This is an extraordinary non-profit that is changing both lives and communities. I had the privilege of seeing it in action this past February, when we visited four of its school sites and witnessed first-hand the impact Mil Milagros is having on improving the nutrition and hygiene of impoverished children in rural Guatemalan communities. What Mil Milagros and its leaders understand so well is that long-term change can only be effectuated by involving parents, grandparents and the whole community in efforts to improve the quality of life for children. The program takes great care to engage mothers and caregivers not only as participants in health programs, but also as potential leaders of wellness efforts in their own homes and communities. As an Executive Director of a non-profit in Washington, DC, I am very familiar with the best practices that allow a lean organization to have a major impact in its field--and Mil Milagros exemplifies everything that good non-profits should be doing. Since spending time with Mil Milagros Executive Director Margaret Blood and her staff in Guatemala, I have become an active supporter as well as an avid fan of the remarkable work they are doing.
I have just gotten back from my 4th trip to see the programs. Everything that is done at the schools is amazing it not only benefits the children at the schools but beyond. It touches the lives of everyone in the village in which the schools are located. Mil Milagros not only changes the lives of the kids when they are at school and in the programs but long after they graduate.
Our family has been involved with Mil Milagros for 3 years, as donors and as visitors to Guatemala. The miracle of this tiny but mighty organization is the way they they work directly with each village. They teach families about health, they involve families with the school lunch programs, and they help people help themselves.
Ultimately, this is how you truly change lives. Mil Milagros should stand as an example to all non-profits in terms of helping to effect permanent change in a poverty-stricken country. They have been so successful that they have a long waiting list of schools and communities in need of their help.
Here in the US, it's easy to forget how fortunate we are. Meeting Margaret, and learning about this incredible organization has been a life-changing experience for me. She is truly an inspiration to every person who wants to make a difference in the world.
My daughter and I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Solola with Mil Milagros last week! It was a life changing experience which has renewed my faith in the work of non profit organizations. The passion and dedication of the founder, Margaret Blood, along with her small and talented staff in Guatemala are beyond compare. Training mothers and grandmothers to be leaders in their communities, 700 to date, positively impacts the long term mission to eliminate childhood malnutrition and improve the health and education of the children in rural areas where malnutrition is estimated to be 70%. Through partnership with rural schools and the efforts of the mother/grandmother volunteers, Mil Milagros is able to provide 1300 nutritious meals every day!! What an accomplishment! And many more schools are on the waiting list! Our family is committed to providing a monthly gift to Mil Milagros to support the life sustaining work that is done on behalf of these beautiful children. Muchas gracias Mil Milagros!
Life changing and awe inspiring! It was our PLEASURE and HONOR to spend time in Guatemala with Margaret, Carolyn and Lauren weeks ago. We saw first hand how their devotion, love and never ending support gives children the opportunity to flourish, and 'just be a kid' with food and the simple task of brushing their teeth. We made the journey to Guatemala with our son, who was adopted from Guatemala 15.5 years ago, and this was our first trip back - he is now 16. We played with the kids, fed them lunch and were treated like royalty when we visited the schools. The folks that should be treated like royalty are the Mil Milagros staff - they are the angels and heroes of this organization. Our lives have been changed forever, and we look forward to going to Guatemala again, and will continue to support Mil Milagros in any way that we can. Thank you for an incredible few days, and life time memories. Mil Milagros rocks!!!!!
The Manis Goldberg Family
Miracles. We spent a few days last week visiting a few of the communities that are being helped by Mil Milagros. We came home with our hearts filled with love and gratitude, and with a renewed faith in humanity. (no small feat in this election-year in the US)
We have been donors to Mil Milagros for the past two years, and we had donated money to help build a kitchen in one of the schools so that the children could have one hot meal a day. We visited that school, and saw the kitchen in use, cooking healthy vegetables for over 200 children on a wood-burning brick stove. The children lined up, chatting and smiling, and ever-so-happy to be in line for a hot meal. It was so very different from any school lunch line I have ever seen.
