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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

25 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.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Was fortunate enough to see PI in action in Mexico. Impressed at how far they can make their resources go. Very well-run org doing great work!

3

Donor

Rating: 5

They do the kinds of enrichment activities with their students that I would choose to do to enrich my son's educational experience as a parent. They involve the parents and the older kids to help out with the younger students learning experiences. It is a program I would want for my children or grandchildren.

I am an avid supporter.

1 walt1

Donor

Rating: 5

As chair of International Service for the Rotary club of Palo Alto, I have arranged for our club to do several projects with Proyecto Itzaes (PI), including hands-on visits to the villages it serves. It is doing a marvelous job of giving the young Maya children of those villages the opportunity and skills to rise above their traditional occupations o fishing and subsistence farming. Some of the students have gone on to university and into prestigious jobs, breaking what has been a class barrier and setting an example for others to follow.

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The mission of Proyecto Itzaes (PI) is to help impoverished and neglected Maya families in the Yucatán with literacy, health, and a stronger economy. I’m very familiar with it, because as chair of International Service for the Rotary Club of Palo Alto, I have worked to have our club make several grants to PI and also traveled there three times to do hands-on work. When PI was founded, most people in the affected villages were illiterate fishermen or subsistence farmers. With our help, PI equipped an empty local library in one village with books and furniture and offered after-school classes on computer skills. The result was absolutely transforming: Children lined up every day with their book bags, and families began reading to each other. PI gave college scholarships to promising students, who returned with higher skills to teach others, following the motto of “Learning in order to Teach.” PI has since extended its program to five other villages, expanded its offerings to include subjects such as nutrition (to avoid Diabetes) and organic agriculture, and set up a successful farmers market. It would be hard to imagine a program with greater positive impact on people’s lives.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I stumbled onto this Nonprofit when trying to follow up on some students who were listed with another charity. This is a very thoughtfully put together program that promotes local and very smart child development to prepare the children to make a successful transition to a global economy while thriving within their their local culture. It is respectful towards and and encouraging of the local cultural strengths.

As a donor, I have particularly enjoyed the warm personal welcome and encouragement I have felt from this organization. I feel I am treated as a friend and not just a source of funding. So this is one of my favorite charities.

2 Deana F.

Donor

Rating: 5

Only a very few non-profits get my attention and my donation. Proyecto Itzaes is one and my most favorite. I strongly believe in their mission whereby the goal is to provide education resources and health information to thousands of Mayan children and families on the Yucatan peninsula. Everyone should support this program because it does nothing but good for all participants.

1 Bill Gomez

Donor

Rating: 5

Proyecto Itzaes is an excellent example of how to be a high impact non profit. It is managed by a highly competent people with a passion for the organization's mission. As a financial supporter who has personally observed PI's activities, I can say that its work is having a big impact on local Yucatan communities. Financial resources are used very efficiently and are well focused on the organizations mission. It is easy for me to urge others to support PI as well. Bill Gomez

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

I have followed Proyecto Itzaes activities closely for many years and know Cindy Wilber very well. Cindy's energy, values, and devotion to helping others are a model for non profit leadership. She understands the Yucatan community and its needs extremely well. Proyecto Itzaes services are very well targeted and cost effective in servicing the community. My wife adn I are very enthusiastic donors.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Many places on this planet could benefit from using Proyecto Itzaes as a model. The seed for this project, planted by Cindy Wilbur in 1995, has grown and blossomed into a flower of literacy, education and community involvement that should travel well beyond the little Mayan village in the Yucatan Peninsula. Watching the progress on the PI Facebook page, and learning that once-illiterate children have been helped by PI to graduate from college and then come back to help others to do so tells me that the seed Cindy planted is bearing abundant fruit. Definitely a worthwhile organization.

