As a long time donor to Education and Hope, I thought I had a deep understanding of what it would be like when I visited. Nothing prepared me for the strong community and love that is woven into the fabric of this organization. Teamwork dedication, hard work and passion for the children and their families is what I got to witness during my visit. The founder, Julie Coyne has helped to foster growth and encourages growth and learning from participants of the program. Smiles and hugs abound!
Sadly, I don't have the words to adequately describe my brief visit to E&H. For years, I had heard about, but never quite understood, E&H and its programs. I was fortunate enough to visit along with the E&H audit team in January 2019; which seems like just yesterday, or ages ago. It wasn't so much what I did there; it was what I felt there. The entire place is filled with love and caring and kindness and hope. And that's before the children arrived. From the moment we met them at their school for the crosstown walk to E&H, the children were bursting with the same love and kindness and caring and hope. It seemed almost unnatural that these kids would be so excited to go to what could easily be misinterpreted as just an after-school program. I learned so much hanging out with and watching these kids (besides: don't let them take your phone, because you won't get it back any time soon). The kids cared about the 'place' and each other to an unfathomable extent. They spent those afternoons just being kids, but in a supportive and loving educational environment that would be a enriching blessing in any part of the world. Here it was so much more.
I have known of Julie Coyne and her organization, Education & Hope, for a number of years. Just the other day I received a copy of an article https://crcc.usc.edu/julie-coyne-creating-a-community-of-care-in-highland-guatemala/. This article is a beautifully composed description that captures the soul of Education and Hope. After reading the article, I sent Julie a note describing my reaction to the post. With Julie's permission, I will share it:
A lovely article but not quite as lovely as the person about whom the article was written. I feel honored to be able to say I know you (even if it is just a little). Your philosophy of love in action brought some joyful tears. I wish we could clone you a thousand times a thousand and sprinkle you all over this planet. You have no one to look up to, you stand shoulder to shoulder with the best! Thank you for your work, your example, your passion, and your love. Wishing you all good blessings.
There is no other organization that I know of that models unconditional love and acceptance as clearly as this one. I recommend the referenced article to anyone in need of something positive.
Education and Hope is an organization that provides love, happiness, education, nutrition, medical service, and above all, the hope for a better future. This organization has been transforming the lives of many low-income Guatemalan families.
I am Jenny Diaz, and I am a little proof that all the amazing work that is done at Education and Hope is worth it. For me, Education and Hope is the family that has been helping me to achieve my dreams. Thanks to this great family, I was able to get a high school diploma, and now I am receiving a college education. All my personal and academic achievements would not have been possible without Education and Hope. Undoubtedly, Education and Hope is enlightening the lives of many Guatemalan children through education and love.
Education and Hope is a powerful and holy partnership between Julie Coyne and the Guatemalan children, parents and grandparents she serves and who serve her. It is all about love After twenty years, these two entwined entities continue to inspire and serve each other such that it would be impossible to have one without the other. This is the magic that is Education and Hope. In January, 2020, Jane, Scott, Stu and I visited Julie at her program in Xela. If you haven’t heard about this amazing not-for-profit, please look it up on line. It is a beautifully run, totally comprehensive program for children and families who are struggling. Every day, some 90 or so children come here for a delicious, healthy lunch after school before going across the street to receive tutoring for several hours by qualified teachers, many who grew up in the program and graduated from college to return. There is also a preschool program all day.
Walking home from school, the children line up to give Julie a hug before lunch. Julie’s program is about nurturing the whole child and their mothers and grandmothers, the senoras who are the backbone of the program. Often traveling up to an hour or more, these women go to the market each day (to feed 90 children two meals,) come back and chop vegetables and make tortillas, cook the food, serve the food, clean up, wash the dishes, and sweep the floor. And then they do it again, as many of these families suffer food scarcity. The children are given a healthy and substantial snack before going home around 5:30. Not only does Julie teach mindfulness and forgiveness practice regularly, both the children and the senoras are offered Zumba classes on a regular basis.
