Bridges Program

“I guarantee you will have a life-changing experience.”

– Chuck Bryant, CoEd Tour Participant,
Podcaster for Stuff You Should Know

Why Bridges?

We live in a global world. What happens in other countries affects us at home. To do our part, we must continue to increase awareness, build relationships, and strengthen bonds with our neighbors, including those who live on the margins of society. The Bridges Program increases understanding and knowledge of global challenges and connects people in the U.S. and beyond with friends in Guatemala.

Guatemala Service Learning Tours

Cooperative for Education offers on average six service learning tours each year, involving 15-50 participants per trip from the U.S., Canada, and other countries. The tours take travelers to Mayan communities in rural Guatemala to visit CoEd programs and meet the students who benefit from them. Each trip incorporates cultural enrichment activities and personal interaction with students at program schools. Several trips also incorporate a service component.

people have travelled to Guatemala on a CoEd project tour.

%

of tour participants report a significant shift in the way they see the world.

%

of people who go on a CoEd project tour share what they’ve learned with others within the year following their trip.

Educational Presentations

CoEd U.S. staff and volunteers deliver interactive multimedia presentations to schools, churches, businesses, and other organizations about life in Guatemala, the role of education in reducing poverty, and ways to get involved.

 

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School to School Partnerships

We match partner schools in North America with a sister school in Guatemala. The North American students work together to raise funds for an educational project for the Guatemalan school. In exchange, the Guatemalan students send letters and information about what life is like in their communities, fostering international friendship and a culture of generosity and curiosity across national borders. Lesson plans for teachers and educational presentations by CoEd staff and volunteers are also available.

100% of teachers in our School to School Partnerships say that their students plan to participate in some sort of volunteer activity as a result of the increased awareness imparted by the program.

Global Partnerships

CoEd remains committed to sharing knowledge, expertise, and best practices with other organizations dedicated to improving the lives of our global neighbors in need. We magnify our impact in Guatemala and the developing world by partnering with other groups to help build local capacity and strengthen the systems and services within communities. We work with groups and organizations such as:

  • The Guatemalan Ministry of Education—Our textbook, computer, and reading programs are certified by the Ministry, and Ministry representatives aid CoEd staff in selecting communities and schools to participate in our programs. The Ministry has also sought input from CoEd in the creation of their primary reading program, “Leamos Juntos.”
  • Centro America Lee (CALEE)—We helped found this literacy network that brings together organizations working to promote literacy across Latin America, creating a forum to share ideas and best practices.
  • Girls’ CHARGE Network—We’re partnering with over 60 companies, nonprofits, and governments through Girls CHARGE to advance girls’ education around the world!
  • HowStuffWorks.com—We’ve collaborated with podcasters leading to four separate informational podcasts about Guatemala and our work there, as well as a series of blogs.
  • Microsoft—We co-hosted NGO Connection Days in Guatemala.

Guatemala’s National Council for Science and Technology (CONCYT)—We participated in Guatemala’s National Science, Technology, and Innovation Week conference as a forum panelist. We have also advised various groups on voluntourism and mission trip opportunities in Guatemala, including Teach on the Beach, GiveBack Cincinnati, Withrow Family Mission Trip, Moms on a Mission, and Teens on Mission.