The Guatemala Project is a Non-Profit Organization based in Iowa, USA dedicated to bettering the lives of Guatemalan citizens of limited means. The Guatemala Project works exclusively with the Guatemalan organization, ImagininGUATEmala, primarily in the areas of shelter, food security, health services, and educational support.
The Guatemala Project is governed by a 100% volunteer Board of Directors. These directors meet regularly to make decisions and conduct the business of the organization. The specialization within the organization allows the volunteers to focus on individual efforts as well as collaborate together.
Board of Directors
In 2006, Kathy McCue took a giant leap of faith. Following up on a life-long dream to lead a group of students on an international service trip, she traveled to Guatemala with zero understanding of Spanish and little to guide her but a sense of adventure and a desire to improve conditions for impoverished Guatemalans. Kathy says, "From day one I fell in love with everything about Guatemala; the people, the food, the culture, the beauty, the energy." Now serving as President of The Guatemala Project, Kathy uses her retirement to further the success of ImagininGuatemala (IG). A veteran service team leader who has led over 15 trips with students, she now sees her role as active in the administration and development of the IG mission. "The most important thing I do," Kathy says, "is stay out of the way. ImagininGuatemala is, first and always, an NGO run by Guatemalans for Guatemalans."
When she’s not dreaming about Guatemala, she loves to hike Camino trails in Spain, ski with her grandchildren in Colorado and drink a cold beer as the Iowa sun sets. Her favorite IG motto is: "A service trip with IG is the hardest work you'll ever love."
Lisa Hebl has been traveling to Guatemala each year since 2001. While speaking with a patient in her dental clinic who worked with a non-profit in Haiti, Lisa stated that she had always wanted to travel to other countries to help the less fortunate. The patient said, "This is your lucky day! We need a hygienist to join our next service trip, and you have just volunteered!" Due to circumstances in Haiti at that time, the trip was cancelled, but the dental team found a non-profit in Guatemala that was opening up a dental clinic - and the
rest is history! In 2006, Lisa started the first Service-Learning Study Abroad program at Kirkwood Community College, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. In 2013, she helped start the non-profit, The Guatemala Project. Now that Lisa is newly retired, she plans to continue taking groups to Guatemala several times a year, as long as she can still carry cement blocks! Lisa’s message to everyone is, “Take the first step off the plane, and join us as we continue to make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate in Guatemala."
Cathy Fuller is currently secretary for the Board of Directors of The Guatemala Project. She lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is retired from Kirkwood Community College. She first went on a service trip to Guatemala in 2012 with a group of Kirkwood students led by Lisa Hebl. Cathy will be returning to Guatemala for the ninth time in January 2024, leading a group of 24 people from her church. Her favorite expression is, "It will change your life if you let it”, and it certainly has changed hers.
James is currently a high school Spanish teacher who has led many trips to Antigua. His interest in the Spanish language and accompanying cultural and justice issues stems from involvement in the
United Farm Workers union and subsequent programs that serve migrant farmworkers throughout the U.S. Aside from providing his students with the incredible ImagininGuatemala experience, James helps recruit new student, family, and community service teams.
Mark Fuller is the Director of Publicity and Technology. With a versatile background spanning industries from insurance and hospitality, Mark enjoys his current role to in Higher Education. He is also currently seeking a Master's Degree in Political Science. Beyond his professional pursuits, Mark's passions include acting on stages big and small, playing board games, and joining family and friends on their latest adventures. Mark is embarking on his sixth service mission to engage in impactful work in Guatemala in 2024. He has also previously done service work in Mexico.
Publicity and Technology
Dr. Jamarco Clark
Jamarco has spent his life in service, whether it be in his role in higher education, or as the founder of his own organization, "One Less Obstacle". Jamarco has led numerous Service Teams during his time at various institutions, including leading Service Teams to Guatemala while at Mount Mercy University. He is current the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University of Illinois Springfield.
Allison Krogstad has been a Spanish professor at Central College, Pella, Iowa, since 1999. She fell in love with Guatemala in 2002 when she and her husband adopted the first of their three sons from Guatemala. She joined the Board of Directors in 2022 and has recruited service teams from the United Methodist Church of Pella and Pella Christian High School. She has also traveled with groups of college students who have
helped with ImagininGuatemala's efforts in the village of Mano de León. Allison encourages everyone to join the fun, dedicated, and compassionate ImagininGuatemala family!
Ramon Marth is new to the board in 2023. He has been a Spanish teacher at Benet Academy in Lisle, Illinois, for 32 years. Through the years, he has also been a retreat moderator, set construction director, and football and soccer coach. As an educator, he believes the best learning often takes place outside the classroom. As a human, he believes our greatest happiness often comes from service. Ramon has served on several service trips in Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and at home in the United States. He is extremely excited to become part of the Guatemala Project, helping ImagininGuatemala do its important and impactful work. Ramon is thankful for the opportunity to help Guatemalans help Guatemalans. His next build with IG will be his sixth build.
ImagininGUATEmala is the sister organization of The Guatemala Project. Working exclusively with ImagininGUATEmala allows for the building of close relationships among the organizational members in the United States with the staff in Guatemala, and ultimately with the children and families in need.
ImagininGUATEmala is a small NGO (non-governmental / non-profit organization) based in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. It is a project originating from the common interest of a small group of Guatemalans who are passionate about supporting the well-being and development of fellow Guatemalans. ImagininGuatemala relies upon local and international friends, volunteers, and benefactors who recognize an obligation to help those less fortunate than themselves. This group is committed to uniting volunteers to assist with the physical, spiritual, emotional, and educational development of marginalized people in Guatemala.
(Click on the link above to visit their website, imagininguatemala.org.)