AVIVARA

Rating: 4.98 stars   48 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Education, International

Location: 7202 33rd NW Seattle WA 98117 USA

Mission: To improve the quality of and access to education in Guatemala, and to cultivate interconnectedness between the peoples of Guatemala and the United States.
Results: 11 schools receiving grants for school improvement 0ver 60 students receiving scholarship assistance, with 18 attending university 2 after school learning centers
Target demographics: Children living in poverty-impacted villages in the highlands of Guatemala
Direct beneficiaries per year: over 1600 students in 13 village schools, provided scholarships to over 70 students, 17 of whom were attending university
Geographic areas served: Guatemala
Programs: 1. Grants for School Improvement in Guatemala 2. Guatemala Scholarship Program 3. After-School Learning Centers 4. Service and Study Abroad in Guatemala 5. U.S.-Guatemalan School-to-School Partnerships
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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EIN 26-2130534
206-452-3426
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Community Reviews

Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

Not rock the boat.

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

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

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

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

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Rating: 5 stars  

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!

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

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

do nothing. They are as good as it gets!

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

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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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Danny, Thank you for your very kind words. They do have more impact given that you were actually here to see and participate in our work. We very much appreciate your support and encouragement. Gary and Ann

Rating: 5 stars  

We chose Avivara as the recipient of an annual fundraising event we hold called Ride for Literacy. The organizations we choose are always from Guatemala as our dear son Luis was born there.

2 years ago, while researching all of the many literacy groups in GT, Avivara stood out. Their approach to literacy is quite unique in its scope. We appreciate how their focus is directed on the youth both while still in school through teacher education, after school programs, and school renovation projects...as well as to support older students in continuing their education through scholarships and having personal relationships with each of the recipients.

We had the opportunity to visit Gary and Ann Austin last year while in Guatemala. They are truly living their values and prioritize their work at every turn.

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

Help them to get more on the ground assistance through volunteerism or more funding to be able to hire more people.

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?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

A focused non-profit dedicated to education where education is hard to find, the hill of Guatemala. Low overhead and quality participants.

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

it seems to run well as is...

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

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