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October 25, 2012

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October 25, 2012

Yo soy Lidia Otzoy y AIRES ha sido una bendición en mi vida, ya que he sido beneficiaria de su trabajo, tanto en los viveros forestales y principalmente con una Beca de Estudios que me brindaron durante 5 años, hasta que logre la meta de graduarme en el 2011 de Secretaria. Soy de una aldea que se llama Monte Cristo en Chimaltenango y gracias a AIRES pude seguir estudiando ya que mis padres son muy pobres. Soy la primera en poder graduarme en mi familia, por lo que me siento inmensamente feliz y agradecida. Y ahora una bendición más, desde Mayo del 2012, sigo formando parte de esta linda familia, solo que ahora trabajando como Secretaria de la oficina de AIRES, estoy muy orgullosa de ser parte de este equipo que lucha dia a dia para mejorar nuestro ambiente y que ayudan a mas familias de escasos recursos para que realicen sus sueños. Gracias AIR por preocuparse por mi y por muchas otras jovencitas que tienen metas y sueños de continuar sus estudios para ser mejores cada dia y construir un mundo mejor.

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When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

October 18, 2012

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October 18, 2012

I traveled with a group from my church with AIR Guatemala to help out with their mission work. During my week with Anne, her tecnicos, and my fellow church members, we planted lots of trees (over 1000 if I remember correctly) on mountainsides to help combat deforestation and the associated adverse affects on local agriculture. Tree nurseries that AIR planted in its early years are now flourishing, providing communities with soil stability, food, and sustainable firewood. The other project I worked on was helping to build one of three stoves for a family. This brick stove and its chimney were an improvement over the open wood-fueled cooking fire this family was previously using indoors. Not only does the new stove consume less firewood, saving the family money and reducing deforestation, but it helps combat the rampant lung disease I observed in Guatemala, both for the mother that will be using it and for the baby she kept strapped to her back in the smoke-filled kitchen. Even though she doesn't smoke tobacco, she was plagued by a deep cough that I hope will be alleviated by her new and improved kitchen. As far as international missions are concerned, I believe that AIR Guatemala is unique in its ability to create both immediate and a long-lasting benefits for the Guatemalan communities it serves. I have every intention of returning to Guatemala with AIR and lending them my muscles, heart, and spirit as they reforest hillsides and nurture communities.

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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?

2012

October 16, 2012

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October 16, 2012

When my daughter and I traveled to Central America with the Alliance for International Reforestation in the summer of '08, I thought that we were going to "plant trees". Little did I know, that we were in for a a life changing experience that would plant, and nurture, life long relationships. We got to know and work with staff members of AIR and village families hard at work building sustainable farming communities. We did plant trees (lots of them!) but we also got to see first hand how the villages came together to build fuel efficient stoves. We participated in children's classes as they were taught about sustainable farming practices. The families worked so hard to make a better future for themselves, and to thank us for coming and lending a hand. My daughter and I were moved by what we saw. This was change and progress from the ground up, not the top down. Entire villages were working together in the tree nurseries. AIR has to be seen to be believed.

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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?

2012

October 16, 2012

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October 16, 2012

Alliance for International Reforestation is a wonderful organization. We educate families in Guatemala concerning the environmental challenges facing their country. We help them plant trees to avoid flooding and destruction of the environment. We have established tree nurseries. We build fuel efficient brick ovens for families to help end the pollution and smoke hazards occurring in their homes. We provide scholarships for children. Our staff is dedicated and hard working. We make a difference in the lives of families in Guatemala and establish a model project that can be duplicated in other countries to lessen the environmental challenges faced by developing countries.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

October 12, 2012

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1 previous review
April 6, 2012

The Alliance for International Reforestation is near and dear to my heart. I am now planning my fourth mission trip to Guatemala to work with this amazing organization. AIR changes not just the live... more

October 12, 2012

The Alliance for International Reforestation is one of the most efficient organizations in the not for profit world. The staff is made up only of Guatemalans who are trained and educated in the field of sustainable agriculture. Their fellow Guatemalans with whom they work trust them more than they might trust another organizations foreign born employees. AIR's work proceeds quickly due to the lack of time spent in breaking down trust barriers. The staff proceeds with care and sensitivity to each community's needs knowing that demographics, environment and education all play a role in determining what will work best in a particular area. AIR's founder Anne Hallum empowers her staff in Guatemala to make management decisions knowing that they have the skills and education which will lead the organization to growth and success. AIR's ability to create positive change in a difficult situation should be seen as a model for all not for profit organizations.

