1ST UMC STUDENTS VISIT TREES FOR LIFE

June 2, 2011 by

A group of children in Kansas are helping save the lives of children around the world.

The 23 children aged 5 to 9, from 1st United Methodist Church of Wichita, have been raising money to help plant Moringa trees as part of their Day Camp activities. The students first learned about the highly nutritious Moringa tree and its potential health and medicinal properties for fighting hunger and disease in developing countries. The students then gave presentations to the numerous adult Sunday school classes in their church and collected donations.

The students came to the Trees for Life office in Wichita to present the funds they had raised – a check for $2,501.10. They were thrilled to learn from David Kimble, Executive Director of Trees for Life, that each dollar they raised and donated represented one tree to be planted, so their efforts could help thousands of children around the world.

1ST UMC DAY CAMP STUDENTS DONATE $2,501.10

 Why did they do it? The students were articulate in answering this question:
“Because it will help lots of hungry people.”
“The Moringa tree is really good for your health.”
“Moringa has lots of good nutrition, and it can prevent diseases.”

1ST UMC DAY CAMP STUDENTS VOLUNTEER AT TREES FOR LIFE

 
 
 
 
The students and their teachers then spent the rest of the afternoon working with Pat Felton, Volunteer Coordinator, on preparing the Moringa tree booklets that Trees for Life distributes around the world. For those couple of hours they filled the room with their joy and enthusiasm for helping others.
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MUSIC FOR NICARAGUA

May 17, 2011 by

In 2009 Trees for Life  President Balbir Mathur spoke at an international conference Campus of Excellence in Madrid, Spain.  This was the third year for the conference which was founded by Jose Calvo, Director, Campus of Excellence. Balbir was presented a with a world-renowned Manuel Rodriguez classical guitar by Manuel Rodriguez, President of the Manuel Rodriguez Guitar Company. The Manuel Rodriguez company has been creating Spanish style guitars for 4 generations.  In conversation with Balbir, on behalf of the Manuel Rodriguez Guitar Company, Manuel agreed to donate 200 guitars to the Trees for Life partner libraries in Nicaragua if Trees for Life and Books for Life –Nicaragua would raise funds to cover the shipping and import fees.

Balbir Mathur receiving a Manuel Rodriguez guitar

 

 Dedicated TFL volunteers and supporters quickly raised the funds for associated expenses and the guitars were soon on their way.  On May 20, Balbir will travel to Nicaragua to participate in the dedication and distribution of the guitars.  Representatives from the 53 Books for Life Nicaragua libraries will be on hand when Jesus Santiago, President, Books for Life –Nicaragua and Balbir present the guitars for the benefit of children who now not only have libraries and computers but also the ability to make music.

 

To learn more about Trees for Life and its programs please join us at Trees for Life.

TREES FOR LIFE – TARGETED

May 12, 2011 by

 

The Target Corporation (the store with the red bull’s eye) has a reputation built on service – service to their customers, their team members and their community. Kenton Lindsey and his band of seven facilities management employees descended on Trees for Life this past Tuesday with tools in hand. When the dust had cleared they had replaced and repaired the outside security lights, cleaned all of the window air conditioners and replaced the pneumatic actuator valves on the heat exchangers.

Target Volunteer in action

At Trees for Life, we are very grateful to this group of dedicated and giving employees of  Target for their community volunteer service activities. On an informational note, Target is one of America’s leading corporate philanthropists. They give of their time, talent and expertise and donate hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours to countless community projects across the county.

Join us at Trees for Life or Books for Life for more information about us.

EARTH DAY, APRIL 22

April 16, 2011 by

Earth Day 2011 is rapidly approaching and Trees For Life wants to invite you to take an active part in this years celebration on April 22. Earth Day was founded by United States Senator Gaylor Nelson as an environmental teach-in first held onApril 22, 1970. The event was inspired by an oil spill off of the Santa Barbara coast and it was Senator Nelson’s intent to inspire an awareness and appreciation for the environment. The event became an international event in 1990 when 141 nations participated. Earth Day is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and each year is celebrated in more than 175 countries.

Trees for Life would like to express our sincerest apprecation to the thousands of volunteers, representating hundreds of schools and organizations, who over the past 30 years have dedicated their time and resources to be our partners in planting millions of trees around the world.

What are you doing for Earth Day? Check us out at Trees for Life. Our site contains a lot of information about how you can become involved. Want to plant a tree? Take a look at our Tree Adventure Kit  or our Moringa Book .

