We consider ourselves very lucky to be where we are, doing something that we love so much and, in the process, making our clients happy by preserving precious memories for a lifetime. Our approach to life is generally to stay humble and be grateful for what you have when you have it. We acknowledge the large amount of privilege that we benefit from everyday, and we have been blessed with loving families, years of education and resources to reach where we are now. A few years ago we received some great advice from a good friend here on Lake Atitlan, which was “don’t wait until you have too much to give back.” We have truly taken this to heart and have tried to take steps to ensure that we are using our skills and time as a force for good in the world.
That’s why we have recently decided to give our clients the option to donate 3% of what they pay us to charities that work in Guatemala. We have personal and professional connections with each of these organizations, and we are excited to be contributing in our own way to this country that has given us so much. Below you can find a brief excerpt about the amazing work done by each organization, and we encourage you to visit their websites and explore some of the awesome things that they are doing.
Situated in a six-acre natural forest in the Guatemala Highlands, overlooking the world-renowned Lake Atitlan, thousands of vulnerable, Guatemalan children throughout western Guatemalan attend Niños del Lago’s (4-year) Journey to the Forest program, which is based on Mindfulness. At this yearly week of camp, the children develop positive attitudes, self-confidence, respect for all forms of life, and learn to be mindful of their thoughts, words and deeds.
Graduates of our four-year program may apply to receive Niños del Lago scholarship to attend secondary, high school and university.
Since 1998 Amigos de Santa Cruz has been helping to break the generational cycle of poverty in the indigenous communities of Santa Cruz la Laguna, located on and above the shores of Lake Atitlan in the central highlands of Guatemala. Our efforts and commitment focus on long-term generational change. Our goal is to give the next generation of Santa Cruz hope for a better life and access to the skills needed to attain it. We focus on two major areas, education and economic empowerment. Our programs include model preschool classrooms, secondary and university scholarships, youth leadership and sex education, women’s empowerment and healthy families, and vocational training. We are helping to make a difference by changing the world one community at a time, one generation at a time.
Ayuda is a grassroots animal welfare group located at Lake Atitlan. We believe in the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. With this in mind, Ayuda provides spay/neuter packages to roaming community dogs and cats as well as those living in impoverished homes. Each veterinary package includes surgery, combo vaccination(s), de-worming, and a flea/tick treatment. Through strong public/private partnerships, Ayuda is able to hold its administrative overhead to less than 4% of our overall operating expenses. Your donations truly go to animal care!
The Lake Atitlán Environmental Interests Group is involved in a range of efforts to save the lake. We support initiatives by different local groups and we bring people together – farmers, fishermen, environmentalists, community leaders, teachers, business owners, and volunteers from around the lake and beyond. We aim to be catalysts for collaboration, action, and environmental change.
Founded in 2001, WINGS Guatemala is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides quality reproductive health education and services to underserved, primarily rural Guatemalan youth, women and men. We take a holistic approach to reproductive health that recognizes the diverse barriers to exercising rights at the local level and engages community members, including indigenous women and girls, to secure reproductive rights and bring their voices to the forefront of the decision-making process.
Casa Milagro is an organization designed for widows and mothers and their children in the village of Santa Cruz on the shores of Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. We provide an open and safe environment for children and women to congregate during the day. Thilda Zorn founded Casa Milagro in 1992, after moving from Germany where she was a social worker.
Casa Milagro started with a small group of 7 women and their children with the idea of providing information about nutrition, health, hygiene and family planning to everyone that needed it in the community.