Category Archives: Guatemala

Filming in Guatemala: 5 Favorite Things


Adriana and Geoff of 925 Films were an awesome duo who joined us in Guatemala this past April for a week-long filming trip, capturing the stories of families who live without electricity and lighting for our new solar light bulb initiative, launching later this summer. We got Adriana to share her top 5 favorite things about the trip…


1. It was our first time visiting any country in Central America and was an amazing experience! The people were very friendly and welcoming.

2. The food was delicious! Although I love beans, and nothing can take that love away, I will always remember my favorite lunch: we had gone to Patzicia to visit villages where their primary source of income is agriculture and I had the most delicious vegetables – you could seriously taste how fresh they were! I think even the meat eaters were envious 😉

3. I’ll always remember Zacapa, a village without ectricity, and so families have to do their evening routines by candlelight (with just ONE candle!). The first night when it became too dark to film, Geoff had to turn on his huge camera light, and the smiles on the kids’ faces were priceless! They started dancing and singing, and it reminded me of my childhood growing up. It made me realize that these kids are missing a very important part of their childhood – from being able to do their homework at night, to playing with their friends until bed time.



4. In Patzicia, after we had spoken to a woman and her son all day, she gave me a beautiful traditional cloth that she had made. She thanked us for what we were doing to help women and families in her community and told us how important it is to her that women are empowered.

5. The scenery is beautiful! We had the opportunity to travel to a few different villages hours outside of Guatemala City on both sides of the country, and from the desert to the more mountainous areas, it was all beautiful! We were also fortunate enough to stay a few days after working with Good Neighbors, and visited Antigua and Lago Atitlan – also very beautiful places!


Thanks so much for sharing with us, Adriana! Learn more about 925 Films here

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Scenes from Guatemala

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We have a film crew out in Guatemala right now  and they’re visiting our community development project sites, meeting families, and gathering awesome footage to share with you all soon! Until then, here are some snapshots from their first couple of days in…

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetFilming a father in the community of La Fragua, a community about three hours from Guatemala City known for its dry, hot weather conditions and the extreme poverty that many families live in.  Homes are usually made of little more than wood sticks and metal sheets.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOne of our film crew members, Adriana, playing peek-a-boo at a local community library.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIn Patzicia, students at a Good Neighbors school gather around to watch a video during computer class.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetStudying hard in the library at a Good Neighbors after-school center! Or are we distracting them? 😉

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetGetting their after-school snack at this fruit stand on their walk home. Juicy fruit on a hot day…who can resist?

More photos and updates of their trip to come!





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Our LA Marathon Runners: Meet Katrin!


Our Meet the Runners series continues this week and we’re introducing you to the lovely Katrin! Katrin is a fifth grade teacher in Tampa, Florida but she grew up living in Virginia, Kansas, and Indiana. She attended Ball State University and double majored in Elementary Education and Spanish, and earned her Masters’ degree from Nova Southeastern University.  She’s flying all the way out here to run the LA Marathon with us and we’re thrilled to have her on our team—and so glad she had time to answer our top 5 questions:

Q: Hey, Katrin! What made you lace up your running shoes and join our team for the LA Marathon?

It has always been on my bucket list to run a marathon before I turn 30, and since I turn 30 in July, I was running out of time to meet my goal!  My friend Adriana mentioned that she was going sign up to run a marathon and I told her I would love to do it with her. So I signed up and have been training ever since.

Q: How’s your training going so far and what keeps you motivated?

My training is going very well.  At times, it’s hard to get out there and run the miles but I love a challenge, and when I say I’m going to do something, I give it 110%. Training for this marathon is no different. My goal is to run the whole marathon without walking, so that’s what gets me out there every week to do my super long runs.  I just hit the 20-mile mark and it was an amazing feeling to run that far.  It helps that I have a lot of great friends and family from all over that are supporting me and keeping me motivated—as well as Ryan Gosling pictures to look at during my long runs. :)

Q: What do you love to do in your free time?

