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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Avivara

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, International, International Relief, Literacy, Promotion of International Understanding

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

Community Stories

65 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1 Caroline E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Rose R.1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have know Gary Teale since he was principal at my son's school from 1997-2006. I have stayed in touch with him since he moved to Guatemala and started Avivara in 2006 to the present. I am very inspired by the educational program that Gary and his staff at Avivara have created in Guatemala and I whole-heartedly give my support, both financially and in prayer. As an Occupational Therapist, I aspire to volunteer in Guatemala in the near future to see this work in person. Some of my fellow parishioners at St. John the Baptist Parish in Covington have visited Gary and Avivara on their way to our sister parish in the hills of Guatemala. Gary has been a great support and encouragement to us as we grow a relationship with our sister parish and find the best ways to communicate our faith, learn about their culture and have a mutually supportive relationship. I highly recommend financially supporting Avivara as non-profit organization making a positive difference and to also explore volunteer opportunities.

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been supporting this particular charitable group for several years now. It has been really fun and satisfying to see how their reach and results have expanded over time.
This is a group that is making tangible progress and improving children's lives and futures.

Jeff135

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a wonderful nonprofit that helps with schoolchildren in a bottom up approach. They work within the community along with local people and try to provide materials and opportunity. You can't do everything but you can do a little. Avivara uses a very nice, locally supported, incremental approach to improving the educational experience and opportunities.
I was most impressed when we visited Guatemala and saw the schools and the children first hand. We were also able to meet a graduate of a business school where she was in management of a nice small hotel. I can recommend Avivara based on years of contributions and by seeing them in action in Guatemala.

Mary478

Board Member

Rating: 5

In 2009, a group of friends incorporated the New Mayas Society in the State of Missouri to assist with funding and other projects for Centro De Formacion Nuevos Mayas ( School for New Mayas) in the town of Xix, El Quiche, Guatemala. www.newmayas.org. The school houses middle and secondary students who come from remote villages in the highlands, as well as students from Xix and nearby villages. We had associated ourselves with a non-profit in St. Louis MO, but found it to our benefit to work with Avivara, as the founders and administrators live in Guatemala. We could not be happier with this relationship. Funds are managed in a completely- professional manner; supporters are notified and thanked as the donations are received, and transfers are made on a schedule allowing both the school staff and our organization to plan. Knowing that we can turn to the Avivara staff in order to get updates on the social, political and cultural situation in Guatemala provides extra assurance that we are making good decisions about our support--in Avivara we we have highly-competent consultants on call. Mary Lois Sennewald: President, New Mayas Society.

Donor

Rating: 5

Avivara is doing great things for impoverished kids and families in Guatemala - supporting schools and helping kids reach college through mentorship and direct financial support. Their impacts are long-term (multi-generational) and widely felt. This is a very small but effective organization. Dollars are wisely spent and not wasted.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been supporting Avivara for 5 years now and watched it grow significantly. I am continually impressed with the great strides and advances in education this limited staff organization brings to the children of Guatemala. Gustavo Valle and his team on the ground in Guatemala are working with schools, especially in the rural areas, to provide a better education to those who are so poorly served. I was recently impressed with their story of a young woman who was the first in village to attend high school.
The local board is a very dedicated and energetic group and I believe they will make a difference, one child, one school at a time. I highly recommend this organization for their commitment and dedication and the differences they make with limited resources. Five stars!

Donor

Rating: 5

Avivara adheres to the highest philosophical principles of social justice - asking what students and teaching staff in rural schools want, rather than imposing an outside vision. And the work is effective and meaningful. And it is performed gracefully by merely a three person staff. This is a rare combination.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Avivara has been continuing its track record of commitment to listening to rural Guatemalan communities and providing a desired service - facilitating education for bright and motivated students who are hobbled only by economics. With an exceptionally high donor value per dollar, Avivara has been gradually increasing the number of scholarships that they provide each year, while still operating under the wise and just practice of planning the finances for the entire trajectory of study. Gustavo, Ann, and Gary do a great job. I still exchange remote greetings with one of the very first Avivara students, who was a stand-out in the junior high English class I helped teach, and who now has gone on through high school and university in Accounting, very successfully bridging the difficulty gap between remote farming outpost and professional urban livelihood.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

Avivara put almost all of their fundraising into programs of grants to schools and scholarships for students. They have supported some students all the way to professional school! They work very effectively with Guatemalan educators.

