Posts Tagged ‘Katie’s field report’

What You Make Possible in Just One Week

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Sit back and listen to some good news! Our Director of International Programs, Katie Camillus, wants to give you a “taste” of all the exciting things that happen in Guatemala in a typical week, thanks to your support! These stories range from playful to powerful: you won’t want to miss them!

How Do We Choose Scholarship Students?

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

As anyone sponsoring a CoEd scholarship student will tell you, our students are AWESOME. If you didn’t see this post with statistics confirming that statement, you might want to go read it. ;) One of the highlights is that 53% of our Scholarship Program graduates are now giving back by helping to pay for their younger siblings’ education.

In short, they are STELLAR human beings who are reaching their potential thanks to you. But have you ever wondered how we find students with such potential in the first place? Find out below! (And when you’re finished with the infographic, be sure to read the incredible story underneath it.)


Building True Community Among Scholarship Students

Thursday, July 9th, 2015
Building community

Scholarship students begin to form community from their very first workshop together.

You guys, the Scholarship & Youth Development Program is THE BEST. We know we say this a lot, but giving a student the opportunity to join this program is doing so much more than simply paying for their tuition. Allow us to elaborate…

Staff member Katie Camillus spends a lot of time in Guatemala working with the Scholarship & Youth Development Program. Here is her story from a recent trip (spoiler alert: it’s super heart-warming):

I was floored to witness that community being created, and how mature and supportive our young students are.


Katie’s Field Reports: Jose Luis using school to overcome heartache

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013
Becados Seres medio ambiente 100

Too cool for school or top performing student?

If you had the chance to meet high school scholarship student Jose Luis, at first glance you might think he was too cool for school. Or maybe after a few minutes observing his lighthearted comical demeanor you’d label him as the class clown.

I bet you wouldn’t guess that his older brother was murdered when Luis was in the 5th grade.  Or that he’s dropped out of school multiple times and keeps returning because he’s determined to reach graduation.

Luis had to drop out of school for years at a time in elementary school for financial reasons and again following his brother’s death.  However when he went back to school, he had a renewed determination and earned straight As (an almost unheard of accomplishment in Guatemala schools).  His hard work paid off, and he was selected as a CoEd scholarship student.

So although he’s the youngest in a big family, he’s the first to continue past primary school and definitely the first to graduate from middle school and start high school (he’s just finishing his first year of high school to become an accountant).  Luis is brilliant, charming, and incredibly hardworking. It breaks my heart to think how many others like him didn’t have the same opportunity to reach their potential.  Please consider sponsoring a scholarship student today!

Wishing you could meet these students too,


Katie’s Field Report #5: Students Volunteering in Guatemala

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

rural Guatemala

If you’ve been on a CoEd Project Tour this view might look familiar. On the way to the High School scholarship students’ community service project, I almost felt like I was on a tour with CoEd supporters…headed through gorgeous mountains with a group of generous people to a rural school where we’d meet and play with adorable kids.  In fact, it was remarkably similar, except that the scholarship students traveled just down the road, while tour participants come from far and wide to make it to Guatemala.

playing with kids in rural Guatemala Also, there was no ceremony, no national anthem – just a lot of games.  The High School Scholarship Student Board had everything organized and planned out, and a different student took responsibility for each activity (tour job assignments, anyone?), leading the younger kids through games like red light, green light and telephone. The local kids had a blast, except for the brief scare when a confused toddler—who didn’t quite understand the concept of a piñata—ran into the crowd swinging the bat wildly instead of hitting the target.

organized fun Edwin, the President of the Student Board, just graduated as a teacher, and his natural ability with kids was evident as he led everyone through the event.  With his poise, confidence, giant grin, and positive energy, you might never guess that he’s an orphan raised by his siblings and has had to struggle through every step of his education to get where he is today.  His experiences made him an inspiring role model for the children at this school, where only one student had stuck it out until 6th grade.  Edwin is sure to be a great role model and confidante for his own students in future years as well, and he already volunteers his time regularly as a youth group leader at his church.
Guatemalan children

At the end, each scholarship student accompanied a group of siblings to their family’s home to deliver the package of basic food stuffs they’d fundraised for, purchased, and put together.  The gift was much more meaningful for both parties because they’d already gotten a chance to know each other and made personal connections during the fun and games – just as we see that CoEd’s programs are better understood and appreciated when they’re inaugurated with a group of gringos.

whole group in Guatemala
Anyone else think we should try to get Edwin to help CoEd as a member of our Tour planning team?

