Small Business Spotlight

March 16th, 2017

CoEd supporters are the greatest. You’re generous, kind, silly, adventurous, compassionate, and a little competitive, too. (We’re talking about you, Rick and Rich!) Each of you has a story of what motivates you to help students in Guatemala and it gives us great pleasure to learn them. As we reflect (and celebrate you!) during Supporter Appreciation Month, we’ve been struck at how many among you are small business owners.

Owning your own business has always been part of the proverbial “American Dream”. And what often happens when that business begins to see success? Greed takes over and profit becomes king, right? Not for these businesses. They are using their success and entrepreneurial spirit to make a positive impact in the world.  We’re continually surprised by the out-of-the-box ways that you find to help children in Guatemala get a better education and overcome poverty, and we want to highlight a few business owners who inspire us.

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Education Center Dedication

March 16th, 2017

“It was just like a wedding. You look out and you see all these people who you love and who have meant so much to you over the years.” —Joe Berninger

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It really was a special experience to dedicate the new education center with so many of you last month. Per the norm, Joe found the exact words to express what we are all feeling. Twice now we’ve gotten to celebrate the opening of our new Education Center with the folks who’ve made it possible for such a space to become a reality: the building’s benefactors, new friends and long-time supporters, Rotarians from the US, Canada, Guatemala, and the Cayman Islands, local business leaders and government officials, teachers, principals and students who make the work of education a reality every day, and even Jeff and Joe’s mom! Whew! Did we cover everyone? What a joy it was to celebrate the accomplishments of the last twenty years with you. Read the rest of this entry »

Our favorite time of the year – February Project Tours

March 15th, 2017

Like Christmas or summer vacation, we eagerly anticipate the February tour season each year. We spend a jam packed few weeks with supporters delivering books, inaugurating computer labs, reading with students, and meeting scholarship students. Bus rides into the countryside give us a chance to build deep relationships with you and truly know how deep your generosity goes. It’s always a memorable month! Since we just wrapped up another February tour season, we want to share with you some of the highlights from the month.

And maybe—just maybe—it will inspire you to join us this summer! 

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Scholarship sponsors and students were reunited, sharing in the most affectionate of hugs.

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Now just try to tell me you don’t want to come meet your scholarship student.

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Orlando Chile Bucú: Turning Skills into Success

March 10th, 2017

Guatemalan student Orlando

“Tonight, please complete the even problems on page 268 and show up ready to compare your work with a partner’s tomorrow.” Many of us recognize these words as a typical end to a typical math class. But for students in rural Guatemala, there is nothing typical about these words. Nine out of ten middle schools in the regions where CoEd works do not have textbooks. “Learning” in these schools focuses on rote memorization instead of critical thinking. Students spend as much as 65% of class time just copying from the blackboard. Read the rest of this entry »

Shout Out to Our Canadian Friends

February 17th, 2017

A little over a year ago, we announced the birth of Canadian Friends of Cooperative for Education, our partner organization in Canada! Since then, Canadians have been coming out of the woodwork to help raise money for deserving kids in Guatemala. They’re presenting to Rotary clubs, spreading the word among their friends and colleagues, and even carrying pictures of students who need scholarships to their doctors’ offices. (You know who you are…)

To continue fostering this partnership, we’ve established a Canadian Advisory Board, filled with amazing people who are passionate about helping kids in Guatemala. The board meets every other month, and members from all over Canada join virtual meetings to talk strategy, share successes, and dream up new ways to spread the word. Board member Greg Podmore says it was an easy decision to get involved because it gives him “the chance to help some lovely children work their way, through education, out of poverty, so they can make better lives.”

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Greg had great fun in Guatemala.

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The Next 20 Years

February 16th, 2017

We wrapped up our interview with CoEd founders Joe and Jeff by asking what they envision for the next 20 years of breaking the cycle of poverty in Guatemala. Their answer?

