Youth Development

Rise Program

“They gave me the opportunity to develop my potential. Limits only exist in your mind.”

—Brenda Sactic, program graduate

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It Takes 12 Years to Rise Out of Poverty

In Guatemala, it takes 12 years of education to support a two-person family above the poverty line, but 90% of impoverished kids never reach that milestone. Many come from regions where the average level of education is less than two years. Families often live on less than $4 a day and can neither afford the direct cost of attending school (tuition and fees) nor the opportunity cost of keeping children in school when they could be working and contributing to the family’s income.


In addition to economic challenges, students face many other pressures to drop out including alcoholism, gangs, child marriage, abuse, and a lack of support from their families.

The Rise Youth Development Program

The Rise Program identifies promising young students who would otherwise be forced to drop out of school, and gives them the tools to break the cycle of poverty. In addition to providing full academic scholarships, Rise offers comprehensive support services from mentors, counselors, and psychologists, and engages students in workshops, community service, and visits to local businesses and universities that transform the way they think about their futures.

More Than a Scholarship

Each year, with the help of sponsors, CoEd provides full academic scholarships to hundreds of indigenous Maya students in impoverished communities throughout Guatemala. In addition to removing economic barriers to education, the Rise Program also provides a support system to help students rise above the challenges they face:

Becoming Leaders

The Rise Youth Development Program involves students in leadership, professional, and life skills training.

  • Broadening Worldviews: Through workshops on topics like entrepreneurship, women’s rights, and teamwork, students expand their worldviews and overcome obstacles to achieving their dreams.
  • Career Readiness: By visiting local businesses, meeting role models in different careers, and practicing interviewing skills, students explore the possibilities for their own future.
  • Giving Back: By planning and executing their own community service projects, students learn leadership skills and develop a spirit of service.



pay for their siblings

53% of graduates are helping to pay for their younger siblings’ education.

The Rise Program achieves sustainability by transforming the lives of indigenous young people who then contribute to the development of their entire country. Currently, 53% of program graduates are helping to pay for their younger siblings’ education—breaking the cycle of poverty for more young people in their own generation.

“I believe these students will be the ones who change Guatemala as they assume roles as professionals, business owners, and fathers and mothers, and that they will be the first of many more generations with better opportunities and a solid foundation of values.“
— Former Coordinator of the Rise Program


of impoverished kids would graduate without Rise


of students graduate with Rise

Without the Rise Program, only 1 out of 10 impoverished kids in Guatemala graduates from high school. With the Rise Program, 9 out of 10 students graduate.

Want to Help a Student Rise Out of Poverty?

The Thousand Girls Initiative

In Guatemala, girls are not traditionally supported in their desire to go to school. Often, when parents have to decide which child to educate on their meager earnings, they prioritize the boys, and the girls get left behind. In the regions we serve, there is nearly a boy and a half in school for every girl. In Guatemala as a whole, 85% of men are literate, compared to 74% of women.


However, according to a growing number of experts, “girls’ education is the world’s best investment with the widest ranging returns” (What Works in Girls’ Education). So we’re doing something about it! The Thousand Girls Initiative is a massive expansion of the Rise Program that will help 1,000 girls and 250 boys across the country rise out of poverty for good.

Learn More