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!
I have volunteered and donated for all the years of Avivara's existence, and been thrilled to see the leadership team tackle challenges with sensitivity and courage, most recently the June 2018 volcanic eruption that affected so many maize and coffee farmers on the slopes of Volcan Fuego. Avivara keeps its eyes on the mission: reducing inequity in Guatemala through education. I am glad that bright and motivated students have the chance to continue their studies despite the limitations of poverty because of Avivara.
Avivara has been dependable, thoughtful, transparent, and quietly radical since its inception. It is a team of only three who build relationships with rural schools and scholarship students over time, serving as mentors, sounding boards, and resource conduits, without imposing an external vision on the already capable and motivated people of Guatemala. It is thrilling to see freshly minted university graduates, confident high school students, and improving schools because of the work Avivara, its generous donors, and its hard working staff complete in Guatemala.
Avivara is an impressive grassroots endeavor born out of Gary's and Ann's genuine commitment to be companions with Guatemalans seeking freedom from the bonds of poverty and illiteracy. I have visited with them several times in Seattle at teacher conventions and it is evident Avivara is a vocation of the heart, head and hands. Confident in their mission and trusting them as stewards of my donations, I support Avivara as financially able and encourage you to do the same. If you can't give by going - please go by giving; Avivara is making a positive difference in the world.
What impresses me the most about Avivara is the clear focus of the team. They put in the work, the energy, the commitment for many years before they began Avivara. They did their homework and when circumstances came together they began something that is elegant in its simple direct way of helping. Helping some young people in Guatemala with the resources, the support, and the inspiration so that they can do their homework and rise to their best. I think that Avivara's efforts will bear fruit for generations to come.
We have seen great results with the scholarship students and the schools where Avivara works. They have built a network of local teachers, parents and administrators that focus on improvements to the schools and opportunities for the students. Their results include many students continuing their educations through college. This is significant in the rural Mayan villages and sets a model for students, families and the communities. They will make good use of any support they receive.
I visited Antigua, Guatemala in February 2013. Gary, Ann and their daughter were kind enough to take me along when they went to help some of their kids with homework in an impoverished village outside of Antigua. One little girl of about nine years old was taking care of her two little siblings, and had essentially been kicked out of elementary school after having failed the first grade for several years. She was so excited to be able to study with Avivara and have a chance at finally being able to learn how to read. In an area where there is not support for children struggling in school Avivara is making a direct and positive impact on these children's lives.
I continue to be impressed with the work of Avivara to partner with local communities and evolve the work to make the most impact for education in areas facing many challenges. Avivara empowers the children and schools it sponsors, guaranteeing scholarships for children from elementary through college if desired. This improves literacy, education and enables youth to escape the cycle of poverty so many of them have been born into. Their infrastructure and sanitation improvements in schools also make a big impact. Your donation makes a big impact with this organization with 92.2% of all donations going directly to their programs. Keep up the great work, Avivara!
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.
Avivara's focus on education is so important to Guatemala. Not only are they supporting individual students to continue their education on through university, they are also providing support to public schools to provide a better education for those students that are not able to attend private schools. They are an excellent team and collaborate with others in the area, always with a focus on education. Their team has a positive spirit of supporting their students and families to do well. They come with an education background and love for the people.
I have visited schools that Avivara works with and the work they do is lifesaving for the students they work with. Gary, Anne, and Gustavo know all of the students and teachers they support and work with families to make sure the scholarship students are successful. Many of their students would have no opportunity for education without Avivara.
The mission of Avivara: giving hope to the future through education. In the years our parish has contributed to Avivara and visited the schools in Guatemala that Avivara serves, we have seen this small nonprofit growing: in the number of schools it serves, the number of students being helped, the number of scholarships being offered. And all with a small staff of three and with a surprisingly small budget. Each time we had a question or needed some information, we received a quick response, usually within hours. The transparency of the finances is most appreciated as we invite parishioners to contribute.