Donor

Rating: 5

Proyecto Itzaes provides education resources, conservation of cultural heritage, and health information for thousands of children and families living in the small coastal Mayan villages of the Yucatan. I have been a donor and friend of PI since 2004. They provide access to books, essential school and learning supplies, 21st Century technology education, life skills and generational literacy programs and services producing amazing results. Many of the youth participating in the Proyecto Itzaes program have gone on to become graduates of the University of Merida, a testament to the quality of this extraordinary program! Many graduates have returned to their villages to start careers and businesses and also to volunteer at PI "to give back, pay it forward, and help the next generation of children and improve the quality life of the village." I know every dollar I commit to Proyecto Itzaes benefits and helps to improve the quality of life for children and will improve opportunities for their future.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

Proyecto Itzaes provides resources for thousands of children and families living in the small coastal villages of the Yucatan. PI has been providing access to books, essential school and learning supplies, computer education, life skills and generational literacy programs and services producing amazing results. Many of the children participating in the Proyecto Itzaes program have gone on to become graduates of the University of Merida, a testament to the quality of this extraordinary program! Many of the graduates have returned to their villages starting successful careers and businesses and also volunteer at PI "to give back and help the next generation of children and improve the quality life of the village." I know every dollar I commit to PI benefits and helps to improve the quality of life for children and will improve opportunities for their future.

Donor

Rating: 5

PI is an amazing organization with a devoted staff that is committed to improving the lives of Maya families in Yucatan. Please support generously!

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Projecto Itzaes is an amazing organization that is performing critical work to empower the Mayan community in Yucatan, Mexico. Providing both educational and health resources, the staff of PI works directly with the community to listen and comprehend the needs of a people that live on less than $1 a day. Respecting their cultural heritage, PI also provides the educational materials for the Mayan community to connect with the environment. PI has also coordinated trips so that the young children can visit the famous Mayan ruins in Yucatan and have the opportunity to get a glimpse into the history of their culture, which they otherwise would not be able to do given the high price of tourism. Thanks to PI, many of the families and young children are learning the value of eating healthy rather than spending the little money they make on cheap processed foods and drinks that have had a negative impact in the health of their community. Furthermore, with the resources and help of PI, some of the young people have gotten themselves into college and are using their education to help back home! It’s truly admiring the work that founder, Cindy Wilber, and Simon Clopton have done in this humble community. Donations to PI are more than just donations, they are an investment in the human capital of this indigenous community that has been undermined by society and the Mexican government for so long. PI is the organization to trust and believe in when it comes to using all the funding for the Mayan people it serves.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am very pleased to be able to donate to Proyecto Itzaes. I had been looking for a nonprofit to donate to that was not too large so that I could better see the impact of my contributions. I have truly found that in Proyecto Itzaes. I have the utmost confidence in Cindy Wilber regarding her vision of this program and its effect on the people who have benefited from it. I have felt very appreciated by Cindy and I look forward to each payday when I donate. I am very excited for the opportunities that Proyecto Itzaes will provide for its recipients in the future.

Donor

Rating: 5

Proyecto Itzaes is an inspiring charity organization that directly helps people in Yucatan where their own industries of fishing and farming can no longer sustain them. The good work this group has improved literacy for children and their families because it respects Mayan heritage and does not impose an outside culture on the people. The programs builds a better future for those in the Yucatan villages by helping them find new opportunities. We can all help out in some way. My husband and I make an annual donation to P.I., and were glad to give items for a benefit yard sale in Palo Alto. Proyecto gives hope, not just to those in the Yucatan but to us in the U.S. as our support makes a difference, and we are part of the global village.

Donor

Rating: 5

As others have said, PI is an extremely effective organization, but perhaps more important, they are creative. The organization fosters a fruitful interaction among efforts to improve literacy, train learners to teach others, promote thoughtful health behaviors, protect ecosystems, and acknowledge the value of local culture while introducing young people to global ideas. Such efforts are normally kept separate, but PI brings them together in a way that feels organic and sustainable. Even as a donor, I am made to feel like an essential part of the effort and not just a source of cash. PI is on my list of regular donations, but for holidays and special occasions I also donate on behalf of others because I feel so strongly about its mission.

Donor

Rating: 5

Proyecto Itzaes is an incredible organization that makes so much out of its resources. Because of its hard working and creative team and its strong local support, PI makes the most out of every donation.