  • Create integrated solutions to poverty in partnership with Idea Global, our partner organization that focuses on early childhood development through nutrition and stimulation during the 1,000 days of life.
  • See change on a systemic scale.
  • Expand educational opportunities for girls.
  • Share our program models with the world.

Listen for all of the details.

(Note: If you’re on mobile and don’t want to listen in the SoundCloud app, click “Listen in browser.”)

Joining in late? Listen from the beginning.

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Delivery! 2017 by the Numbers

February 16th, 2017

The new school year got underway in Guatemala last month and we wanted to give you a quick look at what you’re making possible in 2017. (And you know we can’t pass up an opportunity to share cute photos!) So without further ado, take a look at the impressive numbers below and give yourself a high five!

2017 Preview Read the rest of this entry »

Now Presenting…Our New Director of International Programs

February 16th, 2017

Ladies and gentlemen, people of good will and lovers of all things Guatemala, it is our distinct pleasure to present to you the newest member of CoEd’s senior staff. A long-time advocate for students and families, she’s worked on three continents, racked up almost a decade’s worth of international development experience, and has been a CoEd supporter since before she could vote. We’re beyond excited to re-introduce you to CoEd’s new Director of International Programs: Katie Camillus!

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Getting Ready for the Big Day

January 31st, 2017

We’re getting closer to the big day—the official launch of our Education Center in Guatemala as our new program headquarters!

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Major renovations are complete, the office furniture has been moved in, and we’re now getting chairs and tables delivered for conference rooms and setting up the computer lab. We’re putting on the finishing touches, getting ready to welcome all your smiling faces on February 10 or 24 for one of the official ribbon cuttings. (That’s right… this event is so momentous, we’re going to celebrate it TWICE!)

And speaking of smiling faces, can’t you just imagine the grins on our CoEd staff members’ faces when they got to start working out of this office?

 

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There. Now you don’t have to imagine. You’re welcome!

That’s right, the teams from our former satellite office in Santiago moved in to the Education Center over the holidays, and kicked the New Year off right with a brand new office! The warehouse has also been moved into the new space, and we’re now rent-free of two of our former rented locations. The computer team and admin/management are moving throughout this month.

During our Graduation Tour in December, the shaded patio provided the perfect space for scholarship students to work side by side with their sponsors to prep materials for their service project the next day—then enjoy a picnic lunch together!

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What, you thought since there were no books to deliver that we wouldn’t find a way to put you to work?

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It’s all good, we made sure they were fairly compensated for their efforts with Pollo Campero!

Despite our thorough remodeling, you can expect to see some of the property’s natural flair—mismatched asphalt and concrete at the entrance, a few less-than-perfect drop ceilings, and so on. We want to make sure that the center is a beautiful place to work and visit—but we’re also paying close attention to which cosmetic improvements are reeeeeallllly needed. After all, we want to make sure every available penny goes to the kids we serve! The more we use the center, the more we’ll know what changes truly are necessary. For instance, we had planned not to install air conditioning due to the pleasant temps at this elevation, but the conference room did seem a bit stuffy after we packed it full of 80 scholarship students for a workshop last fall, so we’re now considering ways to improve ventilation or perhaps install a few AC units.

We can’t wait to see you on Feb. 10 or 24—or right back here at Bookmarks afterwards for an update if you can’t be there for the big day!

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We’re as eager with anticipation as these scholarship students and parents who waited in the conference room to greet their sponsors!

2017 Sneak Peek

January 19th, 2017

Are you excited for 2017 with Guatemalan students yet!? 2015 was #Awesomeyear, 2016 was even better, and 2017 is gonna be the best yet. Take a peek at what lies in store for you, CoEd supporters:

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Inaugurating our new Education Center, which will consolidate our staff offices in the very heart of the country, helping us be a more together, more efficient poverty-busting team! (We also got some cool bonus features like solar panels and teacher-training rooms.)

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Isn’t it pretty?

Paola tries out our new Ed Center.

Student approved.

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