I met with the child psychologist who strives to instill developmental understanding of children raised in poverty and how to help manage trauma. Julie knows that when persons feel respected and are nurtured -physically, nutritionally, educationally, spiritually, and psychologically - they are more apt to thrive, and that explains why so many children have become high school and even college graduates, and why these former students now form the backbone of the program. Education and Hope’s whole-hearted commitment to nurturing the whole child and family over the long haul is what is so unique in the world of not-for-profit organizations. What a privilege it was to spend some time with these beautiful families who offer so many hugs and unconditional love.
A child's birthplace should not determine his/her future - and the cycle of poverty can be broken. Education and Hope is that life support for this community - guiding parents and children through the complexities of poverty and trauma towards the transformation of love and security. They are one of the few organizations that have been around long enough to have passed on this transformation to generations and will be around to make a sustainable change.
When one comes to know the inspiring and critical work of Education and Hope, one wants to give it a six star rating! Hundreds of children and related family members have been touched by Education and Hope over its long and rich history. It both feeds the body and the soul in ways that matter and with core values that endure. We feel privileged to support Education and Hope. Bill and Monica Laramee
Education and Hope is changing the lives of the children and families it serves. It is truly miraculous to see over the past 25 years how educating a child can lift up the entire family. Education and Hope is improving the lives of families for generations to come. Not only are the children being educated, fed and have their health, both mental and physical needs met, they know above all else they are loved. That is ultimately what makes Education and Hope so successful and special. When the children walk through the doors, they know they are loved and safe.
Education and Hope is a place filled with learning, happiness and most importantly Love! E and H is changing the future for the children it serves and for generations to come.
I was an intern at Education and Hope for nine months, where I helped with English classes and spent lots of time with the community. After my time as an intern, I went on to work for several different nonprofit organizations and schools, and I can truly say I have never been a part of an organization that lives out its mission as fully as Education and Hope. E&H's goal is to give children and their families a place to thrive, to be joyful, to love and be loved, and to have their basic human needs met so they can take part in the freedom that is education. Julie Coyne, the founder and executive director, runs this organization with tremendous vision and heart, but ultimately she has created a culturally responsive project that allows Guatemalans (especially women) to lead. In the nine months I was in Xela, I saw children from the surrounding rural communities join the project and seemingly blossom overnight. Education and Hope is about love in action, but the results are tangible and real. It is an amazing thing to witness.
Such an amazing program! You can feel the love as soon as you walk through the doors. Julie is doing amazing work in Guatemala
Education and Hope is truly changing the lives of Guatemalan children! I have been so lucky to see these changes first hand starting from 10 years ago to now, and it is so heart warming to see the project continue to grow and better the lives of each child it touches. This past May, sweet little Amy told me she wanted to be like Julie and start a nonprofit of her own one day to help even more children, and this is just a testament to the good work and love being given at the project!
Anyone who has visited Education and Hope can agree, the love is palpable while you are there, and that love is such an important part in helping these kids.
Education and Hope has changed so many lives over the years. I was about nine years old when I got accepted into the program. Since then my life has not been the same. My life is better. I finished high school In Guatemala and went to College in the U.S. All that was possible thanks to the kindness and generosity of Education and Hope.
I've been following Julie's work in Guatemala for almost twenty years - including six trips to Xela to visit the project. It's totally astonishing what she has been able to achieve for so many children. There have been 3300 scholarships provided; nearly 1600 children helped in the after-school tutoring program; 165 high school graduates and 20 university graduates. Aside from the work with the children, last year she provided steady employment for 54 workers - cooks, tutors, managers. 13 previously illiterate women now have achieved 6th grade diplomas. I'm so proud to be associated with this amazing project.
E & H is more than an organization… Julie has created a safe place for so many children and their families, a place filled with nurturing, education, a warm meal, and most importantly lots of LOVE…
I had an incredible experience with Education and Hope. The tight-knit community created by E&H is invaluable to its participants, and it gives so many kids a support system and encouragement. I met some incredible people that were extremely patient and accepting of me, and I was more than happy to help in any way I could
The best! We love going to Xela and share our love with Julie’s community of Education and hope.
It is amazing what they do to help people in need and for each other!
