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Summer 2017 Tour Highlights

Friday, August 18th, 2017

Twice a year our US staff packs up and heads south to share with CoEd supporters the beauty of Guatemala and the impact they’re having on its beautiful people. This summer’s tour season might, in fact, have been the largest one ever! Almost 80 people joined us on the Helping Hands, Snapshot, and Heritage tours in July and August. As you can imagine, we have no shortage of stories and photos from those trips, so here are our top five.

Our first-ever Heritage Tour, designed specifically for families connected to Guatemala through adoption, was a huge success.


Kelsey Amara, one of the lovely participants on this inaugural tour, reported: “As a Guatemalan adoptee, I felt that the compassion and care with which the tour was conducted was unparalled…I was allowed the ability to get what I needed for my own journey with adoption and self discovery in a way I had only hoped to do previously.” We were honored to have helped provide that opportunity to Kelsey and each of the other participants on this tour!

We danced…

Guatemala tour charity service tourism

…and sang and played and celebrated together with hundreds of Guatemalan kids at a number of different schools!

We were rock-stars on the paint brushes! Each of our tours this summer included a service component of some sort, whether it was painting a classroom or working together with primary schoolers to prepare the bookshelves where they’ll keep their storybooks.

Guatemala volunteer tourism travel charity nonprofit

The boys on the Helping Hands tour, though, were more gung-ho than the rest of us. They insisted on painting an outhouse at the school that wasn’t on our to-do list, but by the end we agreed: it looked pretty good.

We were welcomed into the homes of some inspiring people, who shared with us their stories of challenges and triumphs, heartbreaks and joys.

Guatemala volunteer tourism travel charity nonprofit

Silvia’s family beamed as she told us some of her proudest moments as a member of CoEd’s Scholarship and Youth Development program. Her parents must have shared her pride, too, considering they laminated the awards that all three are holding!

We got to build and strengthen relationships with the classmates and family that came with us on tour, as well as build new friendships with people we met while there!

Guatemala volunteer tourism travel charity nonprofit

These girls from Badin high school in Cincinnati, OH get to bring their experience from Guatemala home with them as they begin their senior year together.

We can’t wait to make even more memories with you on our tours next year! Sign up for one today!

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Getting Ready for the Big Day

Tuesday, 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!


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?




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!


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


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!


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