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Opal House

Rating: 4.59 stars   29 reviews 1,320

Nonprofit Issues:

International

Address:

8428 Ne 144TH Pl % William A Boegel Bothell WA 98011 USA

Mission:

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Reviews for Opal House

Rating: 5 stars  

My wife and I have just returned from our second visit to Opal House. We are so amazed at the work happening there in Guatemala. They are all in. Their only administration costs include the basics to live. All other income is directed towards the farm, school and helping the community.

Their 75 acre farm does take a lot of time and effort. I have seen a huge change since we were there last in 2012. They are tending it so that it will become sustainable and eventually support all the work that is happening on the property. It is completely organic, using composted trimmings to re-nourish the previously over used land. They have concentrated on the planting and growth of coffee and the re-establishment of their avocado grove. They have also planted many other varieties of fruit in hopes of providing a more balanced diet for the children in their schooling programs. They also employ several local men who are able to sustain their families well with their hard work.
Their school is small and growing. The students are young and the school is growing grade by grade as the oldest students move into new grades. The Montessori program is effective and creates leaders among the children. They have situated their school to take advantage of the wonderful view from their property. In a small way this shows the care that they have for their students by allowing them to enjoy nature. The children also get a share of the best that Opal house has to offer.

The two of them are also in the medical field. They work all year helping the poor. This work culminates with a week or two of free orthopedic surgery for children who benefit greatly from reconstructed limbs. Even this aspect of their work in Guatemala is growing as new specialists are making themselves available to provide services outside Will and Diane's specialties.

Will and Diane have shown themselves to be quick to help those around them but also wise so not to create a dependence in those they help. They want their neighbours to rise up and live a life of worth and value.
We have also had the privilege of meeting their core support in Seattle. They are all like minded. I have also noticed that any new individuals or organisations who encounter Will and Diane are quick to support them with enthusiast. In my case, I met Will very randomly in a lunch line in San Lucas Toliman (a small town close to their home.) In our short two hour conversation we became supporters and made our first trip to visit their property one year later.

They provide a wide variety of opportunities for volunteers. They welcome workers who can do physical labor and doctors with specialised training. Most anyone can be of help to Opal house. I recommend them to all. Their love and care is infectious.

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My time at the Opal House was the most incredible, inspirational, and life changing experience I have ever had. I absolutely can not wait to go back, visit, and help out on their farm or with the school.

I didn't know it was possible for two people to do so much for a community like they do at the Opal House. From keeping a clean supply of water in case the town below dries out, providing a free education to young children, and providing jobs for the locals to work on their 75 acre avocado and coffee tree farm. Will and Diane have created a wonderful atmosphere and we should all strive to make an impact like they have, it would make the world a better place.

Our main goal coming down to Guatemala was a surgical mission team. We did 35 surgeries and screened over 60 patients. The overwhelming sense of accomplishment was incredible and spending time with the children that were preparing for surgery was a whole new experience in itself. The hospital staff was incredible and I have never seen a group of people work as hard as they do. I am blessed to have had this opportunity to stay at the Opal House and i can't wait to go back next year.

I encourage everyone to help this organization, as much as anyone can!

 
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Review from Guidestar
Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

I was introduced to this organization by a friend of mine in Seattle.

One of the things that impressed me with Will and Dine is the investment in relationships with the community to know the children and families. It seems like they are respected and well known in the town of Auga Escondida. What I like about this program is that they are growing organically and looking for where the need is.

Here is a review of their programs:

Programs:

• Medical
○ Will is a podiatrist (lower extremity) and works at clinics in San Lucas and Panajachel. He partners with other medical clinics to share recourses.
○ He preforms complex surgeries and serves the state of Solo la.
○ His clinics are Monday and Wednesday in San Lucas and Thursdays in Panajachel with Mayan Families.

• Farming
○ Will has a 75 acre farm with avocados, coffee and various fruits. He has started the reforestation process for his avocados and coffee. They are around 2-5 years old.
○ This land is up in the mountains and has been turned fully organic.
○ They have turkeys, goats and 4 worm compost bins that produce organic fertilizer.
○ They roast their coffee (small crop) with a local indigenous roster. They use the fruit of the beans to compost. Everything gets used.

• Clean water
○ On the Farm there is a natural spring that has been tested and is not contaminated.
○ They have the ability to supply the local town with clean water and do this through water cisterns that are available to the local community.

• Montessori
○ Cutting edge curriculum and Montessori based theories.
○ New school building with natural light that is conductive to teaching, learning and creativity.
○ This building also has the capacity to serve as an afterschool recourse center. There is a room set aside for this potential.
○ They are organically growing classes. They currently have three grades. Pre- k to 1st grade. They also have a few exceptions for children that that are in higher grades.
○ There are three teachers (salary for director is $400 and the other teachers is $320 a month)
○ They also feed the children a nutritious meal for snack and lunch.

• Young women mentoring on Fridays
○ 8-12 young teen women are mentored with Diana and the school director (Jacklyn)
○ Character building and skill building.
○ This week they are doing a HALO project around integrity. Example of how integrity is lost like when you take a photo and rip it up. Even if you put it back together it still wont look the same. Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is looking.

• Youth mentoring and bible study on Wednesdays:
○ Boys and girls

Youth in the greatest need Identified:

- Mayan population is the majority yet the most marginalized group in Guatemala.
- 50% of youth have malnutrition.
- More than half of families are single orphaned homes. (one parent at home.)
- The education is poor. (average marks are 60%)
- Average child goes to 3rd grade and not proficient in math and reading.
- The young women are at risk for early pregnancy's (as young as age 14.)

