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Ann R.3

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1 reviews

Review for Education And Hope, Norwalk, CT, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

Ann Reeves

Role:  General Member of the Public