Meet CoEd supporter Lauren Luken Reed. Lauren is a second grade teacher at South Avondale Elementary in Cincinnati and it was her trip to Guatemala in 2002 that changed the trajectory of her career.
Thanks for joining us on Bookmarks today, Lauren. When did you travel to Guatemala with CoEd?
What part of the CoEd Project Tour inspired you most? Was there a particular school or experience that sticks in your memory?
The entire experience inspired me. I remember delivering books by car, foot, and even boat. I was shocked at the condition of the schools. Some had only walls with dirt floors and a few tables. Although I could not speak a word of Spanish, I was drawn to the children. They had so little and were extremely thankful of everything that was given to them. Every time a school received their new textbooks the entire community always displayed their gratitude with immense appreciation through words, dance, song, etc. (I even remember one school sacrificing a chicken [in a Mayan cultural ceremony]!) I had never seen anything like it and was truly touched.
What was your career before your trip to Guatemala ? Where you happy with your career?
In the spring of 2001 I had graduated as a recreation administration major. Before the trip I was doing miscellaneous jobs, unsure if I really wanted to use my degree at all or go back to school.
Upon your return to the US, what changed for you? How did your experience influence the direction of your life/career?
The trip to Guatemala was life changing. As soon as I returned home, I knew I wanted to teach children and began looking into going back to school. I enrolled at the College of Mt. St. Joseph in a one year master’s program. I knew from my experience in Guatemala I wanted to educate those less fortunate. The program had me interning at an inner city school for a year.
Eleven years later and I continue to teach in the inner city.
I do incorporate a global worldview into my classroom. I try to to expose my students to the world outside Cincinnati, Ohio through books, magazines, internet, cultural studies, etc. Although it can be difficult for children to see there is a world outside of their own, it must be incorporated often into the curriculum.
Going to Guatemala had a major impact on my life and I want to thank CoEd for their impact on the lives of so many others too. I will be forever grateful.
Thanks Lauren. We’re proud to have supporters like you who enter into what they experience in Guatemala and allow themselves to be changed for good.