Every year when the leaves begin to change colors, the air gets crisp, and pumpkin spice makes its debut, we gather together to party in honor of Guatemalan students. Because, really…how better to honor little party animals like Jose (below) than by throwing a party to support their education!?


“Vamos a festejar.”

Each Fall Fiesta is a little bit different, and many guests reported that this year’s event was the best one yet! Read on for the top five highlights of Fall Fiesta 2018, including how much money you raised for Guatemalan students!


This year’s Fall Fiesta had a Day of the Dead theme, and everyone was getting into it! The tables and bar were decked out in papel picado (cut paper). The guests and volunteers masqueraded as calaveras (skulls). And CoEd’s General Director of Guatemala Operations—Rony Mejía—brought a new, lively friend to the event.


Papel picado (cut paper) decked the tables and bar.


Guests masqueraded as calaveras (skulls)…


…and so did volunteers!


And Rony (CoEd’s General Director for Guatemala Operations) brought a new, lively friend.


For the first time ever, Fall Fiesta was held in Cincinnati’s historic Music Hall—named as a National Historic Landmark thanks to its distinctive Venetian Gothic architecture. Fitting the Day of the Dead theme, Music Hall is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in America. (Luckily, we didn’t need to call the Ghostbusters.) All we know is: It was beautiful!

Renovated Cincinnati Music Hall.jpg

Fall Fiesta was held at Cincinnati’s Music Hall, which was named as a National Historic Landmark thanks to its distinctive Venetian Gothic architecture. (Photo by Larsonj3Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link)



Music Hall is also rumored to be haunted—luckily no ghosts invaded the beautiful ballroom while we were there!


Special guest Sandra Capen traveled from Guatemala to share her story with everyone in person. Sandra graduated from the Rise Youth Development Program (formerly the Scholarship & Youth Development Program) and she believes so strongly in it that she came back to be on its staff! Sandra credits the Rise Program with not only helping her to break out of poverty, but also helping her to change her entire family dynamic for the better.


Our special guest, Sandra (left) came to speak about how the Rise Program has changed her life.


Before her speech, Sandra was introduced by her former Rise sponsor, Maggie (center).


We all know that what really makes a party are the PEOPLE—and this year was no exception! We had a blast greeting old friends and making new ones as we dined, drank, and bid on fabulous prizes like wine, art, sports and theater tickets, exclusive experiences, and an array of vacation packages!


What always makes Fall Fiesta so special is sharing it with you!


Your generosity poured forth all night long, raising an outstanding total of $186,000!


What can that amount of money do in Guatemala? A LOT. Your generosity will ensure that next year, thousands of children learn to read, thousands more learn critical thinking and technology skills, and a new generation is empowered to break the cycle of poverty forever through the Rise Program.


Your generosity will help thousands of children learn to read…


…thousands more gain critical thinking skills with textbooks…


…and technology skills with computers…


…and a new generation break the cycle of poverty forever through the Rise Program!

So all we’ve got to say is party on, friends. Party on.