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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Proyecto Itzaes

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education

Mission: The mission of Proyecto Itzaes is to provide educational resources for children and families in villages in Yucatán where traditional farming and fishing can no longer support families. We believe that the fundamental tools of literacy should be available to all. Our goal is to build sustainable community service programs that promote family-centered learning and respect Maya cultural heritage. Education will create new opportunities for children to fully realize their gifts in a changing world.

Results: Our programs are described in detail on our webpage and Facebook page. On our PI page https://www.proyectoitzaesusaonline.org/ you can read our newsletters that describe in detail our programs and successes!

Target demographics: Provide educational resources for poor, rural, Maya villages

Direct beneficiaries per year: 4000 Maya children and their families

Geographic areas served: Yucatán, Mexico

Programs: https://www.proyectoitzaesusaonline.org/ and FB http://www.facebook.com/pages/Proyecto-Itzaes/150081958284

Community Stories

44 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Jessica Cetz Dzib, José Fco P. Cutz and Executive Director Cindy Wilber did a fantastic job of organizing a science education day that my wife and I participated in. Our 5 year old daughter also took part. It was an incredible response by the community and for hours they came and learned from the small but effective hands in science exhibits and also shared parts of their beautiful Mayan culture. As we are Native Americans this part was especially touching. It was one of the most moving experiences I've had in 30 plus years of my professional career.

Diana M.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the great opportunity to know about Proyecto Itzaes, as a beloved friend invite me to participate at the Science Fair that the Executive Director Cindy Wilber, Jessica Cetz Dzib, José Francisco Cutz organized last January.

I am a Mexican Biologist, my research is focused on bats from Yucatan, therefore for me was really amazing to have the chance of shearing and most important learning all the knowledge of bats. For me it was really surprising to see how the kids are truly interested in learn more about these mammals and how concern they are about protect them. One of the things I want to share is that most of the adults where a little bit skeptical about the importance and benefits that bats provide to the ecosystems, actually adults believed that all of them were vampires. However, when I asked the kids about bats, all of them answered that they were good for humans because bats eat insects and fruits.

As a Mexican I am pretty grateful with Projecto Itzaes because they are making the difference, because they are helping to our kids to be interested in education and science, I saw really smart kids, truly interested in learning, making questions and wanting to know even more, I saw kids without fear of asking and interacting with the scientists despite the language.
In a country where the support for education is scarce and the poverty high, projects like this one make a big difference.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first got a chance to work with Proyecto Itzaes about 10 years ago when the organization was working at providing internet access to local villages. Since then, I’ve returned to the Yucatan on a number of occasions and witnessed the progress PI has made with the communities it serves. I’ve been amazed that a relatively small non-profit has withstood the test of time and continues to grow and thrive while bringing great educational opportunities to underserved people. It has also been gratifying to watch young kids I interacted with a decade ago leveraging the opportunities PI provided into higher education, careers, and great personal achievements!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have known about the wonderful work done by Proyecto Itzaes (PI) since 2010 when I was studying my PhD in Education at Stanford University. After all these years following the work PI does, I was finally able to travel with them to the Yucatán peninsula in January of this year (2017) to experience first hand the service they do to the Mayan communities. As part of my trip, volunteers from different universities and organizations put together a science fair open to all the Mayan communities served by PI. I cannot put into words the wonderful opportunity I had being part of this science fair! It was clear to all of us how much impact PI has had on the education of Mayan children and their communities. I hope to travel with PI in the future to help in their work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Anyone who has worked with Proyecto Itzaes has seen the tangible and positive effects that the organization is making in small communities on the Yucatán. I worked with PI at a community science fair in the village of Ixil, and was equally impressed by the dedication of the teachers and the enthusiasm of the local community. The organization brings much needed educational resources to underserved areas, and opens up incredible opportunities for its students. I can't speak highly enough of the work that Proyecto Itzaes does, and have seen firsthand that all donations are put directly to use for the betterment of local communities. If providing opportunity through education is something you care about, you can't go wrong with a contribution to Proyecto Itzaes.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a fantastic non-profit and the founder, board members, and volunteers are incredibly compassionate and hardworking. I have been able to travel to Yucatan with Proyecto Itzaes and witness first-hand the impact that this organization has on the community and on education. I could not give a higher recommendation!

