Social Work Internship

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Program Description

The Mayan Families’ Program Kids in Critical Need was formed in response to a high level of orphaned or poorly cared for children gathering at our Elderly Care Program’s feeding center in hopes of finding food. Upon further inspection, Mayan Families became aware of the familial situation and the lack of basic nutrition provided for these children. The sole mission of the Kids in Critical Need Program at this time is to provide these children with basic nutrients to stave off chronic malnutrition- a condition that lays the foundation for many diseases to take root leading to early mortality. Scientists and anthropologists have proven time and again that the critical period for brain development and “stunting” prevention as they relate to nutrition is the acquisition of essential nutrients beginning at birth and lasting until the age of three. Mayan Families acknowledges that the nutrients we provide to these children can prevent long term diseases and, once they have reached adulthood, affect the children they have but cannot foster brain development and reduce the persistence of stunting.

Kids in Critical Need is seeking to expand the manner in which Mayan Families affects the lives of these children. Mayan Families seeks to “Educate, Feed, Shelter, Heal”. Currently, Mayan Families provides food for these children. However, an opportunity for education of a different, sustainable kind is currently the goal.

As previously stated, these children are orphaned or live in severe conditions, lacking care and food. Within their families (or lack thereof), these children bare witness to unhealthy behaviors that, over time, could be reflected in their own families. The Kids in Critical Need Program is looking to develop another pillar of the program that demonstrates and teaches children appropriate social behaviors and gives them the tools to create healthy relationships. By accomplishing this, KICN believes that we can impact the next generation of children by ensuring that their parents understand healthy affection and familial relationships.

Internship Objectives:
• Develop a cost efficient program fostering the social development of the Kids in Critical Need clients that can be sustained after the internship has been completed
• Work with the Program Coordinator to develop a method for monitoring the program and evaluating results

Expected Outputs:
• Increased positive social interactions with peers, measured by observation
• Increased ability to perceive emotions, measured by questionnaire
• Increased understanding of acceptable and positive behavior that will allow them to raise their own children with care


● Freedom to develop a program based off of personal ambition and university study
● Opportunity to live within another culture
● Opportunity to develop foreign language skills
● Opportunity to work with the support of a Program Director, gaining valuable managerial experience


Qualifications and Requirements:
● University experience in social work or psychology (preferably child-development)
● Intermediate Spanish
● A willingness to learn the process of non-profit programming
● Patience and general understanding of the situation of an orphaned or mistreated child
● A willingness to understand the Guatemalan culture
● Ability to relocate to Panajachel, Guatemala for a minimum of 3 months

Internship Types

What`s Included

We do not charge you to volunteer with Mayan Families like many organizations do. However, we do not provide any financial assistance, housing, or meals. You are responsible for all of your own expenses, including travel to and from Guatemala. We are, however, happy to assist with arrangements for transportation, housing, etc.

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Program Locations

Panajachel, Guatemala

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Program Details

Mayan Families
  • Guatemala: Panajachel
English, Spanish
Throughout the year
3-6 months
American, Asian, Australian, Canadian, European, Kiwi, South African, Worldwide

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