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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

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I've had the pleasure of working with this excellent organization since it's inception. Often donors wonder about the true impact of their contribution. Not so with Miracles in Action where 100 percent of your donation goes directly to the cause. Overhead expenses are covered through special donations and handicraft sales. This is a rare, but highly effective business model. This charity creates substantive change in the communities it serves and I've been fortunate to see that firsthand. In an area faced with crushing poverty and limited opportunities, Miracles in Action is truly a blessing.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families is amazing! I just returned from Guatemala and am very inspired by their work. We visited a preschool in an impoverished community called Chukmuk where malnutrition is rampant. Mayan Families provides these kids, many of whom suffer from stunted growth, with a nutritious meal and snack each day - likely the only food they will eat. The children also learn to speak Spanish so they will be ready when they start school. This early intervention in both their physical and mental development offers these children a much better future.

I've had the good fortune to volunteer with Mayan Families for many years. They are transparent and open to all with a heart to help. Thank you, Mayan Families, for allowing me to be a part of your great work!

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.

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!

Previous Stories

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.

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.

Courtney32

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mayan Families gives volunteers the opportunity to experience first hand the diversity of the Lake Atitlan region, while working with an organization that strives to alleviate poverty, hunger, and elevate the quality of lives and animals together. It's a unique experience because while the organization is relatively small, its reach is wide and gives volunteers the opportunity to truly make an impact.

I spent a month with Mayan Families and each person I encountered was helpful and passionate about the work of the organization. Everyone is extremely generous and volunteering is an especially valuable opportunity for those interested in working or living abroad.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Mayan Families Foundation and Mayan clients have welcomed me twice, and throughout both
experiences I have learned so much more than I hoped to give. That said, Mayan Families was so attentive to me and all other volunteers during the two months I visited(summer '13). We were given opportunities to contribute our skills to work with MF clients under the guidance of MF staff. I worked with a midwife who was volunteering for several weeks. MF's professional staff provided support by organizing trips to each of the preschools it has founded for pregnancy health workshops with the mothers of the preschool children. The organization has developed such trust with clients, which was apparent in how safe the women felt to discuss intimate women's health issues. The genuine gratitude and kindness women expressed after pregnancy health workshops well surpassed what I've seen from MF's clients, which is so surprising because these are women who are already so grateful and kind. The last time I was with MF's, I worked in their many preschools. For the children, these preschools are safe havens for learning and play. I often consider how their early experience in MF's Preschool and Nutritional Centers will give them an incredible head-start to pursue their happiness as they get older. For the mother's of the children, the extra time they have while their kids are in childcare is much needed, well-deserved and can go to the many duties they have as mothers. I also had the privilege to work with Dr. de Pena in the MF’s clinic. Dr. de Pena's work is indispensable, with an impact that goes largely unrecognized and is far-reaching. I once remarked that he "could do it all," and I meant that. MF’s is fortunate to have someone serving their clients in their many health needs. He is also an asset as an educator willing to share his experience. His down-to-earth manner makes him relatable and popular among clients. MF's clients are truly in good hands while in Dr. de Pena's clinic.
To conclude, MF’s is committed to supporting volunteers and does it ALL for their clients, with passion you’d have to travel the whole world over to find. The founders are the most selfless people I have ever met. This organization transforms the lives of all fortunate to encounter Mayan Families. Thank you!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As founder of a humanitarian charity in the travel industry, I have seen a lot of NGO's in many different countries. Mayan Families has the most substantive programs and committed personnel I have ever seen. Not only is the location drop dead gorgeous on the banks of Lake Atitlan, the projects are varied to any traveler's interest, sponsorship's for "ancianos", children or schools, water programs, stoves, vocational training, micro-loans and even animal programs. What really impressed me was that the staff is so committed and structures visits so each participant can see the impact of their support, and meet the individuals involved. This is exactly what we are looking for with Airline Ambassadors and why we plan to work with Mayan Families to coordinate our Guatemala programs. I would recommend Mayan Families to anyone who wants to "Travel and Make a Difference"

Volunteer

Rating: 5

We were in country from July 1 thru 13th and worked with Mayan Families all of the areas that this organization gives the families of Guatemala hope for a better life. We look forward to working with them in the future.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

After treating Mayans for 5 years for their dental disease and organizing the dental missions with my wife and family ,we discovered Mayanfamiles.org.. What an amazing organization with such compassion and commitment to helping mankind. Sharon and Dwight have dedicated their lives to aiding the Mayan people of Guatemala.
Their aid in organizing our team of Dental and Ophthalmology healthcare providers was so helpful and professional making our trip our best yet. We will definitely partner with Mayanfamilies in all of our future trips to Guatemala.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The group with Mayan Families is amazing! I am amazed with Sharon and Dwight and their huge hearts and wisdom which continue making a difference in so many lives! It extends with Dr. Luis of Mayan Families as well as the dedicated drivers and translators and organizers like Sara, Delia and Michelle! My husband, 2 daughters and myself already miss being in Pana to work aside these people and many more. We visited homes, schools, fixed a roof, worked in the woodshop, and most importantly gained some relationships with many whose paths we crossed. An experience my family will never forget and we definitely are wanting to return!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered as part of a group from Nashville, TN in May, 2013. Our group visited schools, families in different villages, and did some construction in 2 different homes. I am most impressed by how much Mayan Famalies does in these communities. They educate, feed , shelter, heal, and even take care of animals roaming the town without homes. I feel they have the right formula for what they are doing in Guatemala. Their growth is proof that they are really committed to their work. After meeting the founders and learning about their work there, I am very excited about my personal sponsorship that I will begin immediately. I also look forward to returning to see the families and to volunteer in some capacity with Mayan Families.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Excellent organization with real heart! Mayan Families works with the most poverty stricken children and families. It is amazing the work they do with so little resources! The staff and other volunteers were remarkable! I am inspired and you will be too! Great organization!

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I volunteered as a translator for them and went on the weekly pre-school food drops, as well as translated student letters to their sponsors. The staff there is wonderful, and the medical clinic is a true gift to the community.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My family and I just returned from a trip to Guatemala highlighted by a day of service with Mayan Families. My men's group here in San Diego helps to financially sponsor three different boys through the organization - we were able to meet and visit with two of the three families as well as install a stove (that we purchased) for another needy family. The experience was amazing particularly for our teenage kids. The staff was particularly helpful and dedicated. Thanks for a day we will never forget!