1 jesusk

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Me gusta mucho el Proyecto Itzaes porque brinda espacios de aprendizajes para niños y jóvenes de una forma divertida y dinámica, para que los niños se sientan motivados a aprender; algo que igual me gusta es aprenden acerca de la cultura, el doporte, educacion y manualidades.
Hoy en día llevo más de 5 años estando en el Proyecto Itzaes, me he quedado tanto tiempo y seguiré, porque pienso que este es un gran proyecto que beneficia a los niños y jóvenes de las comunidades a través de la creación de los espacio anteriormente mencionados.

#YoSoyProyectoItzaes

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

El proyecto itzaes ha ayudado en el aprendizaje y creatividad de niños y jóvenes, desde leer un libro de manera personal o leerlo en grupo hasta le realización de diversas actividades recreativas, por eso le agradezco al proyecto itzaes por todo los beneficios que le ha brindado a la comunidad de ixil. por otra parte desde que llego el proyecto itzaes a mi vida y el poder ser uno de los voluntarios ha hecho cambiar mi vida y verlo desde otra perspectiva, por eso nunca me canso de agradecerle a esta fundación por todo lo que hace a lo largo de estos años. GRACIAS PROYECTO ITZAES!!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Proyecto Itzaes keeps doing an amazing job towards education of unprivileged children in Yucatan. It has shown resilience to keep working in difficult areas and where there are few opportunities and it really makes a difference on the kids that can be reached.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our Los Altos Rotary club partnered with Palo Alto RC and Mexican Nuevas Generaciones Rotary in Merida providing and completing a recent $32,000 grant to Proyecto Itzaes which provided notebook computers, flash drive memory sticks, educational software, outdoor shade providing palapas, solar cooking ovens, efficient biomass briquette fueled rocket stoves and Spanish language STEM instruction software on the use of the solar cooking and biomass fueled efficient rocket stoves to use instead of open fire ovens or expensive propane cooking. Our team of Rotarians from Los Altos, Mountain View and Merida visited Proyecto Itzaes village centers to deliver, assemble and demonstrate these devices... which were warmly received by these Mayan village families. This grant helped improved computer literacy, sustainable STEM related instruction, and demonstrated how these devices can reduce the need to chop wood fuel from surrounding forest or buy expensive propane cooking. An article which featured this Proyecto Itzaes Project appeared last week in USA Today's Caribbean-Mexico edition. Proyecto Itzaes does outstanding work in improving the quality of life for these poorer rural villagers in Yucatan

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I went down to the Yucatan to view the non-profit in action and was very impressed. The children are benefitting greatly from the extra computer and book exposure at the centers and the best part is that they are fully supported by their parents who are also leaning from their kids. I plan on going again in the near future to continue to help them as they work on a "shoe-string" budget to do great things.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

While sitting in on an English language course taught by Proyecto Itzaes I was thrilled to see students at several different levels of skill engaged and learning about Sequioa Kings Canyon National Park in California as part of a vocabulary lesson. Proyecto Itzaes not only organizes classes (and yard sale fundraisers and other community events) in villages throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, it also provides scholarships tailored to the specific needs of the community. For example, students from villages surrounding the city of Merida may not be able to afford to attend college classes even if they have received a full ride scholarship, because the scholarships typically do not cover the cost of daily transport to and from the city, which can be prohibitive. Proyecto Itzaes recognized this need and provides supplementary funding for some of these students so they can continue their education.

I am excited to see Proyecto Itzaes continue its participation in this vibrant community in the years ahead.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Me encanta Proyecto Itzaes porque ofrece a los niños un espacio DIFERENTE en donde pueden aprender y divertirse al mismo tiempo, tienen contacto con los libros, la tecnología, la ciencia y aprenden sobre el cuidado del medio ambiente :)

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the pleasure of visiting the PI community centers on numerous trips to the Yucatan. Over the past decade PI has been able to expand its reach to additional villages and its programming to include things like ecology and computer skill. I have seen PI provide a vehicle for community members to take on leadership roles to facilitate PI programming in their community and its very inspiring.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Me gusta Proyecto Itzaes porque a los niños les gusta aprender y es una satisfacción para nosotros. #ProyectoItzaesPorSiempre

