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!
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.
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.
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
I want to thank Gary, Ann and Gustavo for the noble work being done in the rural schools of Guatemala is impressive work, have the attitude that we should all , attitude change , to be better. Since two thousand eight, SCHOOL VILLAGE THE TUNINO , Sumpango , it has benefited the entire community, for the support of school supplies for students , teaching materials for teachers, we now have a technology room , in which prepare students for giving them the computer course . Everything has changed thanks to quicken and his big board GARY , ANN AND GUSTAVO . Publicly I hereby want to thank all the support they have given us , they are people who generate peace , warmth and humility. GOD BLESS YOU ALWAYS .
Jorge Luis is the director of Escuela Oficial Rural Mixta in Tunino. If his English seems a little stilted, it is because he only speaks Spanish, and used a translating program to express his thoughts in English. Also, he would probably be better classified as a client, rather than as a volunteer. We very much appreciate his kind words and the effort he made to post this review.
Jorge Luis es el director de la escuela en Tunino, Sumpango. Gracias a el por sus palabras amables. El ha hecho mucho para adelantar la escuela y los maestros en Tunino. Gracias, Jorge.
Creating happiness, empowering children, families, teachers. No one could ask or expect more from an NGO. I know the village where Ann and Gary live, and have seen first hand the results of their efforts and the true love and esteem in which they are held by their friends and neighbours.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.
A focused non-profit dedicated to education where education is hard to find, the hill of Guatemala. Low overhead and quality participants.
I am a retired educator and current photographer. I was the guest of Avivara in Feb. 2013 and was able to visit 4 of the 11 schools that they are assisting while I was in Guatemala. These schools were in very poor remote mountain villages where access to quality education has not been a priority. Because of the sustained effort to empower the teaching staffs at these schools, not by dictating what they should do, but rather by listening to the needs of the individual schools expressed by the teachers and administrators, Avivara has made a lasting, highly positive impact on the lives of the students and the school community in these villages. Contributions such as providing desks and chairs to a school where the students were sitting on the floor, securing white boards where there were none in any class room, donating computer labs and software so that the students can learn computer skills and connect to the greater world and no longer be isolated in their villages, to bringing visiting teachers from the US to give science demonstrations lessons, and providing current textbooks and supplies to classes where the teachers had nothing provided by the country's Department of Education. Avivara is also providing scholarships to students that have a desire to pursue a college education and bring that knowledge back to improve their communities.
I spent about a week volunteering with Avivara in one of their many schools. The more time I spent talking to the children and teachers, the more I realized what an amazing job they really do. From providing school supplies and books to building libraries and bathrooms, Avivara is an extremely important non-profit in the highlands of Guatemala. Apart from funding schools, they also provide scholarships for high school and university students. Avivara manages to give all of tees services while working on a pretty tight budget. Very little money goes to the administration. However, the positive changes that they have made are unmeasurable.
I am an adult who co-led a group of teenagers to Guatemala this last summer and we spent a few days volunteering with Avivara. I was incredibly impressed with this organization. Gary, Ann and Gustavo have a deep passion for promoting education among the youth of Guatemala which is evident in every action they do. Their priority of working with individual schools and youth to promote each ones' goals, instead of imposing their own ideas demonstrates clearly the love and respect that they have for those they serve. Additionally, their emphasis on not just volunteering but on educating the visiting youth on the systemic causes of injustice, especially as they pertain to the education system in Guatemala, gives context to the service they are providing. Trips and volunteer opportunities were well-organized and run and very safe and efficient. Working with them was an incredible experience.
I was in Guatemala in May of this year - the latest in many trips there over the past 9 years. During that time, I have been involved in 2 humanitarian projects and been exposed to several others. As a result, I have become convinced that one of the keys to helping the people of the rural areas (and in particular, the people from an indigenous background) is education. Anyone who has spent any amount of time in these areas knows that far too often, families cannot afford to have their children attend school past the sixth grade and sometimes not even that long. A friend (with similar experiences) had discovered Avivara through their website, told me about it and we were both quite interested. Based on information from the website, we felt that Avivara was a good project with the right intentions, very transparent in respect to their financial affairs, and with sustainable goals.
