On Sponsors and Students: “You Are Important to Me”

April 17th, 2017

When Rebecca Wilks went on her first CoEd tour in 2007, she never imagined that she and her husband Marco would end up changing a young person’s life—and being changed by her in return. But as she ate lunch with a friend and the two Scholarship Program students that her friend was sponsoring, she knew she had to become a sponsor too: “I was so impressed with these two, and with the program in general, that I persuaded my husband that we should participate.”

A short while later, Rebecca and Marco met Florentina Taquez (Flor) for the first time. “She was twelve and painfully quiet, yet she had a steadfast determination,” Rebecca wrote in a blog post about their relationship with Flor.

Guatemala charity sponsor student

Flor, soon after she began the program.

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Cande Daniela: On the Path to Healing

April 17th, 2017

Guatemala computer student

“The computer will be a tool I can use to defend myself against any problems I face.”

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Introducing: The Heritage Tour!

April 17th, 2017

Guatemala adoption family travel

Guess what, everyone? This summer we’ll be piloting a NEW KIND OF TOUR to Guatemala and we are SO EXCITED for our first run! In our 20 years of leading trips to Guatemala, we’ve had plenty of adoptive families on board, but we are thrilled to now offer these families a special tour designed just for them. Our new Heritage Tour will offer families and individuals who are connected to Guatemala through adoption a unique opportunity to reconnect with the country alongside other families that are doing the same.

sign-me-up

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The Thousand Girls Initiative Turns One

April 17th, 2017

Happy 1-year anniversary!

On April 1, 2016, we officially launched the Thousand Girls Initiative, a massive expansion of our Scholarship & Youth Development Program that will help 1,000 young Guatemalan women avoid an all too common fate: dropping out of school after the 6th grade. Instead, these young women will join the Scholarship Program, be matched with sponsors like you, and step confidently on the path toward graduation and a brighter future.

What do you say we check our progress?

When we started last year, the Scholarship Program was serving 3 communities, and 288 students were either in the program or poised to join it. Now?

Guatemala high school scholarship program

Guatemala high school scholarship program

Guatemala high school scholarship program

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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

CoEd-2017-Ed-Center-Inauguration-060

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! 

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

CoEd2017_GLP_Tour-1441CoEd-2017-Feb-Snap-Tour-0802CoEd2017_GLP_Tour-1451

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.”

CoEd2011_GLP_Peggy_#273

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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