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Me gusta el Proyecto Itzaes porque es una manera de convivir con los niños y enseñarles un poco de lo que sabemos. (:

2 Felicia11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I like so many things about Proyecto Itzaes... Where do I begin? Do I begin with the fact that the Director and Founder, Cindy Wilber gives her own sweat and resources to this Proyecto on a regular basis--and has for decades? Do I talk about how Proyecto Itzaes brings so many educational and other resources to these local towns, towns with very high poverty rates. Proyecto Itzaes brings educational programs to local kids in three (I think four now) Yucatec Maya towns. PI inspires community members with topics that range from Maya Math to solar ovens to ecology to local herbs to ecology classes. What don't they offer to the local communities?! They even offer local scholarships to several students every year. They give the $100 that makes the difference between these kids attending high school--and even college. Proyecto Itzaes helps to break the cycle of poverty in these local towns--and it promotes ecological sustainability. Last thing I know Proyecto Itzaes had established three (may be four now) sites. One is in the birth place of Jose Tec Poot--a local Yucatec Maya anthropologist. I had the opportunity to volunteer to help at a couple of these sites. It filled my heart with joy to see these local kids enjoying this local resource--playing, creating, learning in an excited manner at these three (4) sites. Another unique quality of this Proyecto is that they recruit local leaders and scholarship recipients to lead and participate in teaching and offering classes. Local leaders like, Vero, lead all kinds of activities that are culturally responsive to the needs of the community. Also, they train local scholarship recipients to teach the younger kids math, science, writing, and computer skills.

If you are wondering where to donate this year or where to volunteer, do it at Proyecto Itzaes. The Director/Founder, Cindy Wilber and many other volunteers give so much of their time and their own resources to the Proyecto, because the projects inspired everyone to do that--seeing the kids' faces so happy, seeing young men and women graduating college... It is not just the multitude of individuals supporting PI, there are big, generous donors as well--like individuals and the Rotary among others. So many of the people who have volunteered are volunteers for life, because when you become involved in Proyecto Itzaes, you make new friends for life.

Previous Stories
3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am a Doctoral candidate in math education at Stanford University specializing in teacher education of linguistic and ethnic/racial minority students, and I have been a mathematics teacher for 22 years. What I like most about Proyecto Itzaes is that our donations translate into real differences for people at both the everyday and big-life levels. For example, the summer science projects brings engaging enrichment activities to children in these Yucatec Maya communities, and not only does this put smiles on their little faces, but it also lays the groundwork for their lifetime love affair with education. I have seen photos of children buried amidst mountains of legos, and they are building, creating, and flourishing. I have seen pics of children making games and activites, armed with only their imaginations and cardboard. I met a 22 year-old woman who was ushered through their programs since elementary school, who is now teaching at Proyecto Itzaes and is finishing her degree in math. She will be helping me with my research project in the Yucatan next year, and we are hoping that she goes to Stanford in the future to study math education to bring back her expertise to her local community. When you donate to Proyecto Itzaes, you are not just teaching a child for a day or a week or a school year, you are teaching a kid to love to learn for a lifetime.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Teaching English at Proyecto Itzaes has given me an opportunity to closely observe the inner workings and results of this remarkable organization. The method of "learning in order to teach" is an extremley effective way to multiply the impact of the resources Proyecto Itzaes provides to its constituent communities. Students arrive in my class eager to learn, prepared to participate, and quick to help their fellow students if a question arises. When class is over many of them head into other rooms of the building to tutor other children or engage their peers in educational games or sports. Young people who have been participating in Proyecto Itzaes for many years have realistically high hopes for a bright future and demonstrate the spirit of the organization by investing their own time and knowledge back into the education of other children with great generosity and patience. The volunteer parents, grandparents, and community members who run the day to day operations of Proyecto Itzaes in each village pour a great deal of love, creativity, and energy into ensuring that every child feels welcome and inspired and entire families are engaged and learning.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Proyecto Itzaes is a wonderful, life-changing program. I was fortunate enough to experience first-hand that PI changes lives.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