I contacted Gary (Avivara’s Executive Director) some time prior to my trip and he indicated he would be pleased to meet with me when I was in the Antigua area. I was travelling with my grand-daughter (a university student studying to become an art therapist) and called Gary from Antigua expecting to meet with him for a brief discussion. Much to our delight, he offered to pick us up and take us to some of the locations where Avivara is active. He and his wife Ann arrived early in the morning at the house where we were staying and off we went. After a stop to pick up Gustavo (who is the Guatemalan Project Director for Avivara) we were off to three of the rural villages to visit the schools there.
At the schools, we met the Directors (Principals) and several teachers, and saw some of the direct results of Avivara's impact. One initiative that struck me as unique was seeing a large banner on several of the school walls with that individual school's mission statement. I think it's very unlikely that the most of the schools would have thought of doing this without the urging and guidance of Avivara. What a great way to get the school staff focused on what they hope to accomplish with their students. Gary also spoke of sponsoring a forum at the end of each year where all the directors get together and compare notes. At this meeting, they are encouraged to examine their accomplishments over the past year and to set goals for the future. I can imagine how thankful the directors must be for this opportunity.
We spent most of the day with Gary, Ann and Gustavo and talked a lot about their experiences, successes, stumbles, lessons learned, etc. We were also able to witness first-hand how they were welcomed with genuine warmth and respect at the schools we visited and the obvious physical results of Avivara’s involvement with those schools (improved facilities, computer classrooms, etc.)
My impression after a day with the project is that Gary, Ann and Gustavo have taken the time and done the research (often at great personal sacrifice and hardship) to learn what the communities need and (more importantly) want. Then they have worked with the community to provide it. Bottom line - a great project, very well done! I have no hesitation recommending Avivara to anyone looking for a way to help those less fortunate.
If you have any questions, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I learned of Avivara through my sister and brother-in-law, who have been working with and supporting this group fo more than 7 years. My wife and I met Gary, Ann and Gustavo in 2013 when we visited Guatemala and had the opportunity to visit a couple of schools that Avivara works with. Avivara is committed to partnering with and supporting local rural schools, as opposed to coming in and telling them what they need to do. This truly is a committed group.
I found Avivara while searching for an internship in which to conduct field research for my masters' research/thesis. My research is on teacher perceptions of bilingual intercultural education in Guatemala, cultural identity of indigenous children and language as influential to cultural and academic development. When I read through Avivara's website and saw their mission, I knew instantly that I wanted to work with the organization. Their mission to improve access to and quality of education for rural communities in Guatemala couldn't have aligned more perfectly to my passion and future career as an international development practitioner in the field of education. After initial contact with Gary and Ann, the rest was history and I worked with them for two months last summer (2012).
I worked as a teacher's assistant in San Jose El Yalu, and although challenging, the experience was fulfilling, fun and life-altering. I worked extensively with one first grade teacher, learned every student by name and where they were academically, and spent more time with the children who needed extra attention. Although I was only in the school for a little over a month, the progress made by one little girl in particular was so rewarding. She was an introvert and did not speak, read or write much, but after working with her a little each day, she eventually could pronounce and write a few letters!
What I love the most about Avivara, is Gary, Ann, and Gustavo's true dedication and commitment to improving the quality of education for every school, teacher and child with whom they work. Their love for what they do is infectious and evident in how well they know every family and teacher. The schools aren't just numbers or projects, they are individuals, families, communities. Quality is more important than quantity. Additionally, Gary and Ann were extremely supportive in helping me become acclimated to Antigua and the surrounding communities, and were always available for any questions or concerns. I would without a doubt recommend working with Avivara, and hope for the opportunity to work with the organization in the near future!
I first came into contact with Avivará two years ago while studying Spanish in La Antigua, Guatemala. Before arriving, I had searched the internet for a non-profit organization with education as its main focus and was directed to Avivará. When I responded to the "Communicate with Us" with my email address, I was pleasantly surprised to hear back the next day from Ann Austin, one of the founders of the organization. We quickly worked out the arrangements so that we could meet when I got to Antigua. Being an ELL/ESL teacher, I was delighted to learn that I could volunteer in the after-school program that Ann and Gustavo Valle, both teachers, were running in a nearby village. I loved my time with the children in La Escuelita, but Ann and Gustavo also brought me to several rural schools supported by Avivará. This experience touched my heart in a very powerful way because I saw the harsh realities of life- and school- in the Guatemalan countryside.