We can’t wait to be able to go back! In the meantime we help and keep an eye on them in any way we can ❤️
We love you!
Education and Hope defines the "whole child" approach to education and as a result, has lifted up an entire generation of Guatemalans. Having donated and volunteered with this organization for 20 years, I have witnessed the needle being moved in the Quetzaltenango community. The program has not only produced highly successful high school graduates but also numerous college graduates (Guatemalan and US) and this success has been reinvested back into the Guatemalan community. Your money is hard at work with Education and Hope.
Our family is a long time supporter of Education and Hope - 20 years! We have proudly donated money and time to this wonderful organization and have seen first hand the incredible life-changing work that is transforming an entire community. I have traveled to Guatemala twice. The first time with both of my daughters and this past summer with my middle daughter (high school junior). The reward of seeing and participating in the pure love that is Education and Hope is hard to put into words. The program currently serves 105 children on a daily basis in the after school program but also provides employment to mothers and women in the community as well. I love the “nurturing the whole child” approach that Julie Coyne (Founder) takes – feeding the mind, body, soul and heart. Our volunteering included a trip to the market, meal prep and serving, classroom and one-on-one academic help, exercise class, guided meditation, soccer and basketball games and so much laughter! This program is so incredibly well run and makes every dollar go as far as possible with very, very low overhead. So proud to be associated with Education and Hope!
I have been a long time supporter of Education and Hope both before and after my visit to the program in Guatemala. So many things touch my heart but three are central: Education and Hope provides work for the mothers of the children; it has become a loving community where each child is treasured and graduates come back to help. Amazing ! Fr David Blanchfield
We have been supporters of E&H for over a decade based on getting to know Julie through our friend Karen Elders. But visiting and volunteering for the program has been a formative life experience for my son Jack. What an amazing impact the whole E&H team has on these kids and their families!
Education and Hope is a place of love. This smiles in the children’s face says that they have found a place that they feel loved and safe. Education and Hope provides for kids an extended family that supports and believes in them.
I have been on the Board of Education and Hope for many years, and I have been lucky enough to meet a few of the children who have gone through the program. E&H is an organization that truly changes people lives. It not only changes the lives of the student, but also their entire family. Finally, not to be overlooked are all the people E&H employs! E&H is truly an organization that changes lives.
The story is simple. Moreover, it’s the real deal. Over 20 years ago, a young woman, fresh out of college, wanting to make a difference, set out to learn Spanish in order to work with immigrant families as they struggled to navigate the school system in her town. Her search brought her to Xela, Guatemala, where she found a reasonably-priced language immersion school that happened to include community service as part of its program. One thing led to another and after a period of time, this young woman began on her own to bring a few children to her apartment after school, serving them a warm meal and helping with school work. Time moved forward. The young woman persevered. More children came, so she began to raise funds from family and friends back home and hire staff from the community to help with the cooking and care. Thus Education and Hope was born.
Over the years, Education and Hope continued to grow. Today it stands as a vibrant, love-filled community dedicated to serving over 250 children daily with access to free tuition, after school tutoring, warm meals, late afternoon snacks, showers, recreation and emotional support. Make no mistake, this emotional support is the key, not only for the children who are lucky enough to be part of this enterprise, but for their families and the staff who serve them. They all share in the love coming forth from Julie Coyne (the young woman), and all who support her mission. These children and their families absorb this gift as they negotiate the difficult years of a childhood marked by poverty, loss and isolation. But if one is fortunate enough to spend time at Education and Hope, you will never see that. What you will see are happy children, engaged and embraced by all those around them. There is little sadness during their day because here they find love, companionship, support with their school work, meals, snacks, a shower, lessons on hygiene, time for fun and games, but most of all love. Julie Coyne is the force behind all of this, but she would be the first to say she couldn’t do it without the support of her staff, her family, her friends and many generous donors.
It's wonderful to know that my volunteer efforts, as well as my donations go directly towards this amazing organization – a true grass roots enterprise that continues to shine brightly despite all the tragedy we see around us. It gives us hope and inspiration.
