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40 Reviews
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October 21, 2014

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October 21, 2014

Creating happiness, empowering children, families, teachers. No one could ask or expect more from an NGO. I know the village where Ann and Gary live, and have seen first hand the results of their efforts and the true love and esteem in which they are held by their friends and neighbours.
October 19, 2014

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1 previous review
March 10, 2012

My first trip to Guatemala was 3 wonderful weeks in Jan/Feb of 2012. Recommended by a friend of my traveling companion Avivara was our choice. The website is full of all kinds of vital information a... more

October 19, 2014

Ann, Gary, and Gustavo are dedicated to the people of Guatemala. They create a relationship with the entire community - students, teachers, and families. They empower the community to determine the needs, set the priorities, and then assist where those needs are. Awesome organization dedicated to education and justice for all!
March 10, 2012

My first trip to Guatemala was 3 wonderful weeks in Jan/Feb of 2012. Recommended by a friend of my traveling companion Avivara was our choice. The website is full of all kinds of vital information and Gary was always available to answer questions and make suggestions. They arranged our homestay, travel to and from the airport, walking tour of Antigua, accompanied us on our first chicken bus ride, and supplied us with cell phones with their contact & emergency numbers. Based on our limited spanish (none for me) Gary suggested that the hospital may be the best volunteer place for us. As it turns out we were also welcomed with open arms at the Escuelita in San Pedro that Avivara operates and were touched by the 20 elementary aged kids that attend 3 days a week. The last 3 days of our trip were dedicated to visiting some of the villages and schools that Avivara serves. I'm happy to report that our Parish and Parish school is now entering into a partnership with one of these schools. We look forward to many years of partnering with Gary, Ann, and Gustavo on their journey of Avivara's mission. Please explore their website which details their mission and approach to their success!

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

October 18, 2014

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October 18, 2014

One of the unique things about this program is that they ask the teachers what they need to be more effective. Gary Teale and Ann Austin don't assume they know what the teachers need but by inquiring they empower the teachers. They also provide teacher training and teaching supplies to support the teachers in their classrooms.

I am impressed that they also meet with parents to motivate them to support the education of their children.

October 16, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

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October 16, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

Avivara is a nonprofit I contribute to without hesitation. I know my contribution will be used wisely and the funds will go directly to improve access to education for young people in Guatemala. I wish I had more to donate to this amazing organization. Gary Teale and Ann Austin are personal friends who selflessly left their comfortable lives in Seattle to volunteer as teachers and work directly with the most impoverished and forgotten children in Guatemala. What they learned through their time volunteering for another organization sparked the flame of a vision that grew and materialized into Avivara. They now fund educational scholarships for children who never dreamed an education would be accessible to them and they provide support and materials to rural schools and teachers that receive inadequate or no funding at all. It is humbling to read their many success stories. We take so much for granted here in the US.
October 14, 2014

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October 14, 2014

I met Gary Teale personally years ago, when he explained the activities of Avivara. His newsletter gives information about specific people and villages that are being helped. Education is such a key to success. The organization seems to have very little overhead. Locals in Guatemala are part of the decision-making structure. It is a very good group.
January 18, 2014

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January 18, 2014

Avivara is doing hard and much needed work in Guatemala. I am connected to Avivara as a friend, volunteer, donor, and person similarly interested in social and economic justice in Guatemala. Helping young people, particularly in rural areas, access meaningful education is critical for improvement of the humans rights situation in Guatemala and all of Latin America. It is not complicated--knowledge is power, as it always will be. Education for young Guatemalans means better understanding the history and political context of their country and current injustices. It probably means being able to analyze and criticize and communicate dissent more effectively. Avivara works hard, uses resources efficiently, deeply loves the teachers and students they help, and is one of the most dedicated and passionate non-profits I have ever seen. Avivara changes kids lives, helps teachers, and ultimately is improving social justice in Guatemala.

More feedback...

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

October 17, 2013

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October 17, 2013

It gives me both pleasure and pride to contribute to Avivara. I earnestly believe that empowering local Guatemalans to help their friends and neighbors improve their lives through education is a wonderful gift and essential to improving the lives of those in impoverished countries.

Ways to make it better...

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

Not rock the boat.