I also learned about Avivará’s scholarship program, and how they provide supplies to schools based on what the teachers themselves rate as their most urgent needs. While Ann and Gustavo do most of the teacher and school interaction, Gary Teale, Ann’s husband, is in charge of financial oversight and accountability for Avivará. Together, the three have created a highly effective organization for achieving their mission to support the needs of rural schools. This was a short but very powerful introduction to the mission of Avivará, and I knew that this was just the kind of organization I wanted to support financially, as well as with more volunteer work in the future.
This summer I was privileged to return to Guatemala for five weeks and again work with Avivará. During my first week, I helped in the after-school program and attended scholarship meetings with Gustavo and Ann, the students, and their parents. These meetings were emotionally very moving as both students and parents shared their hopes and dreams for the future as well as the hard work, the challenges, and the sacrifices required to pursue an education that we in the United States often take for granted. I saw clearly how valuable the scholarship program is, and also the student accountability mechanism that Avivará has built into its program through these meetings.
The highlight of my stay was volunteering in the school in El Yalú. I spent one week in a first grade classroom assisting the classroom teacher and familiarizing myself in general with the teachers and students and the school day. After my orientation week, I began teaching English classes in the third through sixth grades. Students and teachers were very friendly and eager to participate and made me feel very welcome. The teachers also showed me the areas in the English curriculum in which they wanted me to focus, which made lesson planning much easier. I felt that the school community, including the director, the teachers, and the students, had enthusiastically embraced me and made me feel welcome. I can honestly say that my experiences in the classroom were joyful, and I felt a real sense of sadness when it was time to say good bye.
For me, the heart of successful volunteer work is knowing that we receive much more than we give as we meet new people, different cultures and languages, and enter into new situations. I experienced a dedicated teaching staff working in a remote location, enduring a lengthy daily commute by bus, working with meager resources and students who have huge learning obstacles to be overcome, and doing all of this with a cheerful, loving, and positive spirit. They taught me, not only strategies for keeping students engaged and the power of handmade teaching materials, but the power of the human spirit to transcend difficult circumstances. For all that I received this summer, I say a heart-felt thank you to the El Yalú community and to Avivará for bringing us together. I know that I have grown so much, not only as a teacher, but as a person, and I hope very much to return next summer and continue what I have begun. ¡Muchísimas gracias!
While on an educational research trip to the Antigua area I had the chance to meet Gary, Ann, and Gustavo, Avivara's co-founders. I was Immediately impressed with their inspired dedication to their mission of serving the indigenous rural areas with much needed educational supplies and infrastructure support. After observing Ann's multi-level homework-helper after-school program in San Pedro, I joined Ann, Gary, and Gustavo on a field trip to three of the rural schools Avivara supports. This experience left an indelible impression of the way beauty and poverty coexist in rural Guatemala. The children and teachers were kind and generous and gladly extended open arms to our somewhat disruptive visits. It became obvious that Avivara's help in these impoverished places was lovingly appreciated and is making a significant difference in these student's lives and in their teacher's ability to more effectively promote learning in the classroom. With Guatemalan public school system drastically underfunded, particularly in the indigenous impoverished areas, Avivara has stepped up and provided crucial supplies, support and hope for a better future for the most needy. Education can be a way out of impoverishment and Avivara is in place and in a place to make that happen. There's much more work to be done.
I found Avivara while conducting field research for my master's dissertation. My dissertation is on education for impoverished children within Guatemala.
In the United States, we are told that if we work hard in school we can become anything. We also believe that education opens doors to a fantastic life. In guatemala however, many children, especially from impoverished rural areas can only hope for a few years of basic schooling before embarking on a lifetime of manual labor in the farmlands of guatemala. Projects like Avivara are now in place to help these children dream beyond their present means.
