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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

22 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!

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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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

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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 .

Comments ( 2 )

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avivara 10/24/2014

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.

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avivara 10/24/2014

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Carol116

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Grace28

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Jessica134

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!