygiene. (3) Education: Mil Milagros supplies books, school supplies, and teacher training. (4) Leadership development : Mil Milagros has instated leadership-skill building among mothers and grandmothers and led the creation of on-site student councils. (5) Impact measurement: Mil Milagros carefully measure the physical and classroom improvements among their students. Mil Milagros has an aggressive plan for growth to serve more children and more schools. We highly recommend this non-profit as one that has a clear sense of mission and is making a measurable impact.
From: Patricia O'Brien [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2012 1:16 PM
When I contribute to Mil Milagros, I know my money is well spent. While writing a book about volunteerism in Guatemala, I've visited many programs and interviewed many participants . This one stands out. I've seen it in action beginning with the first two room school in a remote village where the energy was palpable at every level. There was a role for everybody. The village men piped water to the school and built the kitchen. The women took classes in nutrition and cooked a hot meal each day. The children brought their own cups and plates each day and washed them. Contributions paid for two part time staff, .a coordinator and a teacher, as well as the food and some school supplies.Now you need look only at the website to see how these and many more more children have thrived. School attendance has improved dramatically. MM's strong management is demonstrated in part by the real focus put on results with both hard and soft measures including focus groups. What stands out the most to me personally as I've visited each school is the obvious pride and ownership the children and their moms, as well as the teachers, have in what they're accomplishing together.
Mi Milagros is an inspiring institution that makes a clear difference in the lives of the Guatemalan children. All the employees are passionate and hard-working. It was great to volunteer with and learn more about this organization.
This non-profit changes the life of all who come in contact with it !!! This is why it is called Mil Milagros -- a thousand miracles ! (a thousand and counting.....) I thought the "miracles" were only for the recipients of this non-profit, the Guatemalan children and their families; I found out differently when I attended the October 3rd fundraiser. As a donor, I felt as though I was the recipient of the miracles the Guatemalan children and families were giving so genuinely with their gratitude !! Thank you, Mil Milagros. Your vision and belief in miracles creates a bridge and sense of responsibility to all humankind, and especially between the Guatemalan and US communities. The miracle is in each of our hands !!
I volunteered at the most recent fundraiser for Mil Milagros Inc. It was so wonderful to hear about all the amazing work that is being done for the children in Guatemala. This not-for-profit is a real inspiration and an excellent example of the life changing work that can be done when you meet people where they are at. I am very impressed by the work that is being done here!
Mil Milagros works in partnership with schools, communities and families to teach nutrition, health and educational best practices that are sustainable in those communities. In Guatemala, malnutrition rates are the 4th highest in the world, and elementary school drop out rate of 60%. Mil Milagros looks to the causes of these problems and works with Mayan communities to have a better future for their children.
As the parents of three boys adopted from Guatemala, it was very important for my husband and I to be connected to our boys' birthcountry. Our involvement with Mil Milagros has allowed us to do that in a personal way. A few years ago, my oldest son and I traveled to Guatemala and visited the schools we support. It was a life-changing experience for both of us and this year, I'll be going again with our middle son. Mil Milagros is not only feeding children, but empowering families to advocate for themselves and most importantly, to envision a brighter future for their children.
A Program with a word view to end world hunger, educate women and children and improve quality life. My respects for the work they are doing!
I have volunteered with Mil Milagos for about 5 years. It has been a special and rewarding experience. I have sold handmade jewelry to raise funds for Mil Milagros, helped coordinate jewelry sales at the annual celebration and fundraiser, and helped with the processing of contributions from our generous donors. In addition I have worked on the annual fundraising mailing, written thank you notes, helped with the Facebook page and helped with the publication of the newsletter. All of these activities were capped off by my trip last spring to visit the children and partner schools who benefit from the work of Mil Milagros. Everyday school day over 1,100 mostly indigenous Mayan children who reside in Guatemala's poorest state of Solola, receive hot, nutritious meals which are prepared by volunteer mothers and grandmothers in the community. For many of the children, this is the only meal they receive each day. When the children are being fed, they attend school -- this simple equation has helped raise the graduation rate of the children in the program. In addition, Mil Milagros provides personal hygiene products (such as tooth paste and toothbrushes), water filters to provide clean drinking water, health and dental checkups for the children and their mothers, textbooks and school supplies, and most of all love and hope. In one community, which has been homeless for more than 2 years, Mil Milagos rents the school classrooms and pays the teachers' salaries in addition to the nutritional, hygiene and educational support described above. Mil MIlagros means A Thousand Miracles -- at least a thousand miracles are truly occurring each day through Mil Milagros! Please visit www.milmilagros.org for more information, check us out on Facebook and milmilagros.Tumblr.com, and see for yourself that miracles are happening everyday in Guatemala.