Avivara is an excellent nonprofit that tries its best to help children in complete poverty have better schools where there is a lack of funding. It was through Avivara that I was able to really understand the bigger picture. They connected me to several people for interviews and tours of three of the schools that they work with -- El Yalu, El Rosario, San Jose Pacul.
I am truly thankful for their help and the opportunities they provided me for my research. I hope in return my research can help the organization and the children which I have met while being here in Guatemala.
My daughter and son-in-law (Kristin and Danny) visited AVIVARA a couple of years ago. They have wonderful reports about the dedicated staff and the impact they are making on the disadvantaged children in the area. Donations made to this organization are utilized efficiently and effectively.
I met Gary and Ann of Avivara through a friend and ended up visiting their headquarters while traveling in Guatemala in 2011. While visiting their home I was struck by their dedication: rooms filled with supplies being packaged for distribution to schools, photos of the children they serve, and a clear passion for their work. Furthermore, I was very impressed by the amount they accomplish with limited funding. Avivara is a great example of the difference that two dedicated people can make in improving our world. I highly recommend this non-profit and hope that they are able to expand their work in the future.
In February, I helped lead a group of 10 high school students from the Seattle area on a service learning experience in Guatemala through Avivara. From the initial contact to the follow-up after the trip, Avivara has been nothing less than excellent. I was initially nervous about starting this type of trip at our school, but became confident through Avivara's guidance. Gary, Ann, Catherine, and Gustavo were outstanding guides, organizing and helping us with all the details throughout the experience. I would highly recommend Avivara for anyone looking for a solid group service learning experience.
My fiance and I spent four months in Guatemala between May and August 2011. I was working as an education policy intern with USAID during that time, and Avivira helped my fiance locate a physical therapy internship in a hospital in Antigua. Neither of us had been to Guatemala before, so we were understandably nervous before we left. Avivira greatly helped us with information and specific answers to our questions before we left. The project staff was incredibly responsive to our concerns and always responded promptly to any emails we sent. Upon arriving in Guatemala City, Avivira staff met us at the airport and took care of everything to ensure an easy transition. They were very informative, especially regarding safety concerns and locating essential shops and services in Antigua. They dropped us off directly at our homestay, which they had arranged in advance. The homestay turned out to be fantastic, and we honestly did not have a single complaint about Avivira the entire time we were in Guatemala. The organization was there to assist us whenever we had questions or concerns. Their local expertise was especially helpful during the first few weeks in the country. I can't say enough great things about this organization. Their work in supporting primary schools in rural villages around Antigua is incredibly important, and their support of volunteers who come to Guatemala to make a difference is impressive.
My friend and I are both part of our school's Engineers Without Borders student chapter, and developed a proposal that was funded by scholarships and private donations. Our goal was to see how our collective experience in developing country engineering might be of use in Guatemala.
As we worked on our proposed project goals, we were able to use Gary and Ann as excellent resources for every aspect of our trip, and because we were able to visit communities that Avivara had an established presence, we were quickly able to develop a trusting relationship and get a very honest and candid perspective from the community leaders. This process would have taken us weeks, perhaps months, to develop and we would never have been able to gather the information and data in our two weeks that we were able to obtain.
Because Avivara is primarily involved in improving education and related projects, our engineering-related goals were a new experience for them as well. I was amazed at how resourceful and flexible everyone was that we interacted with, and I am still processing all of the experiences that we were able to have. Needless to say, our project would NEVER been as overwhelmingly successful at what we were trying to accomplish without the help of Avivara.
Our goal is to develop an ongoing project and sufficient funding to collaborate with Avivara in future endeavors in the Antigua region, and when we return, we definitely look forward to working with them again!
