Category Archives: News+Notes

MEET AYUNI: INDONESIA

We are fortunate to meet thousands of children around the world who are a part of our Child Sponsorship program. We get to see them develop and thrive, and we are honored to assist them on their path to becoming adults who can contribute to the growth of their community.  Read on to catch a glimpse of Ayuni’s life, one of our sponsored children from Indonesia.Ayuni1

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(Hello)

My name is Ayuni Novitasari, and I am from Indonesia. I would love to introduce a little bit about my life, my siblings, and my family.

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This is my house, and I live here with my parents, siblings, and my cute cat. Meet my mom! Her name is Fitriyanti.

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This is my younger sister Anisa, and my cute cat Angora.

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I am a joyful and happy girl. I love having fun, like any other kid. One of my favorite things to do is take my bicycle for a ride in my neighborhood.

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Someday when I grow up, I would like to be a flight attendant, but before starting my career, I would love to learn to cook and renovate my house.

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I will study hard to be smart and learn other languages. That way, I can make my dreams come true, but also make my parents and my siblings always happy.

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(Goodbye)

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Ayuni!

You can help children like Ayuni through our Child Sponsorship program! Your sponsorship will support a child with his/her education, nutrition, medical care, and more. For more information, please visit our website.

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WHY I GIVE: MEET JEFF

We have partners that pop up from all around the world–connecting hearts to form a wide-reaching web of care–but sometimes…sometimes we find them just down the hall. Jeff Suarez is an everyday business man and father who happens to work across from the GNUSA offices in downtown LA, close enough to toss a paper airplane, or share a coffee break with us. He may work in a completely different industry, but there is a thread of compassion that has linked our offices, and our hearts, in this common goal. Grab your latte and sit with us in a coffee break convo with our friend Jeff…

GNUSA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jeff: My name is Jeff Suarez. I was born and raised in LA and currently live in Valencia with my wife and two children, Mateo & Simon. I studied International Relations at USC, and lived in New York City between 2005-2010. I’ve been working at Farfetch.com since 2011 as an Account Manager.

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I got involved with GNUSA through an open house you guys had a few years ago. On the way out, I was given a package about its programs which also contained a profile of Luis, who is now my sponsored child. This was also a special season for me because it was around the same time my first son Mateo was born. I’ve been a child sponsor ever since.

GNUSA: What’s your passion behind sponsoring a child?

Jeff:  I have loved interacting with kids ever since high school. Working with kids has just always been a highlight for me. And since GNUSA works a lot with kids, it was an easy decision to sponsor Luis, and then interact with him through my sponsorship.

GNUSA: Have you ever been to other countries?

Jeff: I travelled to Europe, and my family is from the Philippines – so we go there every so often. I think for me, somehow I really related to kids in difficult circumstances around the world, and I don’t just see them, I feel what they’re going through. I know that GNUSA uses its resources to build programs and provide opportunities for these children, and I love that I’m a part of that. Anything I can do, I try.

GNUSA: What interests you more about the child sponsorship than other programs?

Jeff: I have always wanted to be part of a sponsorship program. Your office is across from mine so it just made sense for me to sponsor a child with you guys. It’s wonderful to walk into work every day and know I’m a part of what GNUSA does.

GNUSA: Since you have kids, how do you plan to introduce them to your sponsored child?

Jeff: (haha) At some point we will. My oldest is three, so we’ll probably have to wait until he gets a little older before we tell him about his brother Luis!

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I think this sponsorship experience will help me instill in my children a continuing awareness of the needs of other children and families around the world. Being from the Philippines- a third world country- my wife and I are keenly aware of issues that communities have, and that children face just to be able to survive.

GNUSA: What has sponsoring Luis for 3 years meant to you?

Jeff: Giving $35.00 a month hasn’t felt like a burden for us at all because we understand why we are giving, and exactly how it is really helping Luis.

GNUSA: Besides helping him financially, how else do you feel Luis is impacted through your sponsorship?

