From California to Guatemala, shoes to Mayan Families

For this year’s service project, Olivia’s Girl Scout troop decided to collect gently used kids’ sneakers, soccer cleats, and shoes, as well as new school supplies, to donate to Mayan Families, an organization in Guatemala that serves mostly indigenous families in need who live in the Panajachel area around Lake Atitlan. Donating to Mayan Families was Olivia’s idea: in years past, we have carried down our own gently used items to give to Mayan Families, and Olivia has seen first-hand how appreciated the gifts are and how real the need. I’m proud of my daughter for lobbying to help an organization in her birth country, and thrilled and grateful that her fellow Scouts elected to sign on to the cause.

As it happened, Mateo, my sister Patrice and I were headed to Guatemala for a short visit, so we hauled the shoes ourselves. But for anyone else considering donating, check the Mayan Families website for information on which shipping companies to use, or how to join the Mayan Families Connection Yahoo group that sends large containers.

The photo above shows the shoes lined up in our dining room. Below are the suitcases which we carried from San Francisco to Antigua, and transported via shared shuttle bus to Panajachel. Once in Pana, and to Mateo’s delight, we took a tuk-tuk to Mayan Families headquarters; the driver and Mateo posed for a photo before handing over the suitcases to a Mayan Families staffer. Finally, co-director Sharon Smart arranged a photo shoot of the shoes and school supplies, and oversaw the making of the heart-shaped thank you note to Olivia’s Girl Scout leader and troop.

If your group is casting about for a service project, please consider collecting for the children served by Mayan Families. Find a list of desired supplies on the Mayan Families website. Truly, delivering shoes intended for kids who need them stands out as a highlight of our trip.

To everyone who donated, including our local Bay Area group of adoptive families, thank you, thank you! ~ xoxo




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6 Responses to “From California to Guatemala, shoes to Mayan Families”

  1. Lisa Shahar says:

    Fabulous idea Jessica, and how perfect that your children see the project from beginning to end. Mayan Families is such a fine organization. I am planning on coping your idea and getting my Girl Scout Troop to do the same.
    Lisa S.

  2. Deanna Swensen says:

    Kudos to Liv! She is following your altruistic example!

  3. cynthia rovero says:

    Great job Olivia for continuing the motivation to help Mayans. Great job Jessica and Mateo for being ambassadors of peace and giving.

  4. Jessica says:

    Thanks, everyone! Olivia’s Girl Scout troop really rallied behind the idea, as did her very hard-working troop leader, Mrs. Ford. A great service project, benefiting a wonderful organization. Very proud of Olivia and her fellow scouts, and Mateo, too!

  5. Ellen Chiang says:

    Jessica – your passion and dedication to the betterment of all is amazing… I’m speechless, I’m certainly a better person just knowing you!

  6. Jessica says:

    Ellen, you are too kind! Really, the project was fun and a great adventure. Girl Scouts rock! ~

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