Want to know more about Earth Day – look at the sites below for more information.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EarthDay

http://earthday.enviroling.org/history.html

http://www.ed.gov/blog/2011/04/earth-day

STOVES FOR GUATEMALA

March 11, 2011 by

 

First United Methodist Mission Group

David Kimble, Executive Director, Trees for Life with Bonnie Laycock (center) Director of Missions and Outreach, First United Methodist Church, Wichita, Kansas, and committee members Carolyn Vosberg (l) Lisa Guinn, Trudee Little, and Peggy Brant (r).

Bonnie and members of the Missions group were visiting TFL to tell of their experience in building three stoves in a rural village in Guatemala. They used the building plans that were provided by Trees for Life. Following a philosophy of participation and partnership the Mission group from the First United Methodist Church plans on returning to Guatemala to assist in building additional stoves. The selected families will raise their portion of the funds with the mission program providing the remaining funding. To assist the local community the stoves are constructed using local labor and materials.

 

Open Cooking Stove

  The new stoves are such an improvement over the open fires of the past. No need to worry about the children falling into the fire and the house is no longer filled with smoke. In homes using traditional open cooking fires the incidence of severe respiratory illness, especially among women, the main cooks, is very high and a major health concern. It takes only 3 to 4 sticks of wood to cook a meal instead of 12 to 15. Following are the basic construction steps used in construction of the highly efficient stove.

Steps in Stove Building

 

 

 

 

 
 
  
  
 
 
 
 

VOLUNTEER MARATHONER VISITS TREES

March 3, 2011 by

 

 

Keith Donohue, founder of 50give, stopped by Trees for Life to spend his day in Kansas with us. Keith is on a marathon road trip to volunteer in each of the 50 states plus Canada, Mexico, and Washington D.C.. Keith is driven by his passion for volunteering and helping others. He stated; “I hope that the trip will encourage others to give unconditionally and will provide positive press for inspiring organizations striving to make this a better world. Volunteering is the star of this trip, I am just the side-show”.

 

Keith working on a teaching module

Keith has selected a wide variety of activities for which to volunteer for in each of the 53 sites he will visit before ending up in Vancouver in June. By the end of his quest Keith will have worked on a Spanish language teaching module for Trees for Life, been in a pet therapy program, a recycling program, a horse therapy program for autistic children, a fund-raising program for Ronald McDonald’s, a homeless program, an art program for kids, a humane society, a cancer center, a school for the deaf, a farm rescue program, a prison program, and will end with a bike kitchen in Vancouver. Half way through the journey will be a half-time party at Tommy Joe’s including, a special event with Falling Whistles, an advocacy group that aids the children of war in the Congo.

To join Keith on his involved road trip, log on to www.50give.com or, even more, become a 5-star pit crew. Check out his web site for his blog and how to become a member of his pit crew.

Valentine Volunteers

February 24, 2011 by

Trees for Life hosted a recognition luncheon on Valentines Day to honor our wonderful volunteers.

 Pat Felton and David Kimble recognize Momtchil Borrisov for his volunteer work at Trees for Life.

Trees for Life – Volunteers – -Nancy Benefiel, Momtchil Borrisov, Kelly & Maria Brown, Karen Carney, Marti Coulson, Karen & Richard Crowson Diana Cubbage, Shipra Deori, Jenice Duong, Lee Earnest, Mark Earnest, Martha Fair, Richard & Joann Farnsworth, Emily France, Dorothy Haner, Jon Harvell, Ron Helton, Joanette Hickey, Tat Hidano, Nicole Hoyt, Max Johnson, Shiela Kumar, Pamela Larkin, Ken Larson, Aimee Leisy, Hector Lorca, Chuck Macy, Ken Mastroly, Marjorie McClure, Jack Murphy, Mary Politt, Mattie Predmore, Amanda Roadhouse, Adam Smith, Linnel Steib, Jenny Stover-Brown, Clara Stover-Brown, Molly Stover-Brown, Dow Summers, Gayla Sustar, Jason Vandecreek, Daniel VanSickle, Doug & Janet Webb, and Margalee Wright.

NEW BOARD MEMBERS; NEW PERSPECTIVES

February 5, 2011 by

The Trees for Life Board of Directors adds two new members. On Friday, January 21, 2011 the Board of Directors voted to increase their board with the addition of two new members. The new board members are Dr. Adam Smith and Jason Vandecreek. These additions to the board will add a new dimension to the vision and direction of Trees for Life. Adam brings a high level of experience in educational development and academic research, while Jason will continue to provide the ongoing knowledge and skills related to the application of an integrated advanced technology system. In my last blog post (Love – The Secret Ingredient, January 13) Adam Smith told his story. Here’s more about Jason Vandercreek.