I especially appreciate the perspective of Avivara - working with the school and community to determine needs and not just stepping in to "fix things up." I believe that is an important element in the success it has experienced. Avivara also recognizes the many aspects that go into offering a good education. Sometimes the need is fresh water that does not need to be carried to the school each morning before classes. Or it may be workshops to educate and inspire teachers. Or books for the library. Through its Newsletter "The Blackboard" we are kept informed not only about the schools and programs but also about life in Guatemala.
I tried unsuccessfully to add a video created for our parish about our sister school in San Jose Pacul. If you search YouTube for Pacul Video 2016, you may be able to see Avivara at work.
Earlier this month (February 2012) I returned from a three-week stay in Antigua, Guatemala, a trip I initiated with Avivara at the suggestion of a friend. I had very little mission experience, had never been to Guatemala, knew very little about the country and had never studied Spanish. I explored the Avivara web site, wanting to know more about their mission, and discovered all kinds of information - their focus, of course, and the programs they offer. But I was delighted to learn about the country, its problems and its beauty. The "Visiting Guagemala-FAQ's" convinced me that Guatemala was a place I could visit and Avivara was the organization that could help me make the journey. My emails were promptly answered and I even received a phone call after my first piece of paperwork was submitted. Gary Teale walked me through each step and had even sent along an itinerary for my first few days. My plan was to learn more about Avivara, to which I had been donating, and the children and schools it supported. In addition I wanted to volunteer at the local hospital. Gary arranged a contact with the volunteer coordinator there and I spent several afternoons there. Gary's itinerary covered the first several days of the trip, arranging our homestay, introducing me and my companion to Antigua and to his community. He was quite the tour guide, even assisting us at the bank and on our first ride on the "chicken bus." Once he and we felt we'd gotten comfortable, he said we were on our own to the extent we wanted. If we needed help, he and his wife were available, but if we wanted to be on our own, we could do it. With his help and with the selection of a school for Spanish classes, we were on our own and delighting in our independence. We actually spent more time with the escuelita that Avivara runs (the afterschool program in one of the villages) and venturing out to see the other schools with which Avivara has affiliated. To meet the teachers in the various villages, to hear the stories and needs, to learn about the impact of education on the lives of these students, to meet scholarship students and hear their plans - all speak to the importance of the work of Avivara. I'm so excited to have had a chance to see and participate in their work. And I'm hoping that our experiences will lead others to take a chance. That web site is clear, easy to navigate, chock full of information; but the best source of information and support lies in the people of Avivara. It was a great trip and if I could add stars to the rating, I would.
I have been a supporter of Avivara for 9 years, and have been in many of the schools in Guatemala that Avivara supports. This is truly an effective organization that is having a positive impact on the students and schools it supports, most of which are in remote rural areas of the country. Funds are well managed and administrative costs are very low.
Avivara is a very hands on, high impact organization doing some incredible work in rural areas of Guatemala. For over 7 years Avivara has provided funding and educational opportunities for promising students who otherwise would likely not have been able to continue their education. Today almost 90 students are able to continue their studies because of Avivara support, ranging from grade school to university levels. In addition, Avivara funding supports rural schools directly with teachng materials and training by the mostly volunteer Avivara staff, who are all trained educators. Avivara is exremely efficient, with about 94% of funds going directly to programs in 2014. If you believe that education is a key element to improving lives, I urge you to support Avivara.
By limiting the geographic scope of its work, Avivara is able to maximize its effectiveness. And the results of the scholarship program are measured by the number of supported students who graduate from high school, undergraduate and professional schools. Wow.
I started a monthly donation to Avivara after a presentation in my hometown inspired me and offered a very direct way I could help and knowing that my donation would have the best chance to have a big value relative to my modest resources. More than that, I continue to see that Gary and Ann provide many layers of benefits to people across many boundaries. Besides their personal and focused efforts for school children in Guatemala, they have given many people cross-cultural travel and learning and sharing opportunities. People from Seattle and the surrounding state have had opportunities to go visit and personally add their efforts in Guatemala to help the schools directly, such as painting and doing repairs and interacting with the local schools in the mountain villages. I have also had the opportunity to meet people from Guatemala that have come to the Seattle area. It is a wonderful sharing that goes personally and directly both ways. Thank you so much for the hard work and inspiration.
