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January 2010

In This Issue
Leave a Legacy
CoEd Graduate Breaks out of Poverty
Painting for a Better Guatemala
What's New at CoEd
Get to Know CoEd Staff
Join the CoEd Network!
Quick Links
Board of Trustees
 
Patti Ballard
Jim Banks
Denis Forster
Karl Gieseke
David Kammer
Ed McCarter
David Noll
Paul Porcino
Ramón Rodriguez
Kathy Santen
Carleen Suttman
Jeff Berninger
Joe Berninger

Advisory Board

Glenn Chamberlain
Mario Contreras
Bill Dankworth
Jack and Marie Eiting
Sr. Victoria Forde, SC
Charlie Gallagher
Fr. Mike Graham, SJ
Sr. Katie Hoelscher, SC
Dan Nocella
Sr. Kris Schrader, ASC
Emily West



Leave a Legacy

Remembering CoEd through your will, 401K or life insurance is easy!  Contact Holly End at holly@coeduc.org or 513-731-2595x104 for more information.
 
Join Our Mailing List
Dear Friend,

Happy 2010 from Cooperative Communications! Thanks to your support, last year was a successful one for the children, schools, and families in Guatemala who benefit from Cooperative for Education's programs. Read on to learn how Oscar, one CoEd program graduate, has broken the cycle of poverty through education. Or find out how CoEd supporter Tom Sullivan is combining his passion for painting with his love for Guatemala. We hope that this newsletter helps you to understand more about how your support is helping to change lives in Guatemala.
Oscar Xinico: On the Road to a Better Life

Oscar, a graduate of CoEd's programs, credits CoEd with helping him rise out of poverty.

Oscar Oscar Xinico knew he was poor. This knowledge never really bothered him. Everyone in his small, rural community of Chipiacúl-in Guatemala's remote Western Highlands-was just like him. They farmed the land, lived in small huts with dirt floors and no running water, and lacked education, health care, and opportunities of any sort. They worked hard, and generally died young. This is the only life Oscar and his family ever knew.  

But the harsh reality of his circumstances hit home one day, when, on the way to help his father in the fields, a well-dressed man sped by him on a motor bike, literally leaving Oscar in the dust.  
 
Making a Vow to Himself
"I remember thinking in that moment that there was more to life," Oscar recounts. "I vowed to become like that man, to have the things my parents never did."   

Oscar's dreams quickly faded. The son of an illiterate mother and a subsistence farmer, Oscar seemed doomed to repeat their fate.  

"My family was very poor," he adds. "I knew there would be no money to go to school past the sixth grade."

Like all parents, Oscar's wanted more for their children.  They had little to offer them, other than assurances that they would sacrifice to keep their kids in school. This was no small promise in a country where two-thirds of children in rural areas drop out of school before reaching the sixth grade.
 
Textbooks and Computer Classes Open Doors to Opportunity
 Oscar made good on every opportunity that presented itself. In the seventh grade, CoEd came to his school and gave him his first ever set of textbooks. The books opened up a new world to him. Like many indigenous Guatemalans, Oscar grew up speaking his native language (Kaqchiquel). The textbooks helped him improve his Spanish, a vital skill if he wished to continue his education to higher levels. Other subjects, including math, also started making sense.

"The books helped me learn the formulas," Oscar recalls. "It came easy to me, so I decided to become an accountant."
 
When Oscar reached the ninth grade, CoEd set up a computer center at his school. He quickly learned to do bookkeeping in Microsoft Excel.

Oscar entered diversificado (vocational high school) with an advantage over other students.
 
"Kids who didn't have a CoEd lab in their schools were completely overwhelmed. I did my best to share what I had learned-to help them as I'd been helped."
 
Succeeding...and Giving Back to his Community
Today Oscar-ever mindful of his humble roots-continues to give back to others. He works for a government aid program that provides microloans to impoverished farmers. Oscar's job is to teach them to manage profitable small businesses.  

"They trust me because I grew up just like them," he says. "I see them with their kids in the fields and I tell them about the importance of education. This is what I am most proud of in my life."

Now 24, Oscar is married, but waiting to start a family of his own.

"My father wanted a better life for me. Now I want the same for my children."

