Author Archive

Trees for Life Alternative Gifts Catalog

August 23, 2011

From: Jeffery Faus – Featured in Alternative Gifts Catalog

 Alternative Gifts International enables caring people to give “Books for the Joy of Reading” to children in Nicaragua in honor of a friend or loved one. Read more

Trees for Life is one of only 35 agencies featured in the 2011-2012 Alternative Gifts International catalog. The catalog includes a gift item that enables donors to provide books for children in Nicaragua through Trees for Life. Their online catalog also offers the gift item: Books for the Joy of Reading.

Alternative Gifts International is a non-profit organization that inspires support for humanitarian and environmental causes. They offer donors the option to designate charitable gifts through carefully selected agencies in the name of their relatives, friends and associates.

Trees for Life, through our educational branch Books for Life, has helped people in Nicaragua establish or improve 62 community libraries. People from the community take ownership of the project, providing partial funding, a building, staff, and other resources for their library.

By purchasing the gift of “Books for the Joy of Reading” from the Alternative Gifts International catalog, donors can provide books to children at these Books for Life libraries in Nicaragua in honor of a friend or loved one.

Give Now

Guitar Distribution Complete

August 18, 2011









Jesus Santiago of Liberia Hispamer – Book for Life – Nicaragua  presenting one of the last of the 200 guitars from the Manual Rodriguez classical guitars to the Nicaraguan Librarians. Jesus took great joy in watching the outgoing pride and happiness exhibited by the librarians that represented the libraries in the Libreria Hispamer – Books for Life group. The guitars were a gift to the children of Nicaragua from the Manuel Rodriguez Guitar company and the supporters of Trees for Life.


Coffee – It’s Soldarity

June 23, 2011

On June 6, I wrote about Balbir Mathur and Jesus de Santiago distributing the Manuel Rodriguez guitars to the libraries in the Books for Life – Nicaragua program. Well, there is a second part to that story. When Balbir was preparing to leave Nicaragua his host presented him a very large package of Nicaraguan coffee, one that would take one entire suitcase to carry.

“It is solidarity!” … said Chico Castro with a broad smile, and shook his fist emphatically. “It is not from me. It is from all of us!”

“Please share this coffee with all those who helped provide these guitars. As they enjoy this coffee, they will feel our thanks.

“Tell them, Gracias, amigo. Come and have the next cup of coffee with us in Nicaragua, and we shall sing together.””

This was their response to the wonderful generosity that had brought 200 guitars to the Books for Life Nicaragua libraries. They wanted to give a gift from their hearts and their homes to the wonderful people who had donated to the guitar project. It was their gift of solidarity to people who care.

Upon returning Balbir figured out how to distribute the coffee to the individuals who donated. A local company, The Spice Merchant, ground the coffee and volunteers packaged it and tied Gracias Amigo cards containing the story to the packages. The Board of Directors for Trees for Life was scheduled to meet the following week and a large number of donors were invited to a special lunch afterward. Local donors unable to attend would have their coffee hand delivered by Trees for Life staff and the balance would be mailed. You might think that would be the end of the process but that would not even be close.

The emails, phone and personal responses  that we have received over a small package of “solidarity” Nicaraguan coffee have been joyous and heartwarming. We have had responses from Spain to China, from Nicaragua to the US. Locally, the packages have produced joyous hearts, an impromptu guitar session (with one of the guitars) and true tears of joy. We beleave Margaret Mead was right, “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.

Thank You, my friend!


June 6, 2011

“Beautiful, simply beautiful,” were among the excited responses as the first 80 of the two hundred guitars were recently handed out in Managua, Nicaragua. Recipients were actually dancing with joy as Balbir Mathur, President of Trees for Life/Books for Life and Jesus de Santiago of  HISPAMER Bookstore, Nicaragua distributed the Manuel Rodriguez classical guitars to the Nicaraguan Librarians. The librarians represented the 53  Books for Life and Books for Life – Nicaragua libraries. Balbir related what a joyful and moving experience the event was for Jesus, himself and all of the participants. The two hundred guitars were a gift to the children of Nicaragua by the Manuel Rodriguez and Sons Guitar makers of Spain.

Jesus de Santiago with guitar and Balbir Mathur, far right at the presentation ceremony 


May 13, 2011

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 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.


January 15, 2011

Thanks to you we are over the top.

We have reached our goal of 200 guitars.