Jeff:  I believe I’m reassuring him that there is someone out there looking out for him. One day I hope to write him and share with him about my sons and family. I know I sure love seeing the photos and letters I get from him.

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GNUSA: Have you ever thought about a lifetime commitment with your child?

Jeff: Yea, I had never thought about it, but building a longer relationship with the sponsored child is unique. I think that would be great! Like I said before, I have two boys and it’s exciting for me as a father to see them grow. It’s no different with my sponsor child Luis – it’s such a joy to see his growth, and how he is enabled to continue moving forward.

GNUSA: What has been your favorite part of sponsoring?

Jeff: Receiving the letters and drawings from Luis. I love posting them on the fridge!

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Thank you Jeff, for sharing your story with us!  To learn more about sponsoring a child, click here.

 

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Why we support Coffee Meets Water: EQUATOR COFFEES & TEAS

We’re continuing our series of highlighting all the amazing partners of Coffee Meets Water this year.  Next up is a new partner for 2015 – Equator Coffees & Teas, based in lovely San Francisco, CA.  We had a chance to connect with Ted Stachura, Director of Coffee at Equator, who was kind enough to answer some questions for us!

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Photo Courtesy of Equator

Q: Tell us a little bit about Equator Coffees and Teas, and your favorite part about working there!

A: Equator was founded over 20 years ago on the premise of roasting the highest quality coffee and providing outstanding customer service. The company has evolved from being solely a wholesale roaster to operating a small number of coffee houses. This experience has allowed Equator to focus on our local community in a whole new way. We also feel deeply connected to the communities where coffee is grown; in addition to the many relationships we have with coffee producers around the world, Equator also co-owns a small coffee farm in Panama called Finca Sophia, near the town of Cerro Punta. The team that takes care of the Gesha variety trees on the farm help close the loop from coffee origin to roaster to cup. As Director of Coffee, my favorite part of working at Equator is helping establish new relationships with coffee growers and bringing their stories to our customers.

Q: How do you choose what types of coffee you use, and what drinks you make?

A: In our cafes, we feature a dynamic assortment of coffees that change on a monthly basis. Along with the standard espresso based beverages, we offer single-origin coffees brewed by the batch and by the cup. We curate the coffee offerings in our cafes and feel they are a representative snapshot of the depth of our coffee program overall.

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Photo Courtesy of Equator

Q: Speaking of drinks, what is your favorite coffee drink?

A: I’m a purist when it comes to coffee, I tend to drink unadorned brewed coffee and espresso but, I also enjoy an occasional cappuccino.

Q: Have you done any coffee- specific travel? If so, what are some of your favorite destinations and why?

A: It is difficult to pick one coffee producing country over another. That said, visiting Kenya was especially memorable because the coffee produced there is consistently a favorite of mine. My recent visit to Colombia was also meaningful for the deepening relationships we have established with an assortment of growers. And finally, Panama, home of our very own Finca Sophia, and so many other excellent coffee farms.

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Ted picking coffee in Colombia. Photo courtesy of Equator

Q: How important is access to clean water in regards to coffee?

A: Water plays a critical role in coffee production. Water is used to convey coffee cherries, separate dense cherries from low quality “floaters” and, ferment and wash coffee beans in the traditional wet method of processing. Perhaps most importantly, clean water is required for the health and livelihood of the people who grow coffee and their families.

Q: Why did you decide to partner with us for Coffee Meets Water?

A: Equator decided to partner with Good Neighbors because of our obsession with sustainability. The fact that this program is focused on coffee producing communities around the world helped seal the deal.

Thank you so much Ted, and everyone at Equator, for being a part of Coffee Meets Water this year!  Equator has generously donated a bunch of great perks for supporters of Coffee Meets Water – such as a Latte Art class, bags of coffee, bkr water bottles and more!  Check out the campaign here!