With that, Oscar excuses himself, adjusting the strap on his helmet. He mounts his motorbike and waves to a curious, shoeless child kicking a ball down the dusty road. Perhaps Oscar will inspire this boy-just as he was once himself moved-to rise above the limited circumstances into which he was born.
 
Painting a Brighter Future for Guatemala

Wouldn't it be great if you could improve the quality of education in Guatemala, just by doing what you love to do every day? Painting Flyer

That's what CoEd supporter Tom Sullivan thought when he established a charity painting business.

When Tom asked a friend where his money could make the most difference, he found out about Guatemala's plight. "Dollars go so much further in Guatemala," he says now. "I can't give a million dollars, but the money I can give can make a considerable difference in Guatemala."

Many Guatemalan families subsist on just four dollars a day. Unfortunately, the quality of education is rarely a priority. Roughly 90% of rural schools cannot afford books, instead spending class time in rote memorization.

One Person Can Make a Difference
Tom always wanted to save the world. But that dream was put on hold while he spent years supporting his family by refurbishing motels and small houses. Now in his retirement in Connecticut, Tom continues to paint homes for a good cause. His clients buy the paint, and then Tom paints two or three rooms. Clients pay for his services by making out a check to the Cooperative for Education or another nonprofit working in Guatemala.

The Rewards are Endless
In addition to providing much-needed opportunities to Guatemalan children, charity painting allows Tom to continue doing the work he loves, at the age of 70.

"I'm at the give-back stage in my life," he says. "I have a lot of discipline and like physical labor, and these people [in Guatemala] deserve an opportunity." By partnering with nonprofit organizations working in Guatemala, Tom has found a way for his love of painting to help him achieve his lifelong dream of helping others in need.

You Can Get Involved Too
Anyone can use their skills to help break the cycle of poverty in Guatemalan. Tom recommends that young people provide lawn care services, while retirees can continue to put their expertise to work for a good cause. "Just make up a one-page flyer and get a handful of CoEd brochures," Tom advises. "Get your name out to real estate offices [if you are doing home improvement jobs], and get your story into a local newspaper about how you are donating to a nonprofit." If you can't afford the start-up costs, Tom recommends using part of the income to cover expenses and donating the profits to CoEd.

To talk with Tom about starting your own charity business, contact him at tsullj@comcast.net.
What's New at CoEd

It's an exciting month at the Cooperative for Education, as two eagerly-awaited achievements have finally arrived!

Rewriting the Future bookNew Book Released: Rewriting the Future
Copies of Rewriting the Future, the much-anticipated book that takes you behind the scenes of CoEd's work in Guatemala, recently arrived in CoEd's Cincinnati office. Order your copy online today and you'll receive it within two weeks.



 Website
 

CoEd's New Website
We also recently launched 
our new website, jam-packed with information about CoEd, our programs, and the people we serve, accompanied by stunning Guatemala pictures. You'll definitely want to check out this comprehensive new resource!

Text-Message Donations
In the coming months, you will be able to text message a $5 donation to CoEd. Keep your eyes open for our upcoming text-to-donate campaign!
 

CoEd computers arrive in the small town of Cerritos AsuncionBringing CoEd Projects to More Schools in 2010
In February, we'll be formally inaugurating our newest program schools in Guatemala. Highlights include:

  • New Computer Centers are being established in even smaller, more rural schools than ever before, bringing technology to those most in need.
  • Our groundbreaking Culture of Reading Program is coming to five new primary schools, while the five CORP schools in the Sacatepéquez region are beginning year two of training, receiving advanced techniques to get children involved in the process of learning to read. 
  • The Textbook Program welcomes 11 new schools, putting textbooks in the hands of more than one thousand additional youths.
Get to Know CoEd Staff

 Emily Kenney
You've heard countless stories of the children and families we serve. Now, we'd like to introduce you to the people behind CoEd-our staff members in the U.S. and Guatemala.

This month, read a profile of CoEd Marketing Coordinator Emily Kenney in Cincy Chic's Chic Spotlight.

Join the CoEd Network! 
 
Want to stay connected to our mission in Guatemala? It's easy with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Become a fan of CoEd on Facebook, and tell your friends and family to do the same.
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We also recently launched our Twitter account, where you can receive updates on the latest news about our projects, local events, sponsorships and more! Follow us @CoEdNews.