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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?

2012

April 6, 2012

The Alliance for International Reforestation is near and dear to my heart. I am now planning my fourth mission trip to Guatemala to work with this amazing organization. AIR changes not just the lives of inidividuals but also the whole community. AIR teaches sustainable agriculture therefore enabling members of a community to feed their families. Another benefit is that mudslides are much less likely to destroy lives because the trees that AIR plants keep the hillsides from slipping. They also build fuel efficient stoves which prevent lung ailments, virtually eliminate childhood burns and decreases the amount of fuel being used. I can't say enough about the organization and how well it is run.

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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?

2011

October 11, 2012

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October 11, 2012

The Alliance for International Reforestation (AIR) works in Guatemala to assist communities in the mountains develop sustainable agro-forestry. I was part of work teams in 2002 and 2007 that assisted villagers plant trees to stop erosion in the mountainous terrain around Chimaltenago. The teams were hosted by a professional staff of Guatemalans. This project change lives of the communities where they serve - and it has changed mine as well. AIR does this by building nurseries and relationships to plant trees. In addition they respond to various human needs created by natural disasters such as Hurricane Mitch and volcanoes. My trips have turned into regular monthly support of AIR. I recommend this project for it allows an individual to participate in life-changing work. Who knows? If you support or participate the life that is changed just might be yours.

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Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

April 4, 2012

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1 previous review
March 22, 2011

I volunteered with AIR over a summer and had an incredible, life changing experience. I felt like a part of a team, and accepted into the communities we worked in. The staff was well educated and humb... more

April 4, 2012

Winner of the 2011 Morton Award from the National Arbor Day Foundation, CNN couldn't have named AIR founder, Anne Hallum, more appropriately than a hero. She is a true heroine of the environment, conserving the Earth one tree at a time. Founding the non-profit, the Alliance for International Reforestation, Inc. (AIR), in 1993, the AIR team works to conserve communities throughout Guatemala and Nicaragua, planting trees, establishing tree nurseries, providing environmental education for teachers and farmers, digging wells, building fuel-efficient brick ovens, and helping to educate everyone about the environmental challenges facing Central America. Since 1993, AIR has since trained over 2,000 farmers, constructed over 750 fuel-efficient stoves, provided 18 high school scholarships to rural teenagers, established hundreds of tree nurseries and planted over 3.7 million trees! Just this pass June, Dr. Hallum was responsible for organizing a group of US volunteers, who joined AIR’s permanent staff, and planted almost 4,000 trees and built seven fuel-efficient stoves—in just one month! These trees bring more than fresh air, but also hold hillsides together, preventing erosion, and protecting communities from deadly mudslides. These arboreal projects also have a great social impact, giving women a very important role in their communities as conservationists.
Dr. Hallum is the epitome of a humble servant. As a professor of political science at Stetson University, actively engaged in all of the campus' environmental initiatives, she influences hundreds of students each year, leading by example. She is also the faculty advisor for the campus' community garden, wherein she ignites a passion for sustainable food among many students. Taking a couple students with her to Guatemala each summer, Dr. Hallum has opened many eyes to environmental degradation, but moreover, to the possibilities of conservation and the hope AIR's projects bring.

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The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

volunteering, fundraising, and working alongside the growers themeselves

More feedback...

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?

2012

March 22, 2011

I volunteered with AIR over a summer and had an incredible, life changing experience. I felt like a part of a team, and accepted into the communities we worked in. The staff was well educated and humble in their approach to help these rural impoverished communities.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the Guatemalan communities women empowerment, and their children's environmental stewardship. It is honestly one of the only organizations I have been familiar with that doesn't have a hidden agenda, but rather is working solely for the people and protecting their environment.

Ways to make it better...

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

make sure it had more steady funding. It is hard for it to function at full capacity when funds are limited.