Caroline E.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization meets the communities it serves where they are at. Together they set the priorities and move together from there. They not only provide needed school supplies, but educate the teachers and parents - working with whole communities! Their scholarship program for older youth continues to grow. After visiting and working with them at the rural schools and at that time an after school program, I feel confident their work is essential to rural Guatemalan schools and they are making a difference by serving the communities and teaching the communities how to continue and grow in educating their children as well as adult leaders.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Read more

Board Member

Rating: 5

Avivara is a really special non-profit - a partnership between the people of US and Guatemala where education is promoted and students are empowered in some of the most impoverished and forgotten areas in rural Guatemala. On a programmatic level, Avivara listens to the Guatemalan communities it serves using its funds very expediently, always evolving and adjusting to the needs of the Guatemalan community it works in, including adjusting for natural disasters. When Avivara commits to providing a scholarship for a child, they support that child all the way through college, if desired. It is an honor and privilege to serve on the Board and I believe Avivara is a great model of how a multi-national grassroots NGO can make a strong impact with small but dedicated team and resource base.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

Avivara is a shining non-profit; clear, contextual, and impactful in its mission to to improve education in rural Guatemala and the communities in which they serve. Gary, Ann, Gustavo and the team are truly collaborative in their work with schools, local governments and other Guatemalan NGO’s to accomplish major projects (new classrooms, computer labs, school libraries, etc.) and improve children's lives through scholarships for education for over 90 students in the coming year. I am impressed by Avivara's strong management of resources, where impressively 94% of expenditures go towards programs and only 6% to administration and fundraising expenses. Avivara does a great job of regularly sharing updates, current events and historical education about Guatemala, the US, and our countries' interconnectedness. As a Boardmember, stakeholder and professional with experience in the field of International Development, it is a delight to steadily be enriched by the stories, inspiration and connection to the commitment of this NGO to improve education in Guatemala and the world.

Tara57

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have visited the programs and people Avivara serves. It is an incredibly effective organization. They are diligent about using funding to make the most impact while also having the communities choose where they need assistance rather than imposing their own ideas.
My personal favorite program is their scholarship program. Teachers recommend students who have the personal drive to succeed in school, but lack the resources needed. Rather than dropping out in 3rd grade, Avivara will help a student with the cost of school until they graduate from high school. Then they become bread winners for their family and it breaks the cycle that often exists with poverty. Every month students have a meeting with Avivara staff. The parents, grandparents, and other family members are all on board to help the child succeed and everyone is grateful.

This is an amazing organization worth supporting. Every dollar makes a difference! Seeing all of this first-hand is why I am now a board member and a donor.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an organization that has worked in partnership with Avivara on the ground in Guatemala, I can highly recommend this nonprofit. They are highly transparent, very well organized and diligent about ensuring that donations go directly to their projects. Avivara truly deserves to be a top-rated nonprofit!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a friend of the founders of Avivara, visiting them in Guatemala in January 2015. I joined Ann on a number of forays to the schools Avivara provides support during the time I was there. The enthusiasm, warmth, and excitement from the teachers and students of each school we visited was tremendous. This was not feigned in the slightest since we visited the schools 2-3 times during the time I was there. They found meaningful work, such as cleaning and organizing a library and painting a school. Avivara is invited by the communities/schools they help and the results show that when people are active in the change they want to see, it occurs. We also ran into adults, who because of Avivara scholarships when they were younger, are now successful business people giving back to their communities. No better testament to the effectiveness of an organization, by having the very people you help follow your example.

Donor

Rating: 5

I live in Guatemala and have visited the work of the Avivara staff several times. Each time I've come away impressed with their commitment with working directly with people, in this case teachers, students, parents, and community members in rural communities of Guatemala, to listen to their voices and in dialogue and support of those needs. Whether through scholarship support, school books and materials, teacher trainings around reading, science, and math curriculum, or the wonderfully creative year long weekly art classes with elementary schools, Avivara is doing the good work. I wholeheartedly endorse this team and this organization! The founders, Ann and Gary, and Gustavo their decades long program director, are all individuals of the highest integrity and commitment. Kudos to them for finding just the right way to support people at the grassroots in ways which allow them individual expression and participation. At the same time, Avivara gives support, through accounting and administration, to other organizations with like-minded missions and commitment. The world is a better place because of the staff and founders of Avivara!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Avivará is an exceptional NGO working towards higher quality education in Guatemala. In a world where many think they have the answer and show up to deliver the solution, Avivará centers their work on an active consultation process with locals to co-design programs that make sense for each unique context.