Thanks to your generosity the guitars will be delivered to Nicaragua in the next few weeks. Each guitar has a plaque on the inside of the body with the name of the donor. As the guitars are distributed each donor will be notified of the location of their guitar.

We would like to extend special thanks  to Ann Garvey and Dulcie Guinty, event coordinators and Josh Jackson of Abode Venues. We would also like to thank the musicians; Jenny Stover-Brown, Henry Harvey  Samatha Gales, Adara Clapham  Richard Crowson, Phil Burress Karen Crowson  Bob & Rudy Love, and  Pop & the Boys who so generously donated their time and talent.


January 11, 2011

Balbir Mathur and Manuel Rodriguez Guitar

Balbir Mathur, President of Trees for Life with the  Manuel Rodriguez Guitar that inspired the Heart Strings Guitar project.  Balbir received the guitar from the Manuel Rodriguez Guitar company as a gift for speaking at an international conference  in Spain. As a result of that award Balbir proposed to “pay the gift forward” and, in cooperation with the Manuel Rodriguez Guitar Company, who offered 200 guitars for cost, a goal of purchasing the guitars for Libraries and therefore the children of Nicaragua was created. The cooperative efforts of  numerous donors, participants and musicians at the Tug the Heart Strings concert held on December 26 in Wichita purchased 47 additional guitars toward that dream. The entire order of 200 guitars entirely purchased by donations will begin their journey to Nicaragua very soon.

  1. Jenny Stover-Brown & Henry Harvey
  2. Samatha Gales & Adara Clapham
  3. Richard Crowson, Phil Burress & Karen Crowson
  4. Bob & Rudy Love
  5. Pop & the Boys

Trees for Life would like to thank to the generous support of the Wichita Acoustical Society and the talented musicians for making the Tug the Heart Stings concert a success.

Heartstrings Benefit Concert in Wichita

December 18, 2010

Jeffrey Faus, guitarist, singer, musician, writer and long time Trees for Life and Books for Life staff member appears on KAKE TV as part of the “Heart Strings” Guitar program. In addition to appearing on KAKE TV to promote the Heart Strings program Jeffrey has been instrumental in organizing the “TUG THE HEARTSTRINGS” music event.



 Click Image to View Video

  Join us at the Tug The Heartstrings event

Wednesday, Dec. 29, 7:00 p.m. til 10 p.m. @ Adobe Venue 1330 E. Douglas


December 9, 2010

   A Great Time

Join us

Wednesday, Dec. 29, 7:00 p.m. til 10 p.m. @ Adobe Venue 1330 E. Douglas


HeartStrings is coming to First Friday!

December 2, 2010
HeartStrings is coming to First Friday! 
Wichita’s popular monthly music crawl will be presented by HeartStrings on December 3. Adam Hartke, organizer of First Friday, has been talking with the bands and venues involved, and several of them will be accepting donations to help sponor guitars for kids in Nicaragua.

Another year has passed!  Come out and celebrate the last First Friday of 2010!  We have some great shows this go around!  On behalf of the Wichita music community, I would like to thank you for your continued support of live music in Wichita!

Decembers First Friday is present by HeartStrings.  There will be various locations accepting donations on behalf of HeartStrings during Decembers First Friday.  Have a look at the awesome charitable work this organization does:


Schedule of Events
December, 3rd 2010
City Arts – Bruce Huss (acoustic, fingerstyle)

Oeno – Emily & Jacob (jazz, xmas songs)

Larkspur – Jazz

Riverside Perk – Robin Roberts & Billie Preston (acoustic, folk)
Orpheum – Ad Astra Arkestra, Too Femme, Boys Beware (indie rock, experimental) *CC
Naked City Gallery – CJ Boyd with 69 Nose *CC
Meads Corner – Dave Owens (singer/songwriter)

Rock Island Live – Radio City, The New Imperialism, Hot Dog Skeletons, Sons of Great Dane (rock, indie) *CC
Blue Lounge – Afterparty (indie rock) *CC
Kirby’s – Tom Page Trio, Erik Mallory (dust bowl rock & roll)

Thanks to our sponsors for helping make this event possible: Lucinda’s, House of Schwan, Midwest Drum & Percussion, KMUW, Naked City Magazine, KWCH/KSCW, Wichita Arts Council, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, REAL Development, Nieman Creative, and Fractions Journal.

To sponsor First Friday please email:


*CC indicates that a cover charge may apply.