Jason Vandecreek

Jason has a  degree in Computer Science from Kansas State University and he owns his own computer company that specializes in software development and design, systems integration and application. Jason stopped by Trees for Life about a year ago for a short visit on his way to India and like Adam found that Trees for Life had become an important part of his life. Jason found that the mission, the people and the philosophy of Trees for Life paralleled his personal beliefs. Being at TFL is a natural fit for Jason. Jason compares the similarities of his personal philosophy and operating style with that of TFL. It’s all about choices; it’s a tool, like an open source software that allows the user to make decisions that benefit the user whether that is a business client or TFL recipient. It is the process not the product: like the baker who makes bread it is about being the yeast not the beaker or the bread.

LOVE – THE SECRET INGREDIENT

January 13, 2011 by

(note: the author of this post is Dr. Adam Smith) 

What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Why, nearly a decade after I first visited  Trees forLife, do I continue to come back?

Trees for Life has an address, a website, and a staff, but one
could never visit the building or the website or work there to
be part of Trees for Life,  most people who are part of Trees for Life never have.

I think I can only explain Trees for Life through my own experience. I came here in early 2002 with the idea that I would volunteer a few months before I started another
commitment. I had heard extraordinary accolades about the place and Balbir, and so given my nature I was fairly skeptical. Nevertheless, I supported the intent of their projects and so came planning to help make a change in the world without myself being changed.

Today I’m working at a desk made of a worn hospital door on which sits an outdated but usable computer in an old school
building rented from the city of Wichita for a few dollars each year. In a few moments I will receive a call to the kind of
simple but nutritious lunch served every day (walk-ins welcome) for which everyone is asked to pay $1 to keep us conscientious of the blessing of sustenance that not everyone has. Around me I can hear people working on a project to send books and musical instruments to community-run libraries in Nicaragua. And when I came in to Trees for Life this morning I was greeted with hugs.

So what happened between then and now? My physical trajectory is easy enough to explain: a year and a half after full-time volunteer service with Trees for Life I entered graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley, earned my Ph.D., and am now a postdoctoral researcher there.

My internal trajectory eludes the one-sentence description… within a few weeks at Trees for Life I realized there was
something here I could find almost nowhere else in the world.

At first that ” something” was only apparent a few hours each week: in the morning circle where everyone gathers for a few minutes of silence then breaks to embrace and start the workday; and in the weekly “Who We Are” meetings in which we talk about not what we do but why we do it. That, something, grew when I saw the sacrifices everyone was making, such as business executives like Balbir and David eschewing their profession to live frugally on minimum-wage salaries or less. I saw the equality of our humanity when one day our lead programmers were asked to help dig up a broken sewer line, not for want of strong backs, but because we were all in this endeavor together. And I saw the birthday cards, the hugs, the laughter, and the friendships.

Then, one day, I saw the ” something” most directly. Walking through the hallway, I stopped to really look at the pictures I had seen so many times before. There were images of barefoot children smiling on swings, a man painfully hoisting on his back a crushing load of rocks, a colorful crowd focused intensely on planting their community’s first fruit tree… I felt the connection between them and me. I knew that the there was no difference between the people in my immediate Trees for Life family and these people, only distance separates us, and that is a meager barrier.

So now I live in California using state-of-the-art research facilities to understand the environment, but I spend my
vacations working on these worn hospital doors inside this old school. This is home. But I know even when I am not here I am part of Trees for Life, because that  “something” is love.

Adam B. Smith, Ph.D.
January 4, 2011
Wichita, Kansas”

Alternate Gift Giving at Trees for Life

December 16, 2010 by

 

I don’t know about you, but I am through giving gifts that don’t make a difference. I’m tired of giving gifts of neckties, boxes of candy and perfume to friends and family that already have more than they will ever use. Instead of giving them a gift that they in turn will either stack on the pile or  just “re-gift consider giving them the alternative gift of hope, a gift that will truly make a difference in a human life.  This holiday season join Trees for Life and Books for Life  where a number of alternative gift programs are available that support  those in need in developing countries. 

You can make a great difference in the lives of others by selecting the DONATE NOW to give to one of the Trees for Life programs that supports the fight against hunger in developing countries.

 

 

or you can give the gift of literacy and education by selecting DONATE NOW to donate to Books for Life which supports the development of a literacy programs  and builds Libraries in a rural villages.

 

At Trees for Life and Books for Life you can donate on behalf of a friend or family member and we will let them know of the gift given in their honor. What a wonderful way to help and recognize others.