I love traveling, watching sports, working out, hanging out with friends and family, watching my television shows, and reading.

Q: What’s a fun fact about yourself that not many people know?

I’ve been lucky to have visited over 20 countries!  I love to meet new people, see new things,  and gain new and unique experiences.  My big  dream is to one day be on the TV show  The Amazing Race.

Q: And lastly, what drew you to our Project Cookstoves?

Adriana told me about Good Neighbors and their Project Cookstoves, so I looked it up and could not believe the startling facts that I read, such as children spending their days collecting firewood instead of going to school.  As a teacher, this really resonated with me because I believe education is so important. I want to do everything I can to make sure children everywhere can get an education and live a happy, healthy life.  I’m very happy that I signed on to run the LA Marathon as part of this charity team because I really want to help fundraise and support this cause.

Thanks so much, Katrin! To support Katrin, visit her fundraising page here. Check out the rest of our team here and read more Meet the Runner interviews here!

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Our LA Marathon Runners: Meet Adriana!


We have some pretty awesome runners on our LA Marathon team and we’re excited to introduce them to you over the next few weeks! Our team will be fundraising on behalf of our Project Cookstoves, which provides families with new, safe, and energy-efficient stoves to improve their health and ensure children stay in school instead of spending their days collecting firewood.

Our first featured runner is Adriana Zyskowski, a Communications and Events Manager at Youth Policy Institute in Los Angeles, CA. We got to ask her our 5 top questions:


Q: Hey, Adriana! What made you lace up your running shoes and join our team for the LA Marathon? 

Two years ago, I sat watching the LA Marathon from a window eating donuts and laughing. Last year, I went to the finish line to see my friend, Katie, who flew in from Pennsylvania run, and still laughed, thinking that 26.2 miles is unreal – why would you EVER want to do that?! This past October, however, my friend Nellie, who’s the Campaign Manager at Good Neighbors, mentioned the organization had signed on as an LA Marathon charity. So I decided that I wanted to try it out and see if I could actually commit to doing it. After another friend from Florida decided she wanted to fly out to LA and run it with me, there was no turning back!

Q: You love surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding–how’d you get into those sports?

I grew up with a group of friends and boyfriend who are into these sports. I’ve always been into unique activities and ideas, and I was always drawn to these sports. I think they’re fun, and make you feel good!


Q: When you’re not out on another athletic adventure, what else keeps you busy?

I love traveling and am constantly trying to come up with the next place to visit. I also love the beach, reading, and hanging out with friends and family.

Q: How’s your marathon training going so far and what’s keeping you motivated?

I have on and off weeks (and those off weeks are ROUGH!) but I’m keeping motivated for a few reasons: Katie from PA reminded me that I get to run on the beach every day instead of in freezing East Coast weather and so not to take it for granted; I want to prove to myself I can do this; and if my family and friends are going to support me and Good Neighbors, I better make it to the finish line!


Q: Lastly, what drew you to our Project Cookstoves cause?

I’ve always had a passion for supporting projects in developing countries. I am grateful for how I grew up, and can’t imagine living in a place where a stove—something a lot of us take for granted—is one of the most dangerous objects in a household in Guatemala. I’ve known Nellie for over 3 years now. When she told me some of the surprising and sad facts about cookstoves, like how the toxic exhaust leads to 1.9 million premature deaths annually, or that children’s futures are affected because they spend hours gathering biofuels instead of going to school, I knew that I wanted to support the cause. Growing up in a household where my father was a teacher and our entire family values education, I know that it’s not fair that children miss out on an education because they have to risk their lives to live. I want to help ensure that families aren’t dying prematurely and that children have the chance at an education.

Thanks for sharing with us, Adriana! Support Adriana’s fundraising campaign here and check out our other runners here. Next week we’ll be featuring our Team Captain, Tony Rodriguez!

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