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In This Issue
New Mayan Families Holiday Cards
Mayan Families Blogs
Successful Scholars
More Baskets Needed for Holiday Tamale Drive
New Home for a Big Family
New Holiday Cards
Holiday Card Cover
This holiday season, consider making a donation in someone else's name with the new Mayan Families Holiday cards! There are six available for general or specific donations. Just click here to browse the cards, print out your favorite, write in your name and donation details, and give it as a gift.
Mayan Families Blogs
Julia and baby Denis
Don't forget to check back at our new Mayan Families blogs, the Elderly Care blog and the Family Aid blog, for more news and updates on the families of Lake Atitlan. Onetime donations make great holiday gifts and go a long way to help a family in need!
December 2010 Monthly e-Newsletter

Welcome to the December newsletter! Scroll down to read about a special sponsored student, our goal for the Tamale Basket drive, and our progress on a home construction project. Thank you to all of our supporters, and have a happy holiday!
Successful Scholars

Though the school year is out, December has given us and our sponsored students plenty of reasons to celebrate! First, we had our pre-school graduations - an adorable event that (we hope!) marks just the beginning of many years of study. (See the photos from the Panajachel preschool graduation here.) And it's not just the preschoolers - many of our older students became the first in their families to graduate high school, and they couldn't have been more excited! With a graduation rate in Solol� of only 7.9%, this is a great accomplishment.


While Mayan Families is proud of each and every student, some are especially close to our hearts - our employees! We employ a few hardworking sponsored students who work during the week, then study on evenings and weekends. One of these students is Sandra, who has been with us ever since she graduated high school in 2006. Sandra was one of Sharon's first students - she was around before the number system even existed!

Thank you to everyone who has sponsored a student - you are the ones who make stories like Sandra's possible. There are still many students looksing for sponsors -- read their stories on the Sponsor a Student page.

Sandra has actually been our sponsored student since she was 5yrs old, before we started Mayan Families. She is the daughter of a single mother,who speaks very little Spanish and earns her living making tortillas.
Sandra didn't want her education to stop at high school, and is now about halfway through earning her degree in social work. She has a couple more years of study to go, followed by a year of thesis research and a final exam before she will graduate. When asked if she would continue at Mayan Families after she graduated, she laughed and replied that she would never abandon the work of Mayan Families! Sandra says she is passionate about her studies and work because they give her the power to help people, and to give them the opportunities they need to improve themselves and their lives. Sandra is living proof of the power of education to change lives, not just for her, but for the community she works in everyday. We are very proud of Sandra's hard work, and of the work that all our students put in this year!

More Baskets Needed for Holiday Tamale Drive Holiday Basket

The office has been gearing up for our big annual Holiday Tamale Basket Drive, and preparations are in full swing! In December 2005, two of our sponsored students went door to door hoping someone would give them a tamale to eat. Though this is the traditional Guatemalan Christmas feast, many cannot afford it, and so the Holiday Tamale Basket Program was begun in 2006. The program has expanded a lot since then, and last year was our most successful year yet - we were able to give out about 1,600 baskets!

This year has been a particularly hard one in Guatemala thanks to the world economic downturn and a terrible rainy season that brought mudslides, crop damage, and a frightening projected food shortage for this winter. With so many impoverished families struggling just to cover to basic necessities, there is little extra money for holiday gifts or festivities. Unfortunately, we currently only have enough to cover about 700 baskets, leaving us still 900 short if we want to match our giving from last year.

Help us to meet our goal and feed the 16,000 people that we did last year. One Tamale Basket costs $35, and provides all the ingredients for a feast for up to ten people. To make a donation, go to our Donate Now page, and enter in your donation in the General box. In the Extra Notes section, write "Holiday Tamale Basket." If you have a specific family or student who you would like to donate the basket to, include their student or family aid number in the Extra Notes box. If you are making the donation in someone else's name, you can choose a special card to print out for them from our Holiday Cards post.

New Home for a Big Family
Part of the Ibate Family
Part of the Ibate Family
Mayan Families is back on the home-building scene this December! If you read last month's newsletter, you'll remember the building of Caterina's house (read the full story here). About a week ago, Mayan Families staff and volunteers broke ground on another housing project, and it's a pretty ambitious undertaking. It will house a family that spans three generations and includes grandparents, three adult daughters, and their children -- 19 people in all.

Many of the Ibate children have been fortunate enough to receive student sponsorships to stay enrolled in school. (We even received a visit from a couple of their sponsors here in the Mayan Families office last week!) But their landlord decided a couple of months ago to turn their rented home into a garage for his mini-bus, and the family is being forced out. With nowhere to go and no land to their name, the Ibates feared they would end up on the street. But thanks to the generosity of Mayan Families supporters, that wasn't the case! With your donations, we raised enough money to start building a block house large enough to shelter all the numerous members of this family. Last week the Ibates went to see the construction site, and their relief and excitement was clear. Read the Ibate's full story and see photos of the construction here. Thank you to everyone who made this house possible!

To make a contribution please go to our website
and go the General Donation section to send a donation. If you would like to nominate a special family or a sponsored student to receive your basket or other items please send us their name or student number by e-mail to Sharon@mayanfamilies.org
If you would like to pay by check please send your donation made out to Mayan Families to:

Mayan Families
P.O. Box 52
Claremont, N.C. 28610

If you would like to give this gift in Honor of someone special, please send us an email at dwight@mayanfamilies.org
giving us the details and we will put them on our IN HONOR OF web page......to have an e-mail sent to the person you are honoring - please send us their email address.
Thank you for your support!

Mayan Families is a small non-profit group working in the Highlands of
Guatemala. We are a registered 501(c)(3) Non Profit Charity of the Internal Revenue Code. .
Your donation is tax deductible.

P.S. Please help spread the word by forwarding this e-mail to your community or posting it on your personal blog, web page and your social networks such as Facebook, You Tube, MySpace, Twitter, Buzz, Hi5, Blogs and any others that are appropriate.
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Thank you once again for supporting Mayan Families!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Sharon Smart-Poage
Mayan Families
Tel: 619-550-2608

P.S. Please forward this e-mail to anyone and everyone you know.