I would recommend this organization.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

My time spent on the farm working was incredible. I was there for five weeks and I helped out on the farm completing tasks in the fields with the workers; cutting down trees, prepping holes for avocado trees, or just mowing the lawn I was able to experience unlike many. I was fortunate enough to befriend the workers on the farm and I enjoyed spending time working and playing soccer with them. It was such an amazing time and my love for photography and documenting really played out well in capturing my story in first person of my daily actions. I would hope that one day I return to this beautiful place.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

do nothing, this organization is being run the exact way it should be.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2004

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

The most obvious evaluation of people, and 501c3's for that matter, is their fruit. After visiting Opal House twice in the last 5 years, I can tell you with certainty that this organization is truly producing fruit in the world (and I'm not talking about the avocados and coffee grown on their farm).
On our most recent visit (May 2014), I brought my mother, sister, brother-in-law, wife, and two small kids and we were amazed at the progress in the last five years. Not only is it a place of peace and a refuge for many of the children and families in the area, but it's a great place to visit to see the way God is working among people who allow themselves to be "fruitful".
We will always support Opal House and return to be reminded that Opal House is built on hallowed ground by humble, loving people (Will and Diane).
Wayland Cossey

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

To be invited to spend time at Opal House is to be welcomed into a vision made real. From the escuelita serving local Mayan children, to the healthy fields of coffee and avocados, to the awe-inspiring chapel and finally, to the warmth and hospitality of the Will and Diane's home, our visit to Opal House was truly life-changing. It was my first encounter with people who followed God's call and, selflessly, and with great effort, are making a difference for the people in the community and those that have the opportunity to visit. We will not ever forget our visit to a Mayan home where Dr. Will checked on a patient. My four year old granddaughter will never forget riding in the tuc-tuc to pick up the children for school and my one year granddaughter will not forget the parrots' morning wakeup call "BUENO! HOLA!"

As Jacob said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it." But I know it now and hope to share the vision with others.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help Will and Diane create time and space for themselves so that they can continue to create the safe and loving place that Opal House has become.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

My husband and I stayed at Opal House only a couple months after their formation, and we volunteered by helping with painting, yardwork, etc. We were so encouraged and inspired by Will and Diane's faith and approach to international development work that we have continued to support them since 2009 and just last week went down for the second time, this time with our children and extended family, to volunteer more and fellowship with them. Their work for the local Guatemalan people is inspiring and so loving. They are filling crucial gaps that exist in their local community in a sustainable way. We couldn't recommend this organization more highly!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

I met Will and Diane in honduras while they were staying with the organization i work with and i was compelled and amazed by their story of what brought them to create opal house. I decided during my vacation time to visit Opal house and see for myself all of the work they do for their community. Their grounds are not only stunning but they provide a home away from home for children and families of their community. Not only do they help their community medically and educationally, they share everything they have to help serve others. I am very grateful to have met them and to have seen a glimpse of the beautiful work they do in guatemala.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

Opal house to me means Holy Ground. This space is truly God centered. Will and Diane are an amazing couple. Their faith and trust in The Lord is unbelievable. I have never experienced anything like Opal House in my life. The children are angelic and so full of love and kindness. Opal House will forever hold a place in my heart.

I came here to visit my 22 year old daughter Maren, who has been living and teaching at Opal House for three months. Her experience here has changed her life forever. I am forever grateful to Will & Diane for making this possible for Maren. Today I experience great love between the children and Maren as she said good bye to each of them. What is happening here at Opal House is truly God's work, and I am so very blessed to have been a part of it. Pam Talcott (Seattle, WA)

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not do a thing. God has everything under control!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

For three months I lived at Opal House. Jan.-Mar. 2014. I was a volunteer/intern at the school. I came to Opal House to improve my spanish, appreciate the culture, and help teach the children. I wanted an experience that was going to push me out of my comfort zone, and challenge me to try new things. I have never been out of the United States before, and coming to Guatemala was quite scary for me. The fear of the unknown took over. Needless to say, arriving at Opal House...my expectations were exceeded. At the beginning, I was blown away by the beauty of this place. Then, I was blown away by the beauty of the people and the culture. Opal House became like a second home to me. I was part of the Opal House family. Living at Opal house was not much different from my home in Washington. Warm water, clean houses, comfy bed, amazing food. But the people and the culture was definitely different. I quickly grew to appreciate the culture, and love the language.

I would come back to Opal House in an instant. I want to return as often as I can. There is something so very special about Opal House. Will and Diane became like second parents to me. And Jackeline was like a sister. The children impacted my heart more than anything ever has. I changed as a person, and I discovered my relationship with God. My time here in Guatemala flew by quickly, but I embraced every day. There is so much beauty in Guatemala, but especially at Opal House. God is shining his light here, and Will and Diane are following. The Montessori school is educating children ages 3-6 years old, and using the beautiful montessori method. And in the afternoons I was also part of the religious education classes, and preteen growth classes. This was the most life changing and rewarding experience of my life. I would recommend an experience like this to anyone. Especially Opal House. I never truly understood until I lived it and experienced it myself.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I only hope this mission has the opportunity to grow. Everything that is currently happening at Opal House is amazing, and truly being ran as best as it can be. In the future, I only hope more people donate and volunteer there time at Opal House so it has the chance to grow and impact more lives in Guatemala.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

 
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Review from Guidestar