Conn. (WTNH) — Connecting globally: A Connecticut woman has made it her mission to bring education, nutrition, and love to the Western Highlands of Guatemala.
Founded on the belief that education is a fundamental human right, Connecticut and Guatemala have been connected for the last 25 years all because a Norwalk woman named Julie Coyne had a vision.
“Through my experience in the rural communities, I just fell in love with the country,” Coyne said.
Today, she is creating change and opportunity through Education and Hope. While it originally began as a scholarship program to help provide access to education to families who couldn’t afford to send them to school, the non-profit is now nurturing children beyond the classroom.
“We provide nutrition: two hot meals a day at our after school program,” Coyne said. “We provide access to medical care, we provide mental health care, we provide family support services.”
Coyne said that recently, she had an experience when the youngest children came into lunch.
“When our cooks handed them a plate with food and a plate with fruit, they stopped and said, “Is all of this for me?'” Coyne said. “It was a simple, balanced meal, but they had never seen so much food for one person.”
It’s thanks to the kindness and generosity of the many volunteers and donors from Connecticut and beyond that these families have hope.
While the work is big, the mission is simple: Julie said its all about love.
“My goal is that every child who walks through the door knows without a doubt, they are loved,” Coyne said. “If they feel loved and appreciated, that I think is the greater goal.”
Over the last 25 years, Education and Hope has helped 214 young people graduate from high school and 27 graduate from college. In addition to helping children, the non-profit provides employment to the people of Guatemala.
Find more information about Education and Hope here.