El proyecto para mí ha representado parte importante porque e participa en el desde los diez años primero como alumno donde fui aprendiendo conocimientos básico de computo que me ayudaron después de un tiempo ya pude participar como asesor auxiliar, después de un tiempo me hice responsable con un grupo en el siempre procuraba y aun lo sigo haciendo, tener un acercamiento con los niños como un amigo más que como un maestro o autoridad. Sin duda estando como alumno, auxiliar, y durante estos años como asesor, tomado experiencias buenas y malas que mucho me han ayudado en mi personalidad, y madurez como persona.
Es un gusto el colaborar con este lugar se me hace muy satisfactorio mirar a los niños y que siempre me saluden aun estando fuera de nuestro horario, en ocasiones los niños no se han querido ir del local porque les gusta mucho estar hay trabajando con el material, y eso hace darme cuenta que el proyecto Itzaes forma parte de mí, de mi familia, de los niños, de los asesores y de la comunidad de Ixil.
Ya estando en mi carrera universitaria el proyecto sigue siendo parte realmente importante pues cuento con el apoyo económico mensual lo que ayuda demasiado a continuar con mi educación profesional. Todos los apoyos que he recibido se los agradezco a ti Cindy a Simón y al cuerpo directivo del proyecto Itzaes, por estar al pendiente de mí y de mi familia

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Mi nombre es Mariza Andrea Canto Ku y conoci el proyecto itzaes cuando mi mama, me llevaba a las clases, yo en ese entonces tenia alrededor de 6 o 7 años, me gustaba mucho ir pues interactuaba con otros niños de mi edad.

Cuando mi mama se convierte en directora del proyecto itzaes yo paso a ser asesora, empese desde los 9 años. Actualmente tengo 14. Me gusta ayudar a los niños en las manualidades y en todas las actividades que se desarollan dentro del mismo. El proyecto me ha dejado muchas cosas buenas, y la verdad estoy muy agradesida con el proyecto itzaes.

Estudio el tercer grado de secundaria, y como siempre, estudiar lleva gatos consigo, el pasaje, las gastadas, los uniformes, los útiles escolares. Debido a esto la ecoomia de mi familia se veía afectada, puesto que se generaba un gasto extra, pero aun asi mis papas hacían todo lo posible para que nunca faltara a la escuela y pudiera tener un futuro mejor, gracias a la beca que hoy en dia recibo de parte del proyecto itzaes, me beneficia mucho, puesto que ya no hay que sacar mucho dinero de la economía familiar, con esa beca, puedo comprar mis útiles escolares y todas las cosas que yo necesite.

Quiero agradecer a todas esas personas que donan sin esperar algo cambio, ellos son angeles en la tierra, puesto que ayudan a mas personas sin esperar algo a cambio,

gracias a todas esas personas que donan y que nos ayudan que chicas y chicos como yo puedan terminar sus estudios.

Invito a otras personas que se unan a esta noble causa que es de gran ayuda.

GRACIAS PROYECTO IITZAES Y QUE DIOS LOS BENDIGA

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5


Mi nombre es Joany Misael Canul Ku, soy asesor del proyecto itzaes de Chicxulub Pueblo.
Hoy quisiera compartirles como el proyecto itzaes cambio mi vida y la de mi familia.
Hace un año atrás, mi papa sufrió un accidente que lo tuvo tres meses y medio en el hospital debido a esto, la situación económica se vio afectada.
Entonces la encargada del proyecto itzaes, me dijo que podía solicitar una beca a la fundación del proyecto itzaes y asi lo hice. Gracias a Dios salió autorizada la beca con la cual se han solventado parte de los gastos académicos y mis padres están más tranquilos, ya que podre continuar con mis estudios. Gracias a ustedes que apoyan al proyecto itzaes con sus donativos porque así como yo, muchos jóvenes se han ayudado para así continuar don sus estudios. Gracias a todos y cada uno de ustedes, que hacen posible que los sueños de padres e hijos se hagan realidad de ver a sus hijos con la ayuda de ustedes puedan forjarse un mejor futuro. Espero que otras personas se puedan sumar a esta noble causa, ya que como son de mucha ayuda. Si no fuera por el apoyo de ustedes creo que ahora no estaría en la escuela por falta de recursos. Gracias proyecto itzaes por cambiar mi vida y la de mi familia.