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Likely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Likely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

October 8, 2013

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October 8, 2013

I have worked as a volunteer for Avivara since its inception in 2008. During that time I have watched it grow from a very small organization working with only one school in rural Guatemala and providing scholarships to two students, to now working with over a dozen rural schools and providing scholarships to over 120 students attending school from junior high to university. With the leadership and support of a dedicated Board of Directors, Avivara has been able in its six years of existence to raise and distribute over $350,000 to its Guatemalan programs. I have seen firsthand how this support has given hope to teachers in the rural underfunded schools, and allowed rural children complete their studies and gain employment as teachers, bookkeepers, nurses, hotel managers and soon, doctors. With its administrative and fundraising expenses at less than 8% of its total expenditures, Avivara uses its donations very effectively. I believe deeply in the mission of Avivara and its way of addressing poverty in Guatemala that empowers and gives dignity to its peoples.

Ways to make it better...

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

Simply find more donors and volunteers to expand the reach of its programs.

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?

2013

October 7, 2013

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October 7, 2013

My husband and I had the opportunity to work with one of the schools Avivara sponsors. The administration, teachers and students could not have been more open, caring and appreciative of our teaching efforts. This organization does a tremendous amount of good for schools in indigenous areas of Guatemala. Avivara works with the schools to provide resources that the schools themselves have determined that they need. Their overhead is amazingly low with only one paid employee. The founders do not take a salary and donate so much time and their personal resources to the organization. They are inspirational!

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

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?

2013

October 6, 2013

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1 previous review
March 21, 2012

Avivara's multi-pronged effort is aimed at making a long-term, sustainable difference in the health and education of the Guatemalan people. This non-profit is run on a shoestring administrative budget... more

October 6, 2013

I have been giving to them since 2009, and do so with complete trust that they stretch each dollar to the max. I spent two weeks in Guatemala with Avivara, visiting their schools and witnessing their success. Gustavo, Anne, and Gary are incredibly smart, talented and dedicated educators. They work relentlessly to provide a better environment for the poorest students in Guatemala, which may include providing school supplies, hot meals, and educating the teachers (who themselves have been poorly educated).

A donation to Avivara is the best use of your money. I try to steer 90% of my donations to Avivara, even though I work with several non-profits in my region and make occasional donations to them. I want to improve the world, and my money goes a lot further in Guatemala, especially in the hands of Avivara. Just like if I want to protect the environment, I'd have a lot more global influence with my donations by conserving land in the Amazon rather than near my residence in California.

Ways to make it better...

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

do nothing. They are as good as it gets!

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

March 21, 2012

Avivara's multi-pronged effort is aimed at making a long-term, sustainable difference in the health and education of the Guatemalan people. This non-profit is run on a shoestring administrative budget, with almost no overhead, no advertising, and minimal fundraising. Basically, you are guaranteed that nearly all of your money is going to aid students who really, really need an extra helping hand to give them the chance to escape systemic poverty. My wife and I saw this first hand, as we spent two years traveling around the worlds, sometimes working with non-profits. Through a mutual connection we found Avivara. We stayed with Gary and Ann for two weeks and learned all about their program. We were incredibly impressed with all aspects of Avivara. Gary and Ann are retired educators from Washington, who have dedicated their lives to this cause. They, together with Gustavo, empower the local teachers with better training, teaching tools and school supplies. They work with the community to provide hot breakfast every morning so that the students can focus on their school work. Avivara also provides scholarships to students for continuing education. Most school children drop out between the 2nd and 6th grades. The Avivara scholarships help the family with the burden of sending children to a middle school or high school, which typically requires a daily bus ride, new books, and other school supplies. Avivara also runs a local after-school program in their headquarters. This is the single best non-profit I have seen. Your dollar goes a long way in Guatemala, but that's no reason to be stingy with your donations.

More feedback...

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Why did you make your donation at this time?

We make donations to Avivara for several reasons. First, we do it because we know the money is needed and Avivara will spend it wisely and with powerful results. We also donate to Avivara as a gift, instead of giving physical goods for a wedding or birthday. Finally, we donate to set an example that if even people like us (who are technically below the US poverty line) can donate, then our friends and family can do the same.

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