Soy un maestro de educación primaria que ha trabajado en la Escuela de El Yalú, del municipio de Sumpango, en el país de Guatemala, en esta escuela trabajé durante siete años, una aldea en la que la población es de escasos recursos, donde los niños en la mayoría de días llega a la escuela sin una tortilla o pan en el estomago, ahora trabajo en la Aldea Rancho Alegre, siempre de Sumpango, en esta aldea la situación no es muy diferente, pero cada día debo luchar por darle lo mejor a mis alumnos. Pero esta labor ahora es fácil gracias a la ayuda que me brinda Avivará, quienes me ha dado material didáctico que utilizo con mis alumnos y cada día ellos están en la disponibilidad de ayudarme y ayudar a mis niños con cuadernos, lapices, borradores y muchas cosas mas, por todo esto y muchas ayudas mas que me han brindado mis niños llegan mas motivados a estudiar.
I went to Guatemala earlier this year to see for myself the work that Avivara is doing to help students and parents and teachers in poor, small villages. I was very impressed with the approach the organization takes to its mission. It is analytical and amounts to a wholistic rather than band-aid approach. That is to say, Ann, Gary and Gustavo have put a lot of thought into how to get the best results in reducing poverty and misery of poor villagers and stem the tide of famlies that give up and move to the horrid slums of Guatemala City to try to eke out a living. They concluded that by giving the type of support that will help keep children in school, so they can go on to highschool and even beyond, where they can learn a skill or profession that, in turn, will help support and sustain their families in their home villages. I was also impressed with their bottom-up approach to giving aid -- which is to asking (rather than deciding themselves) what the teachers, parents and children need to assist in school development and increase the changes of students staying in school, then letting the locals do their job. I have rarely seen such dedication and thought put into a charitable organization. There is no waste and no b.s.-- these people are serious, love their work and know how to do it.
I first visited Guatemala in 2006 and saw firsthand that the situation in the indigenous areas was a wake up call to what REAL poverty looks like. After researching Avivara's goals for education, especially for young indigenous women, I determined that they handled their finances very judiciously. They carefully use their donor's contributions to award scholarships to highly motivated students and provide school supplies and equipment to needy schools while keeping their administrative costs to an absolute minimum. I wish them the best and will continue to support them financially in the future.
I have known Ann and Gary Teale for years. I have taught in elementary, middle school and high school. I taught with Gary for many years in a K-8 school in Seattle. I had the pleasure of teaching Ann's daughter (Gary's step-daughter twice) in middle school (7th and 8th grade math) and in high school math at Holy Names Academy in Seattle. As a teacher with a modest income, I research carefully where I donate my hard earned income. Loving education as I do and after reading "Three Cups of Tea" and the following "Stones Into Schools" both by Greg Mortenson I am convinced the way to benefit the world is through education, especially for girls. When you educate a boy, you educate an individual. When you educate a girl, you educate a whole family, and a community. I believe this to be true and the last best hope for the middle east, Pakistan and Afghanistan along with Central America, along with any other depressed populations of the world. I donate to Avivara because I know that every dollar is handled with respect and integrity with the focus on the ones who need the money the most. There is no question that Ann and Gary are good stewards of the money and the students in their care. I feel very excited that the little that I can donate is making a big difference to a female student in Guatemala and that this will enhance the rest of her life and also everyone her life touches, her children and her future students. Hurray! Life is good when you can give. I feel blessed, Judy Hall
This is an amazing organization!! I have seen through firsthand experience the positive impact that Avivara has made on children and their families in communities in Guatemala by empowering the community and working alongside them. As part of the SAGE program, I had an excellent orientation with Gary and Ann about Guatemalan communities and Guatemalan culture in general and I got to spend some time in the afterschool learning center with some great kids. After seeing how well-utilized each resource is at Avivara and how far my money goes, I am deeply committed to this organization. There is so much more I could write here, but let me say that Avivara has staff members with heart and integrity. They dedicate their lives to understanding and improving the lives of others and at the same time help people like me better understand why there is such a critical need to support the education of youth in Guatemala. Thanks Avivara!!!!
This was a positive experience. I enjoyed learning about the culture and staying in someone's home. For me personally, I think that as a group, staying in the hotel is probably the best arrangement and the lines of communication are more straightforward. The homestays might be a consideration after the service project (s) is/are completed. In my mind, Maybe this could be a two week (or more) commitment. We could give one solid week of service and transition into other travel activities, rather then mixing it up each day worked. Gary, Ann, Catherine and Gustavo were delightful and positive leaders during this time in Guatemala.