April 3, 2012

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April 3, 2012

I volunteered to work with AIR last summer, the year before my junior year of college. I went to Guatemala for one month with two fellow students and Dr. Anne Hallum and we based our operations primarily out of Chimaltenango. Daily, we would get picked up by local technicians who are familiar with the people in the surrounding areas and their languages. After breakfast, we would ride out in our pickup trucks to all kinds of neighborhoods who took it upon themselves to raise tree nurseries for the pines we would plant throughout the month alongside the farmers, technicians, and other volunteers. We looked over beautiful landscapes and saw the scars on mountainsides from landslides and remembered why we were doing what we were doing. We had a cause, a purpose, and we had friends with us all the time, new and old. We established relationships with strangers based upon general good will and I honestly believe we improved the lives of some of these people to a large degree, especially those who we donated stoves to before spending many hours building the sturdy and efficient kitchen commodities. It seems amazing to think that a stove could be such a significant thing to some because it is so basic and obvious to people like me. But, I must say, giving a gift like that which is so critical to quality of life is truly a beautiful thing. Time and effort can be recognized as some of the most valuable things in life and they are readily received as such. The purity and sincerity of taking part in a project that is intended solely for someone else is reciprocated to the person doing the giving. This is what I learned through AIR. People can love each other in such a basic way, without knowing names, or even the same language. Lead by example and give all you can by taking advantage of the things you are blessed with. The world can learn this and be overwhelmed by the beauty of the earth and all it supports: habitats, people, and the relationships between them all.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

...the way I conduct myself on a regular basis. I've carried the lessons and the beauty I experienced in Guatemala with AIR back to the USA and have tried to perpetuate and embody them continuously as best I could. The genuine attitudes and generosity were striking enough for me to want to maintain them forever. I will absolutely volunteer again with AIR and anywhere else I can.

Ways to make it better...

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

It's outstanding as is.

More feedback...

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?

2011

What one change could this group make that would improve your volunteer experience?

I had an unprecedented experience.

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

YES! I love the people I went with, the people I met there, and the general nature of the work. It was one of the most beautiful places I've ever been in my life, not just because of the natural beauty, but because of the humanity as well.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

See previous answers.

April 21, 2010

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April 21, 2010

I interned with AIR in the summer of 2006. The experience was more than I hoped for and I had more contact with rural communities than I was expecting. On my second day interning we hiked to a small plot of land owned by an indigenous woman. We helped her to plant trees to stabilize her land and stimulate other crops she planned to grow. She and her family then prepared a meal for us on the mountainside. AIR is committed to working with local communities and is very practical. They do not spend much time with bureaucratic matters, but are very practically involved in the communities they work with. I found this to be a refreshing difference from other organizations. My favorite experience was teaching a group of indigenous woman how to make shampoo out of aloe they grew in their gardens. They were then able to sell the shampoo. This was a wonderful opportunity for the woman, it gave them another source of income for their family and economic independence. The local Guatemalans that are employed by AIR have the ability to connect with the communities instantly and do a great job maintaining and serving the communities. Also, AIR gives many visitors from the States and other countries, such as Japan, Spain, etc., the opportunity to work with their organization on a grassroots level. I will always remember the experience I had with AIR and how it is an organization that is truly committed to making change for the better.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing that grassroots organizations really do make a change.

Ways to make it better...

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

Nothing.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

getting to interact with rural community members I would never have met any other way.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

On all levels.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

greatly improve the environmental situation and economic situation for rural communities through sustainable development.

Ways to make it better...

Nothing I can think of.

One thing I'd also say is that...

AIR is truly on a mission and believes in what they are doing.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

April 18, 2010

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April 18, 2010

As a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala I wanted to work in some way to support development at the grassroots level in Central America. AIR has provided me with the opportuntiy to work with Guatemalans as they seek to serve the poor in their country through reforestation, improved farming techniques, community organizing and education. AIR has no paid staff in the US and has on the average 8 Guatemalans working with the indigenous farmers in their own communities and surrounding villages. AIR has planted several million trees and touched the lives of hundreds of Guatemalans and dozens of citizens of the United States who have had the opportunity to work with AIR in Guatemala on a volunteer basis. I have chosen to be part of and support AIR as I have not seen an organization that does a better job of giving individuals from different countries and cultures the opportunity to serve beside each other and as part of the same team. Also AIR for the size of its budget and number of individuals involved has accomplished on a yearly basis much more than organizations several times larger with much larger budgets.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing the pride the indigenous farmers exhibited on showing me and talking about the trees they had planted years before and recently.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the opportunity to be part of an organization that works directly with indigenous farmers in Guatemala. This work was accomplished as part of a team that allows the Guatemalans to take the lead in working to improve the lives of their fellow citizens.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

individuals who were part of the community they were serving and understood and spoke the language of the indigenous farmers they work with. The staff were passionate about their work and the volunteers were there to help and learn.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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