Previous Stories

Donor

Rating: 5

Proyecto Itzaes works at the grass roots to build bright futures through partnership. PI invests where it means the most: with children and with community. This organization will continue to serve the communities of Yucatan with empathy and creativity for a long time to come!

Donor

Rating: 5

PI is doing great things to highlight the science of ecology in Mayan Villages as well as promoting education. The focus on science and inclusion of scientists and graduate students into the programming is an excellent complement to literacy and education overall. PI is definitely making a difference in the communities it serves.

Donor

Rating: 5

Since its founding PI has been devoted to improving the education of the children and families in small villages in Yucatan. This effort has broad impact on the real needs of the people being served. The principles leading the efforts of PI are strongly allied with the area and have first-name knowledge of those they've been helping. Through a strong alliance with Rotary International, as well as a committed and active board, there is also frequent hands-on involvement with the reality of life in these villages. The mission and vision of this agency have been carefully considered, heart-felt, and durable--they are strong statements of human values and commitment that if only expanded globally could make for a better world...and is doing so now, daily, in Yucatan.

Donor

Rating: 5

Cindy Wilbur and Proyecto Itzaes are doing an important and amazing job bring books to children in Mayan villiages. By bringing books to the children PI is helping lifelong habits of reading and learning that will help themselves, their villages and humanity in general. I feel that every dollar I contribute gets maximum value. Well Done to all. EDH

Donor

Rating: 5

I have known Cindy, Proyecto Itzaes' founder and director, since well before she hatched this amazing endeavor in the Yucatan. She was an educator, and an author of a Spanish-English dictionary of medical terms, just two indicators of how she sought, early on, to enhance the lives of families--especially children, and enrich their initial experiences in life. Those instincts mushroomed when PI was born. The simple act of giving each child in the program a book of their own sparked a cascade of other good works, and phenomenal achievements from the children themselves. Also benefitting are the volunteers from outside Mexico, including teens from the US who have had the life-changing experience of serving clients and helping to run programs on site. This organization is a model of how to make a positive impact in a place of relative global isolation. We know that increased education and opportunity, anywhere in the world, benefits us all. Proyecto Itzaes actually makes it happen.

Donor

Rating: 5

I know Cindy personally and when she started this I supported her because it sounded like a worthwhile program.
I am so happy that I was in from the beginning. It has blossomed into an incredible organization which keeps expanding its programs. It has made a major impact on so many lives. I love hearing that some of these children are now finishing high school and college and giving back to their communites. Also, the fact the the families are part of it brings it altogether.
Dania

Donor

Rating: 5

I am chair of International Service for the Rotary Club of Palo Alto. We have been so impressed with the work of Proyecto Itzaes in poor Maya villages in the Yucatán that we have done several projects with them. Before PI, the principal occupations in the villages were fishing and subsistence farming. PI introduced books, computers, better nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and even a local farmers market to attract customers from Mérida, saving farmers transportation costs. Now students are attending university and entering new occupations, but still returning to live in their villages and volunteer to teach. We can't think of a more effective program.

Donor

Rating: 5

PI is one of the most outstanding programs in the world of nonprofits for public service due to the beneficial influence it has on Yucatán communities. Because it teaches a philosophy of self-perpetuating, self-sustaining education, it grants underdeveloped communities empowerment to create change for the benefit of everyone. PI works holistically to tackle problems centered around nutrition and health, environmental and ecological degradation, lack of sustainability, and general poverty. It emboldens individuals to rise up and pursue their dreams, and most importantly, to give back to the community. I met a PI student, Javi (Javier), when he came up to visit Stanford University to give a talk about the program. Javi is studying in college in México supported by PI and by his community. He is the first to go to college from his home and is an exceptional individual who is a stellar product of PI's success. He has the chance to pursue higher education because of PI's efforts. Talking to Javi personally I can sense how passionate he is about PI. In light of current world trends regarding environmental desecration and loss of traditional ecological knowledge (which are fields I work in) I am particularly conscious of the importance of PI's work and think what they are doing is a model system of utmost importance to the world currently.