Just like throwing a stone into a pond, sponsoring a student in the Rise Youth Development Program creates ripples that not only impact one student’s life for the better, but continues to impact generation after generation of students in Guatemala.

But don’t just take our word for it. Everyone, meet José.
This picture of him was taken wayyyy back in 2012 when he was just entering his second year in CoEd’s Rise Program. Now fast forward 8 years to 2020. Within that time, José graduated high school, started a successful career as an accountant, and is now volunteering his time to tutor current Rise Program students so that they can continue their education during the pandemic and follow in his footsteps.

José’s introduction video to his tutoring sessions!

Are you wondering how all of these amazing things happened? We’ll start from the beginning.
Back when José was growing up, like many children in rural Guatemala, his family didn’t have the money to keep him and his siblings in school. And to make matters worse, that wasn’t the only factor keeping him from his goal of completing his education. José said, “I had many difficulties during primary school that were not just economic. I was also a child with low self-esteem. My parents did not show interest in my studies. I did not get the materials to take classes, and I had to walk long distances to class.”
On the verge of dropping out after 5th grade, José remembered, “I heard that CoEd gave scholarships so children can be able to continue with their studies, so I was driven to get one of the scholarships and that was what motivated me to not drop out of school.”
And sure enough, José’s determination paid off. He entered the Rise Program in 2010 thanks to his sponsors John Behrendt, Sue Behrendt, and Tim Murphy, who started the first of many ripples.

José hugging his Rise sponsor, Tim. José remarked, “Thanks to the sponsors, I am who I am today. I have been successful in everything I have done. In a way, if I had not had support, I would not have continued studying, so it was a big change in my life. Sponsors are special people to me. I want to thank them with all my heart for all they do for us.”

Throughout middle and high school, José had to juggle school and work. “However, this did not matter to me since the only thing that mattered was I wanted to continue with my studies,” José noted.

While in the Rise Program, José participated in a variety of workshops, business visits, and community service projects to help him rise above the challenges he faced. José mentioned that “the workshops and support of CoEd were fundamental in helping me learn to trust myself and have goals.”
In 2015, José beat the odds and graduated high school. He started his career as an accountant and now makes enough to help not only himself but his family too. And the ripples continue.

José working at his accounting job

Moving onto the present day, José reached out to CoEd to offer his expertise and volunteered to tutor current program students in accounting online during the pandemic. José is just one example of our amazing Rise graduates coming back to mentor and teach the next generation of kids in Guatemala.

We are so proud of students like José who have overcome so many obstacles and continue to give back to their communities, spreading the ripples of support further and further as time goes on.