ROCKLAND, MA and PANAJACHEL, GUATEMALA, ISSUED OCTOBER 24, 2018…Worthy Village Inc. (http://worthyvillage.org), a 501c3 non-profit organization founded by Rockland, MA native Julia Rayberg and created with a mission to build pathways out of poverty for women and children in Guatemala by providing economic opportunity, healthcare and education today announced the acquisition of Lake Atitian Wellness Center, located in Panajachel, Guatemala.
This signals a major expansion for Worthy Village, Inc., which now brings medical services under their roof and increases the services that they can offer to the population they serve.
The Lake Atitian Wellness Center has been in operation for five years, although the doctors affiliated with the clinic, Dr. Louis De Pena and John Van Lente, have many more years’ experience in medicine. Julia Rayberg, CEO of Worthy Village, said that her organization’s offices and social services departments have officially relocated to the clinic that they have acquired, and the new partnership will be known as The Worthy Village Wellness Center.
Rayberg said, “The timing for this partnership was perfect. The programs we have been working on are growing rapidly, and we saw this joining of forces as a way to serve the community in one physical location. The Worthy Village Wellness Center now has its own medical branch will help Worthy Village make an even bigger difference in the lives of the communities it serves.”
“In rural Guatemala, life can be cut short by conditions such as pneumonia, mental illness, diabetes, and many more. Working together, Worthy Village and the clinic will administer medical and psychological care to the families we work with each day on a ‘what you can give’ donation basis,” said Rayberg. “We don’t charge; we ask only what a family is able to give.” Services include addiction counseling, diabetes management, cervical cancer screenings and more. Patients receive consultations and medicine, discount lab services, and many other benefits that an outreach of this sort can bring to the community,” she said.
She continued, “Part of our mission to build pathways out of poverty involves providing sustainable access to healthcare; this partnership makes that a reality.”
Rayberg said that the clinic has an M.D., an RN, two psychotherapists, two Mayan Indigenous social workers plus the Worthy Village team on site every day. She said that the clinic facility was donated, so the expenses to make this significant improvement within the organization were very minimal.”
Rayberg graduated from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in December 2015 with a BS in Business Marketing. While traveling to Guatemala in 2013 with a professor, she recalls being exposed to extreme poverty, and said that it changed her life forever. Today she works full-time building Worthy Village, managing and overseeing programs, as well as organizational development. She works part-time as a nonprofit consultant and travels back and forth often, spending about 9 months of the year in Guatemala.
Along with their mission, Worthy Village believes that humanitarian action should empower people to live with dignity by building pathways out of poverty. The organization is built on a foundation of long-term sustainability and grassroots empowerment. Since its inception in 2014, Worthy Village has made a tremendous impact in Guatemala, where 59% of people live on a daily income of around $3.20.
Worthy Village partners with the most vulnerable communities to develop workable solutions. Their staff of indigenous Mayan social workers drive projects and programs to create culturally sensitive, viable and high impact solutions. With their guidance, the organization is able to connect with deeply impoverished, remote communities that have never before had access to aid. They are guided by the belief that their community partners know best what they need to help change their circumstances for the better. Over the years, their team has developed ever-lasting connections with community leaders, they have listened to their stories, and gained a better understanding of how they can best impact their lives. Access to basic healthcare, food and water security, access to education are among their highest priorities. The base of the organization’s operations is the Worthy Village Wellness Center. There, their team of doctors, nurses, dentists, psychiatrists, and social workers work to develop comprehensive solutions.
Worthy Village began with several small projects, offering aid when and where possible during a handful of annual volunteer trips. They now have an established presence in Guatemala, where they run comprehensive healthcare and educational initiatives year round for thousands of individuals who trust and believe in their capacity to help them meet their needs. Last year alone, they provided 5,000 people with sustainable access to clean drinking water; taught health and hygiene to 1,800 students; provided locally-sourced meals and nutrition education to 350 children at the Pena Blanca school; and enrolled 750 people into family sponsorship program. Worthy Village also launched a bi-annual dental clinic to provide over 350 children with full dental care.
Guatemala is a country riddled with poverty that is a consequence of many factors, including forced labor, foreign intervention, social inequality, and a civil war that raged for more than 30 years. The more than 250 volunteers Worthy Village has brought to Guatemala have seen this reality first-hand and are forever transformed by the opportunity to help and to experience something so life changing. Please visit the web page to learn details about a potential free trip for 2 to Guatemala with Worthy Village by signing up on the website.
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