Katie’s Field Report #4: Parents of soon to be High School Scholarship Students

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Last week we met with parents and the scholarship students who are going to start high school in January, when the next school year begins. During the meeting we asked the students who was ready to make the commitment to continue their studies in high school – a milestone many of their parents never dreamed of when they were kids!   Hands shot into the air before we had time to utter the entire question.

Scholarship parent meeting

You could feel the excited sense of disbelief in the room as the parents realized their children really have the opportunity to graduate as professionals. Sponsor an incoming student today to help them build a better future for themselves and their families.

Signing off from Guatemala,


Katie’s Field Report #3: Jose Luis has GRIT

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

You may remember us talking about grit earlier this year.  It’s a fascinating topic and I’m reading a great book by Paul Tough called “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.” It cites research revealing the importance of character, even more than cognitive skills, in leading to happy fulfilling lives. That’s exactly what our scholarship students develop in the Youth Development Program: optimism, grit, social intelligence, gratitude…and the effectiveness is demonstrated in the program graduates.

Jose Luis grit

Jose Luis, for example, couldn’t find a job in his field as a mechanic right after he graduated, because no one wanted to hire someone without experience. While many would have given up and gone back to working the fields, he persisted – convincing a shop to let him work for free for a year (they just covered his transportation costs) so that he could get the necessary experience. Now he’s been working in a paid position for two years in the field he loves. Now that’s what I call grit.

Signing off from Guatemala,



Katie’s Guatemala Field Report #2: Field Trip to Masesa

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Reporting from the field once more Katie’s got an update on her activities with CoEd’s scholarship students in Guatemala.

Last week, the middle school scholarship students got to visit a corporate environment for a motorcycle import company and CoEd corporate funder, Masesa, and meet professionals in a variety of positions. Many of the students are in the process of choosing what field to student in vocational high school next year so it was invaluable experience for them! I think we’ve got a few aspiring mechanics after our visit.
Visit to Masesa
They also heard from Human Resource professionals who shared what skills and qualities they look for when they’re hiring (they emphasized that a high school degree is a must).

Help one more student reach the milestone of high school graduation by sponsoring an aspiring scholarship student today!

Signing off from Guatemala,


Katie’s Guatemala Field Report #1 – Reyna Carol

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Welcome to our new series with CoEd staffer Katie Camillus.  Katie spends several weeks of the year in Guatemala evaluating the programs and working with our program teams on the ground.  She always hears incredible stories from the students and teachers and we want to share them with you during those seasons that she’s traveling around to the communities we help.  Enjoy your first installation of Katie’s Field Reports. 

Reyna Carol is another scholarship graduate who blew me away when we chatted last weekend. She’s one of ten kids whose single mother never even started school, but Reyna herself graduated last year with an accounting degree. She’s a scholarship graduate who is proving the impact of a CoEd scholarship extends beyond the recipient him/herself.

Reyna Carol scholarship graduate

Reyna now works at a supermarket chain as a cashier – a well-paid position that she never would have gotten without her degree.

Reyna is not only a role model who is motivating her siblings to stay in school, she also helps them with their homework and pays their school fees from her salary. She came to tears as she told me how she’s struggled to encourage her brother with disabilities to continue his studies. When she was in school she suffered a bad accident and couldn’t sit for extended periods, but decided to stick with school. Her own experience serves as a beautiful example for him.

Meet the scholarship students that still need your help at

Signing off from Guatemala,