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Review for Mayan Families, Slatersville, RI, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I became involved with Mayan Families several years ago after seeking ways that our family could "give back" to Guatemala. The youngest of our four children was adopted from GUA in 2005. A post on a GUA Adoptions message board led me to investigate Mayan Families further, and I'm sure glad I did. My initial connection was through a Yahoo Group called Mayan Families Connection, comprised of individuals (mostly from the US) who wished to band together to help MF. Soon after joining MFC, I offered to coordinate a shipment of donations to MF, and I have been coordinating 2-3 shipments each year for the past three years with the help of other MFC families who are local to the Boston area. In March, 2010, I was blessed with the opportunity to "follow the boxes" and visit Mayan Families in Panajachel, GUA. I get misty-eyed just thinking about my amazing week with Sharon, Patti, Dwight, and all of the wonderful staff members. While in Pana, I was able to visit with the students that I sponsor, I helped to assemble Easter baskets for Semana Santa, I assisted with a chicken distribution effort, and I visited many of the surrounding villages including Tierra Linda, San Jorge La Laguna, and El Barranco. The trip opened my eyes to the countless ways that MF helps the indigenous population. Not only do they provide organized programs like school sponsorship, micro-loans, onil stoves, and more, but they also tend to the urgent and specific needs of the people they serve... like the sad task of funding the purchase of a coffin. Their hearts open wide for the community and it is clear that they are beloved in return. I can hardly wait to return to Pana, and I will continue to support MF with shipments of donations and by spreading the word about this phenomenal organization.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

visiting my sponsored students and seeing all of the gifts that I had purchased for them. MF's commitment to photodocumenting gifts being received by sponsored students allows a wonderful bond to be forged between sponsored student and sponsor.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find an intern or a volunteer who would be willing to research grants, corporate donations, and large scale sponsorships.

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the sensitivity and the care that they show to all of the people they serve. The respect that they show is genuine. I also am grateful for the amount of communication that I receive through student updates and photographs (unlike most non-profits).

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

exceptional, kind, warm, and loving. Many members of the MF staff have had life challenges themselves, and I believe that this makes them especially sensitive to the needs of the community.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

build schools, community centers, safe housing for women, orphanages, and transitional living centers for teens. MF could install safe Onil stoves and water filters in every home and provide multi-vitamins and pre-natal vitamins to women and children.

Ways to make it better...

I truly would love to offer some constructive feedback, but the truth is that my visit far exceeded my expectations. On a 1-10 scale, it was 100. Perhaps I'll be able to look at it more objectively on a return trip, but my first experience was magical.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding, space, technology (web-site), and marketing.

One thing I'd also say is that...

everything that you feel as a long-distance supporter of Mayan Families truly comes to life when you visit. Donors should know that MF honors their contributions and stretches each dollar so that they can do the most good for the people they serve.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?


Role:  Donor & I coordinate shipments of donations to Mayan Families and I also visited MF in March, 2010.