This is a small non profit that really gets the money to the ground in the best of ways. By asking teachers and parents what they need to make the educational experience a success. Since every school is different the needs are not necessarily the same. This is reflected in supplying funds to feed the students, bringing in books where none existed or provide a scholarship for a student desiring to continue with their education. I am happy knowing our contributions are really making a difference for people in Guatemala.
We are donors who have volunteered with Avivara for about 9 years. On our annual trips to Guatemala we have watched this small organization generate large impacts on students of 4 to 24 years of age, on rural schools, on teachers and their curriculum, and on the personal lives of parents and family members. Their insightful way of seeking input from the communities they serve and then responding to their needs has resulted in more than 100 sponsored students pursuing learning opportunities that they had never dreamed of. They address all the needs of students and families, provide counseling, and make whatever arrangements are needed to ensure the success of individuals and entire schools. No wonder their help is so attractive and desired by the rural Guatemalan schools that have been all but abandoned by their government. I highly recommend Avivara as an organization that will make excellent use of your support.
Three trips to Guatemala and a 4 year association with the founders of this organization have convinced me of three things: (1) the beauty of Guatemala and the resilience and resoursefulness of the Guatemalan people; (2) the tremendous needs to develop an educated and fully employed population - especially in the rural areas; and (3) the need for a caring and culturally sensitive approach to assisting small communities who are struggling with poverty and a long history of neglect or repression. Avivara's approach of partnering with schools and teachers to help achieve improvements that they choose is one that works. Increased student attendence, teacher capabilities and study opportunities are immediately available. Their personal friendships with parents and students are lasting and genuine. They have accommplished a lot in a short time and with few resources. They select their projects and plan carefully for their success - making the best possible use of donations of money and time. I would recommend Avivara to anyone interested in making a positive impact on the lives of rural Guatemalans.
Avivara has been dedicated, thoughtful, transparent, and quietly radical since its inception. The Avivara team of three builds relationships over time with rural schools and scholarship students, serving as mentors, sounding boards, and resource conduits without imposing an external vision on the already capable and motivated people of Guatemala. It is thrilling to see freshly minted university graduates, confident high school students, and improving schools as a result of their hard work.
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.
I am very selective about where I donate annually. I've been an Avivara donor since the organization's inception about 10 years ago. Avivara's impact has grown steadily year after year and I'm astounded by how much they are able to accomplish with their funds. It's an extraordinarily well run organization and it's run with great love, compassion and total involvement of the communities it serves. I regularly receive The Blackboard, a beautiful e-newsletter with the most beautiful photos and text that show me how well my donations are used. I always feel uplifted after reading them and only wish I had piles of money to give. I particularly love the profiles of educational scholarship recipients that are provided in the newsletter. Even if you're not a donor, check out The Blackboard on the Avivara site. You'll learn a lot about Guatemala and how precious education is to children and families.
I have volunteered with Avivara the past 3 years and can highly recommend this organization. They are well organized and very efficient. An amazing amount of their efforts help an important group of students in Guatemala and I can recommend them completely. A very informative web site is also available to explain all that they do. It's a great nonprofit with an impressive group of organizers.
I have worked for this organization as a volunteer for over 10 years. During that time I have watched it grow in its service to the teachers and students of Guatemala. I have seen its scholarship students achieve educational levels much beyond that of their parents and peers, and to use that education to serve their communities as teachers, nurses, doctors, business people, and community leaders. I also know it to be a very fiscally responsible organization, with over 92% of its expenditures going to programs, and less than 8% going towards administration and fund-raising.
I so enjoyed my visit to Guatemala in 2010 when the church group I was traveling with was hosted by Aviara. I was impressed by the organization's work, the commitment of its leadership and the enthusiasm of the children the organization strived to empower through education. It was a touching experience to see the facilities where the kids Aviara serves are educated and to have the opportunity to improve these facilities, painting and carpentry, with the children both observing and eagerly assisting. Aviara is making a difference. I keep up with the organization by viewing its website and as I do so I continue to be touched as I view the pictures of the beautiful children of Guatemala and I read about their accomplishments facilitated by Aviara and their own determination and enthusiasm for learning.
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.