Paul Porcino is, to put it mildly, pretty dang awesome. We know you will agree after reading about his experience on three CoEd tours to Guatemala and his decision to join CoEd’s Board of Trustees. Paul, we’re lucky to have you on our team… and not just for the Graeter’s ice cream you sometimes bring in… although that certainly doesn’t hurt. 🙂

Paul Porcino

Paul cheezin’ for the camera during his last CoEd Project Tour in Guatemala.

Name: Paul Porcino

Hometown: Commack (Long Island), New York

What originally motivated you to get involved with CoEd’s projects? 

The CoEd team gave a presentation at Incarnation Parish in Centerville, OH. My wife and I were very impressed and joined a tour to Guatemala. The tour included a wonderful group of participants, as well as US and Guatemalan staff. After seeing, hearing, and discussing all that was going on in CoEd, I was pleased to be asked to participate on the Board of Trustees.

What was your most memorable trip to Guatemala?   

During my first CoEd Tour, we visited some very isolated rural schools in the Central Highlands. I still remember the generosity of whole communities–and the love and mutual support they shared. At one school, we were treated to an amazing dance with elaborate costumes reenacting Spain’s conquest of the region.  This was very touching, especially since at the end of the program, they gave each tour participant a beautiful handmade piece of glass art wrapped in a hand-woven placemat.

It was hard to believe that people living in such extremely challenging situations were showing such gratitude and generosity to us. We (the tour participants from the U.S.) seem to have so much more–more wealth, more opportunities, more schooling, yet these Guatemalan people were truly giving to us from their souls–and it almost broke my heart.

Tell us more about your experience as a CoEd Board Member.  

Based on my background, I was asked to help build upon the development of a long-term strategic plan for CoEd.  In creating this plan, CoEd reasserted its vision of eliminating poverty in Guatemala through education, while looking at the means and mechanisms to make even more of an impact. They bravely analyzed everything about the organization–with a view towards continual transformation and effectiveness–achieving even greater results in the future.

Paul helping kid

Helping some of the students dunk the ball, Paul became an instant hit at school!

What continues to inspire you to stay involved? 

I can’t overstate how impressed I am with what the CoEd team has accomplished.  They not only have a desire to help others, but they have built an organization that is making a more sustaining reality.  That is very impressive, and I am grateful to be able to play a small role in that. CoEd has a knack for continually building the capability of the organization to make their vision a reality. They also are open to receiving feedback and doing the hard work that is required to excel. This is a unique mix–a desire to make a difference and the ability to build a sustainable organization–and gets better every year.

Thanks, Paul! We appreciate all you do for the children of Guatemala… and the ice cream. Let’s not forget about the ice cream…