I have been a volunteer and a fundraiser for Education and Hope for over 6 years working with my high school age children to raise awareness and funding for this very special group! A donation to E&H is pure - simple - unadulterated sharing of love and hope without the pomp and circumstance of gigantic charities where you have no idea what good you are doing. E & H takes the donation (Backpacks, socks, books, money) and it goes right to the community. You are able to see the immediate impact of your giving! I have consolidated my charitable giving to this one charity because I can help make a difference here!
I just came back from Guatemala about two weeks ago. I am still moved by the LOVE and hope I see with the people at Education and Hope who have so little. On my last day I addressed the whole project by starting with the little Spanish I know. Eres mi segunda familia. You are my second family. That says it all. Can't wait to go back in two years......
Below is the rest of my address to the project.
Since 2006 I have seen many of you grow in so many ways and I am so thankful for the fact that I have been able to get to know you and hear about your families through Julie.
I know that we can’t always communicate easily, but I know one thing that you always say to me is thank you for everything.
It is me that should be thanking you because ALL of you have taught me so much.
You have taught me to eat foods I normally wouldn’t eat, including my vegetables!
You taught me to sleep without heat and stay under the wool blankets!
You have taught me a little Spanish!
You have taught me how to wash dishes (please don’t tell my wife!).
You have taught me to chop vegetables in a perfect way.
You taught me to meditate and breath although I don’t always do it.
BUT most of all you have taught me to strive to be a better person and love my neighbor.
Even though I am several thousand kilometers away, you are MY neighbors as your pictures are all over my offices and our Guatemalan blankets in my house remind me of Xela every day!
I am so blessed to have you as my neighbors. So….THANK YOU for all you do for me! ¡GRACIAS por todo lo que haces por mí!
I have been lucky enough to have been involved with this organization for the past 6 years and been able to visit the base in Xela, Guatemala. I am proud to know the founder, Julie, who is an amazing woman and has been able to accomplish so much for the children of Education and Hope. The community is incredibly welcoming and the love is felt the moment I walked through the front door. Through a warm meal, tutoring, and a supportive Education and Hope family, hundreds of lives are changed. This organization is currently breaking the cycle of poverty that traps so many lives in Guatemala. I am so honored to be able to assist this organization any way I can- the work they accomplish is truly astounding and reminds me of the good in our world!
Amazing, inspiring, transforming!!!!! As a long time donor of Education and Hope, these are the words that come to mind when I think of this fabulous organization. I have been lucky enough to have visited E&H twice in the past 8 years. I was able to see firsthand what a warm, nurturing, environment this is for less fortunate children and their families. Each day the children were greeted with a big hug, a warm meal, a hot shower, and educational support, among other things. But most importantly, each child felt loved, heard, & validated. I am so happy to support such a wonderful organization that is transforming the lives of those that are less fortunate:-)
I have visited Education and Hope twice, once in 2011 and again in 2016, and have been amazed both times at how wonderful this organization really is. I was able to play with the children and see their smiles as they entered the after-school program each day. My experiences in Guatemala were life-changing and I am wowed by how much Julie Coyne (founder) has been able to accomplish in improving so many lives. I love being a part of such an amazing organization!
The love that exists at Education and Hope is evident in the photographs of its participants, which I have seen over 20 years now. I was able to visit E and H last year, and it was an extremely powerful exoerience. The respect, admiration and gratitude that its participants have for Julie is as real as it gets. And its not only the children she is impacting. The Senoras who cook the daily meals are empowered to have a voice and contribute to something. They earn a wage and take great pride in getting the very best deals at the market each morning for the fresh food they purchase for the day's menu :two hot meals made from scratch which are delicious and nutritious.
Abject poverty is prevelant in this population....and heartbreaking to witness. It was the first time I have seen it up close. Yet there is a peace, gratitude and radiance that eminates throughout Education and Hope. There is hope. And purpose, self empowerment, love and many, many hugs. Julie committed herself to this calling over 20 years ago and does so very much with every dollar contributed to E and H. As friends from home, we were called "Julie's angels" because they all know there are people far away who care and support what is happening there. The world could certainly use more of this.