Beyond their work in Guatemala, they also make a significant effort to educate their supporters about the complex dynamics of poverty in Guatemala. This includes sharing stories from their participants along with newspaper articles and inviting people to visit and participate in their work first-hand.

I highly recommend this organization for donors, volunteers, and those generally interested in education in Guatemala.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I serve on the Board of Avivara, and have since its inception. Over the years the organization has stayed true to its mission, and has proven its ability to alter lives in rural Guatemala through the possibilities of education. In the face of growth and success, Avivara remains remarkably efficient at utilizing contributions to achieve its aims; administration and fund raising costs are very low. By keeping in close contact with its scholarship recipients, for example, Avivara is able to provide encouragement and guidance to those individuals. This support helps to ensure the effective use of resources. The organization has supported a number of individuals into and through their university education - this would have been a nearly impossible goal for these individuals. Avivara changes lives, one at a time, through education.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Avivara since its founding. On a trip to Guatemala in 2007, just before Avivara was born, I met a young man at a school in a remote village. At that point he was about 14 years. As one child of many in a large family, he was expected to leave school at this age (or even sooner) to work in the fields to provide income for the family. But his obvious talent and love of learning had kept him in school longer than his siblings. This young man was one of Avivara's first scholarship recipients. Avivara supported him throughout his high school education, and then continued its support on into his university years. Soon to graduate with a degree in accounting, the astonishing success of this young man was only possible with the support of Avivara. Not only did Avivara provide the monetary support that allowed him to continue his education, but the organization met with him and his parents on a regular basis to ensure that he had the kind of global support needed for this radical departure from the life of field workers in Guatemala.
It is this actualization of possibility that gives Avivara a unique level of effectiveness. Lives are changed. With continued educational and personal transformations as these, the future of Guatemala will eventually be changed.

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1 Jim_179

Donor

Rating: 5

We have partnered with Rotary, Church and Interact to help effectively raise money and awareness about education in Guatemala. One of the best run organizations I have had the chance to work with over the past 10 years.

1 Sherry Miller

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Avivara, with only 3 people on their staff, two of whom I think work with little or no monetary pay and their key change agent, a Guatemalan teacher/administrator, are doing more to support education in rural communities here than any other organization in town, including the national/local government. They listen to the needs of the teachers; they respond. They train the teachers, many of whom have never had any form of real staff development. They supply schools with materials, with small, vibrant libraries, with art lessons where Ann models great teaching practices with the local classroom teacher, often with more than 30 in their class and certainly no sink to clean the brushes or their hands. They work tirelessly to empower students via scholarships, counsel, smiles and a more well equipped, responsive classroom than most public school students in rural Guatemala and many urban ones too, will ever know. I love Avivara and I admire the work they do, ever to quietly, humbly and significantly here. I love showing up at their end of year celebrations and hearing the testimonies, the stories and the endless thanks the hundreds of children and their families they are working for and with. This nonprofit is a model of true grassroots empowerment for all of us and "far exceeds expectations"! Thank you, Avivara, for being present in ways that so matter.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Avivara is one organization that is spreading development for several families and communities .
has been a very important for the education of children and youth in Guatemala. is providing financial support and capable students who wish to continue their education on to the secondary level.
All donors , thank you very much for your support, because investing in education is to change lives .
I am one of the scholarship students, I thank everyone for your support and I'm almost to finish my degree in Business Administration .
AVIVARA is very important for my personal development.
Thank you so much Gary, Ann and Gustavo for everything. You are awesome people. AVIVARA is part of my life.

Comments ( 1 )

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avivara 11/05/2014

The person making this comment was one of Avivara's first university scholarship recipients. We first met her when she was a waitress at a hotel in Santiago, Atitlan, where she told us of her desire to attend university. She is now in the last semester of her studies in Hotel and Business Administration. In addition, she is now the manager of the Bambu Hotel in Santiago, Atitlan, and was recently named to the Board of Directors of Hospital Atitlan, also there in Santiago. Congratulations to her for continuing her education and becoming such a contributing member of her community.

Donor

Rating: 5

My wife & I have been happy to help Avivara & there wonderful staff for years. The help they bring to the Guatemalan community & how it effects there future is fantastic. It is truly a blessing when you have such a positive effect on a child's life as Avivara does. The entire Avivara staff are truly a blessing & we are happyto help when we can. Keep up the great work.

Keep The Blessings Coming

Frank & Perla Whitson