We also have a personal connection to Guatemala, as our 2 teens were adopted from Guatemala as infants. Seeing the work that Mil Milagros does every day, meeting the children and families they help, and seeing the dire needs of these communities was truly life-changing. We have so much we can give. They have so little, and are so grateful for everything they're given.
We are determined to find ways to help Mil Milagros continue to grow and give hope to these wonderful children and their families.
Our family, which includes a child adopted from Guatemala, has been working with, supporting, and serving on the board of Mil Milagros for years. We are consistently impressed, delighted, and moved by the extraordinary success of the "teach and feed" approach developed and applied by Mil Milagros in villages around Lake Atitlan. Their operation is lean, and wastes not a penny of donors dollars on unnecessary expenses. All funds go directly into supporting the important work of preventing malnutrition while educating children in ways that enable them to improve their future. Even the way Mil Milagros structures its fund-raisers is indicative of their approach; rather than offering donated "weekends in the islands" or other items for donors to bid on, their auctions offer up needed services (kitchen construction, furnishing kitchens with utensils,building sanitary facilities, etc) to bidders. There is no way to overstate the dedication, professionalism, and accomplishments of the Mil Milagros team.
I have supported many non profits over the years, but rarely one where every dollar has had so much impact on so many. With a very low overhead, Mil Milagros has allowed young children an opportunity to develop intellectually and physically as well. THey have eliminated absenteeism at school by providing nutritional lunches to children who were badly undernourished and whose growth had been stunted by extreme poverty. Many of these children of Mayan families who've been discriminated against for centuries will now reach their full potential.
In addition all of the children have been introduced to pure drinking water and the habits of hygiene e.g. they have been provided with toothbrushes for the first time and many have been seen by volunteer doctors and dentists. Over 500 mothers of the children have been taught to shop for healthy food and how to prepare it.
Mil Milagros has also been responsible for engaging the interest of a Dutch nonprofit who built houses for 25 families whose village had been destroyed by a mudslide several years ago . In addition they built a new school a well.
The lives of thousands of children over the last 5 years have benefitted from Margaret Blood and the organization, Mil Milagros, A Thousand Miracles. And all for the unbelievable sum of 50cents a day.
A donor's dream
I have been both a donor and volunteer with Mil Milagros. I have helped with the library project, reading tests, and health/hygiene activities such as weighing and measuring children. As a Guatemalan, I wish resources, training, and support such as that provided by Mil Milagros had been available for my generation because it makes such a huge impact on the lives of these children and their families. Lives are being transformed by the work of this organization!
Mil Milagros is doing critical work to support the children and families in Guatemala. It has been amazing to see the organization strategically grow and have greater impact without losing its laser focus on results. I have been inspired to hear about all the programs and services that are making a difference - especially the work with the moms. I am proud to support Mil Milagros.
As the adoptive parents of a child born in Guatemala, my husband and I had been looking for a meaningful way to "give back" and improve life for all children in that country. When we became involved in Mil Milagros, we had no idea we would find an organization that would also change our lives. From the start, we were impressed with founder Margaret Blood's vision, commitment and passion for improving health, hygiene and educational outcomes for the children of Guatemala. While I have served as a volunteer, my husband serves on the Board, and we have devoted a significant share of our charitable giving to Mil Milagros. We have just returned from our first trip with our daughter to Guatemala and could not be more impressed or inspired by the work that Margaret and her staff are doing in the beautiful but achingly poor Mayan Highlands. We visited all of the schools, met with mother leaders, observed classes, meal preparation and cultural presentations. Best of all were the warm welcomes, smiles and expressions of deep gratitude and appreciation from the children, parents and teachers. Outcomes have improved dramatically in the communities served by Mil Milagros, but there are so many more in dire need of our program and support (as I write, there is a waiting list of some 14 other schools). I cannot recommend this organization highly enough. Please consider lending your support to Mil Milagros!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 !!
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!