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COFFEE MEETS WATER SPOTLIGHT: LA Coffee Club

We’re so excited to have several coffee companies partner with us for Coffee Meets Water! We’ll be highlighting one each week during the campaign, so stay tuned to see what they have to say about coffee, water, and life!

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First up is LA Coffee Club! Founded in 2011 by Adam Scott Paul and Antone Hall, the goal of LA Coffee Club is to introduce a wider audience to local roasters in Los Angeles by offering an affordable monthly coffee subscription. We got Adam to answer a few of our questions – even though he’s currently on a trip in Amsterdam! Read below to see what he had to say!

Adam @ TEDxUSC - photo by Rios Enriquez via lacoffeeclub.com

Adam @ TEDxUSC – photo by Rios Enriquez via lacoffeeclub.com

Q: Hi Adam! Tell us a little bit about LA Coffee Club.

A: LA Coffee Club is a subscription service that delivers unbelievably fresh, locally roasted coffee – directly to your door. Every week, we feature a different local roaster – highlighting the best brews LA has to offer.

Q: How do you choose the coffee roasters you work with?

A: Since January 2012, we’ve been rotating through a list of about 40 roasters and have been letting each roaster pick the coffee they like most to feature, though that’s all about to change. I’m happy to announce a new program we are rolling out this fall called Roaster In Residence, along with our brand new space in Culver City called The Subscription Room – it’s pretty much a members only Club House!

We will be hosting quarterly reviews of all our roasters offerings and cupping each coffee out in order to find only the best of the best coffees & roasters.

Photo via lacoffeeclub.c

Photo via lacoffeeclub.com

Q: Have you done any coffee- specific travel? If so, what are some of your favorite destinations and why? 

A: I’ve yet to travel to origin, but I’ve gone on a few adventures across the US and abroad in search of other local roasters. At the time of this writing, I’m in Amsterdam – which is going through a similar transformation around specialty coffee. Coffee shops all around the city are either buying or have bought roasters and have begun roasting their own coffee – it’s really an exciting time to be a coffee lover!!

Q: What’s your favorite type of coffee?

A: Freshly roasted coffee is my favorite. The flavor begins to dissipate after about 2 weeks and all that goodness fades away. I’m usually a fan of Naturally processed Ethiopian Coffee – they are fruit forward and quite unique.

Q: How important is access to clean water in regards to coffee?

A: It is said that coffee passes through the hands of about 32 people before arriving at your door or in your cup. Every one of those people along the supply chain rely on access to clean water in order to survive.

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Q: Why did you decide to partner with us for Coffee Meets Water (for 2 years in a row!)?

A: Providing access to clean water in coffee producing countries won’t just help improve the quality of their coffee – it will provide opportunities for those people to grow and thrive. And that feels pretty great! We feel so honored to be even just a small part of such a driven organization!

Thanks so much Adam! Learn more about LA Coffee Club here and Coffee Meets Water here

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COFFEE MEETS WATER: Guatemala

We so excited to launch Coffee Meets Water for the second year in a row! Last year we fixed broken water wells in Ethiopia; this year we’re focusing on another coffee-producing community… in Guatemala!

The majority of homes and schools in the coffee-producing community of Acatenango lack clean and safe drinking water. We all know how important water is for great tasting coffee and for LIFE, so our goal for this year is to provide clean drinking water in Acatenango, starting with 7 schools that educate over 1,700 students (the children of the hardworking coffee farmers!).

We’re kicking things off with our own take on Shark Tank — with younger, cuter judges! Watch below to see what the judges of Guppy Tank think about how to get clean water!

So, what can YOU do?

  • Read all about our campaign on Indiegogo, then share! Use #CoffeeMeetsWater and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
  • Donate! Just $5 covers the cost of clean water for one child – YES, you read that right. Then refer 3 friends and we’ll add a surprise perk for you as a thank you!

So, you heard it: the guppies are all in! Are YOU?  Let’s get clean water flowing. 

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