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Mayan Families

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community Improvement & Capacity Building, Emergency Assistance, Human Services, International, International Development, Personal Social Services

Mission: As an accredited 501(c)(3) non-governmental organization, Mayan Families' mission is to facilitate sustainable development programs in impoverished communities throughout the Lake Atitlán region of rural Guatemala. Our objective is to stimulate long-term progress through school sponsorships, health initiatives, vocational training and microfinance, while providing emergency aid to those in critical need. Our organization operates on the principle that all people should have access to the basic necessities of life. We strive to accomplish our goals through working democratically with the communities we serve. Sign up for Our Newsletter and see how you can support us further: http://bit.ly/1beeo1p

Results: Mayan Families has supported 3,620 students in the past 10 years through our Student Sponsorship Program from the Preschool to University levels. We operate 7 Preschools year round that feed and educate malnourished children. Currently, our Education Program has 2,554 active students.Our Trade School has trained 364 people in different disciplines: 92 sewing students, 46 carpentry students, 221 computer students and 5 welding students. We have provided 344 Microloans to help impoverished Indigenous Mayan Women. 1,364 clients and families benefited from financial and nutritional support throughout 2014-15. This year we donated 425 Stoves, which reduce air pollution and help create a safer home environment. In 2015 alone, Mayan Families gave out 455 Water Filters, giving 3,315 indigenous families gained access to clean water. We have also held over 6 years of Clinics in the poorest communities in rural Guatemala. Our medical team has seen over 2,000 patients via mobile clinics in over 10 different communities, as well as over 1,000 patients in the Charlie Gomez Medical Clinic. We have served a daily meal to 85 elderly, reducing the rate of disease and cutting down malnutrition. Mayan Families have had three sets of 25 women and their children pass through Well Mother Well Baby and see statistically significant improvement in their lives We have had 65 kids in critical need receive food aid and education. Please go to our website for more information on our programs and impact: www.mayanfamilies.org

Target demographics: Indigenous Mayan Guatemalans living in extreme poverty

Direct beneficiaries per year: Thousands of Guatemalan families living in extreme poverty

Geographic areas served: Guatemala

Programs: Mayan Families programs: Student Sponsorship, Preschool Nutrition Centers, Tutoring Program, Reproductive Health & Family Planning, Family Assistance, Community Development, Natural Building Workshops, Medical Program, Elderly Care, Income Generating Programs, Microloans Programs, Animal Welfare, Women Health and Children Aid.

Community Stories

257 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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 :-))

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.

Previous Stories
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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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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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.

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.

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!

1

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 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!!!