TREES FOR LIFE
March 6, 2010
I first learned about Trees for Life when we first moved to Kansas around 1982. It was still in its inception at the time. My family followed it with great interest, particulary because it focuses on world hunger and education which are passions of ours.
As we learned to know the organization more intimately, Trees for Life became not just another non-profit for us. I began to see how it was a miracle in progress.
A number of years later our son decided to volunteer for a while for Trees for Life. He lived on the premesis and loved working there so much that he stayed with the organization for 1 1/2 years before continuing on to graduate school. His time with Trees for Life changed his outlook on life, and he still does short-term volunteer work at Trees for Life when he comes home to Kansas.
My personal experiece with Trees for Life came after I retired when I began volunteering once a week with the organization. My tasks focused around working with the 100,000 books for Liberia drive in 2008-2009. The country's minister of education had approached Trees for Life's Books for Life program and asked if we could help them. Local school districts donated thousands of used textbooks and library books for the Liberian children.
My job was to sort through the books and make decisions regarding appropriateness and condition. It was an exciting adventure. Many groups from Wichita came to help, and it became a community effort. Books lined the halls and filled the rooms ... a book lover's dream come true. Books were everywhere!
My most startling moment came several months later when I took time off to go on a trip with my husband's students. Two weeks later when I returned, to my surprise, an the books were finished - sorted, packed, and even sent! Trees for Life had made an all out effort to pull in groups of volunteers to sort the remaining books and get them on their way to Liberia.
It is a gratifying feeling to know that school books that otherwise would have been discarded are today being used to educate an entire country of children who otherwise had little hope for a future. Trees for Life has an amazing capacity that enables miracles to happen.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
My son and I both saw how Trees for Life doesn't focus on money; rather, it focuses on what is needed to expedite their mission. Example: When they needed desks for their office, they found carpenters to build them with donated doors.
Ways to make it better...
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I wouldn't. There is a purity of purpose and heart about this organization that is refreshing. They solve world problems in the regions where they work in humble, yet miraculous ways.
What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...
... the wonderful, giving people who work there; the willingness to look for volunteers' talents and put them to work in areas of their strengths. I also enjoyed our simple meals and the time we spent over lunch hours with persons from the community.
The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...
... giving, caring people from many walks of life who had a passion for working with the world's less fortunate. The neat thing was that all were seen as children of God, and we worked in consort with them to solve their problems.
If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...
...it would metamorphose from 1 loaf and 1 fish to an ocean of loaves and fishes. There is something about this group that makes it brim with miracles. It's not dollars they're after; it's focused love and concerted caring.
Ways to make it better...
My experience was very meaningful. I wouldn't want to change anything.
In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...
Probably money. That seems to be everyone's problem today. The neat thing about Trees for Life is that money is not at its center; rather, it is only a means to our end which is resolving world hunger and improving quality of life for all whom they serve.
One thing I'd also say is that...
It is my heart's desire that Trees for Life gets that 10 million dollars. I truly admire the organization and pray it continues for many years to come. There is a purity there that is not found in other non-profits.
How frequently have you been involved with the organization?
About every month
When was your last experience with this nonprofit?
Volunteer & I helped with sorting books for Liberia and wrote synopses of Moringa Tree articles online for the Trees for Life Journal. The latter helped to create an ongoing bank of literature regarding the medicinal qualities of the Moringa, especially for night bli.