Archive for the ‘Inside CoEd Culture’ Category

150,000 Students Served

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

What does it feel like to help 150,000 students in Guatemala? That’s right, we’re asking YOU, because you’ve been a key part of CoEd’s success!

Comment below with your answer, then scroll back up and read or listen as CoEd founders Joe and Jeff respond to the same question.

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


Our New Vision Statement

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Happy 2017, everyone!

What changes and new adventures are you anticipating this year? What revelations have you had as you look back on 2016?

Here at CoEd, our pondering and reflecting led us to an important conclusion: it was time to update our vision statement. This statement serves to guide and inspire us as we work, along with all of you, to help Guatemalan students break the cycle of poverty. It gives us a picture, or vision, of success, so that we always know what we’re aiming for.

Drum roll, please:

new vision statement


Expanding the Vision

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

What’s so great about being a naïve twenty-something? Joe and Jeff explain it all in this third segment of our 20th anniversary interview with CoEd’s founders. Find out what their initial vision of CoEd was and how it expanded over time. You might just get feel inspired to start work on your own dream!

Listen podcast-style to the snippet below or scroll down to read the full transcript for part 3. (Scroll down regardless for photos.)

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


What Mom and Dad Said

Friday, October 21st, 2016

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to start your own nonprofit organization and grow it successfully for 20 years? Last month we posted the first part of our interview with Cooperative for Education founders Joe and Jeff Berninger. They talked about what inspired them to improve education in Guatemala, how they came up with the model for CoEd’s first program, and what finally convinced them to launch a nonprofit.

This month, Joe and Jeff explain how their parents reacted when they left the corporate world and give us a glimpse into all that it takes to get a fledgling nonprofit organization off the ground.

Listen podcast-style to the snippet below or scroll down to read the full transcript. (Scroll down regardless to see photos.)

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

Joe (center), Jeff (right), and their older brother John (left)


CoEd Honored by Long-Time Textbook Program Community

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

On September 1st, nearly 300 people gathered in the town of Santiago Sacatepéquez to watch as Guatemala’s Ministry of Education bestowed its Merit of Honor Award on one worthy institution in the region of Sacatepéquez—and that institution was CoEd! According to our General Director of Operations, Rony, “the principals and teachers of the region proposed CoEd to be the recipient” of the award “thanks to its long and sustainable relationship with several schools in the Santiago Sacatepéquez municipality.”



The Moment of Inspiration

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to start your own nonprofit organization and grow it successfully for 20 years? In celebration of our 20th anniversary, one of our newest staff members sat down to interview the brothers who started it all. Stay tuned through this blog series to learn what kept Jeff in Guatemala, what mom and dad said when their boys switched from corporate to nonprofit, and why Jeff running over a chicken is one of Joe’s favorite moments in CoEd history.

Listen podcast-style to the snippet below or scroll down to read the full transcript for part 1. (Scroll down regardless to see some excellent throwback photos.)

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


TimeHop in Guatemala

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Have you all heard about the TimeHop app? It shows you photos and updates from this exact day in past years based on your social media history. It’s pretty addicting, to say the least, and it got us thinking, “What was CoEd doing five, ten, and yes, even twenty years ago?” Welp, wonder no more, because we have created a time hop of our very own for your nostalgic viewing pleasure. So, please, won’t you take a walk down memory lane with us? :)


It’s no secret that CoEd keeps growing (now would be a good time to cheer). This year, thanks to your support and our 33 employees on the ground in Guatemala, we have bypassed the 150,000 mark of students like Diego served by CoEd programs. That is 150,000 kids positively impacted over the years by YOUR generosity. Wow!!! (more…)

Throwback Thursday: Early Computer Center Shipments

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Have you ever wondered how the very first CoEd Computer Centers received their computers? Wait, what am I saying? Of course you have!

Well, my friends, we used to collect donated computers and ship them to Guatemala ourselves (with some much appreciated help from partner organizations). Although these early shipments were successful and helped launch our first Computer Centers, we’ve since taken a slightly less back-breaking approach, and now purchase computers in Guatemala. This:

A) Helps the local economy.

B) Ensures that all the computers are brand new and uniform, making maintenance and networking more efficient.

C) Frees up our time for awesome arts and crafts projects!

Computer Shipment to Guatemala

It was on this day that Jessica figured out an even better use for the computers – sitting on them.

Check out this email from co-founder Joe Berninger about one of CoEd’s earliest experiences with shipping computers down to Guate:  (more…)

Is Grit the Key to Breaking out of Poverty?

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Have you heard about this idea of ‘grit’? The idea that your success is determined by your passion, perseverance, will, and “stick-to-it-ness” to reach the long-term goal before you?  Recently introduced to grit through Angela Duckworth’s TED talk, we’re fascinated by the idea.

Refresh the page if the video isn’t showing properly or go to the to view Angela Duckworth’s TED talk.

And so it makes us wonder—is grit the key to breaking out of poverty? After witnessing countless displays of grit from student after student after student in Guatemala, we here at CoEd enthusiastically say, “YES!”  Just look at Ivonne, who is determined to finish high school even though she was orphaned at age seven, forced to leave school to work as a housekeeper, and is now one of the oldest students in her class. Or Roberto, who works all morning in the field before heading to school. Or Abner, who resolved to return to school after dropping out.

Every time we visit Guatemala with volunteers, we return with new stories of the nearly 132,700 students helped by CoEd supporters; schoolchildren who face seemingly insurmountable odds, yet continue to reach for a high school diploma. When talking with these students, they share their grit-filled stories with a startling pragmatism that belies the challenges they’ve faced—as if they never considered the idea that life could be any different.

And so our work continues.

Each time school gets cancelled by teacher strikes, mudslides block the roadways, or a new law negatively impacts the way we provide services, we remember the grit embodied by the students in Guatemala.  Their determination inspires our own. Earlier this month, Malala Day gave international attention to the plight of girls lacking access to education. It reminded us how much work we still have to do to reach the Millennium Development Goals in education.

For all the progress we’ve made to educate students in Guatemala, we still have a very long way to go. As Malala so eloquently put it, “I speak not for myself but so those without a  voice can be heard.” So we—the parents, teachers, students, staff, and donors—will take a cue from Malala and the students of Guatemala. We will dig in, show some grit, and carry on.

What do you think of  grit? Is it the key to breaking the cycle of poverty? 

Three Ways to Use a Cooking Pot

Monday, November 12th, 2012

 1. To cook Easy Mac. If you’re feeling extra fancy, throw some additional cheese in that bad boy and treat your taste buds to a glorious indulgence of the senses.

Mac and Cheese

If you’re into that whole “actually cooking” thing, I guess you can make real mac & cheese too, which does look delicious.
Photo via Smitten Kitchen

2. To wear on your head as a protective device so that when the aliens finally come (and trust me, they WILL come), they won’t be able to read your mind. In a pinch, tin foil also works.

3. To gather everyone in an office together to share good news and celebrate the everyday victories.

So why does CoEd have a pot hanging in the kitchen? What do we use it for? If you guessed #2, you would only be right about some of us…