I have served on the board of trustees at Trees for Life the past fifteen years. The organization meets three times yearly. We are given detailed updates on what is taking place and asked for our opinions on new ways the organization is working.
I met Balbir in 1984 and we''ve been friends since. He was just in the process of giving birth to Trees For Life and I felt then and still feel it is a kind of paradigm for what helping institutions will become in the future, simple, family-like groups dedicated to empowering people who are often overlooked or exploited by more powerful institutions. The focus is on helping people achieve what they want to achieve by listening to them and joining with them so that what is gained is prized by the receiver since the receiver has worked hard to achieve the goal or project and hasn't just been the recipient of money or goods and services supplied by a donor without any effort on the part of the recipient to share in the work and responsibility.
I have been affiliated with this organization since 1984 when it first began, initially as a volunteer and later as a staff member, and then also as a board member. Trees for Life is a unique group that serves both people who come here to work and to volunteer as well as those we serve in countries around the world. My experience has been very positive. We empower others as well as ourselves and bring that to our office through minimal salaries, recycling and careful use of gifts.