Education & Hope Collection for Guatemalan Children
Rooted in the Gospel and Catholic social tradition, the St. Jerome Social Concerns Committee strives to create educational and service opportunities in concert with community agencies, calling us all to action for a more just and humane world. The Mission of the Committee is to provide our St. Jerome community with opportunities to fulfill their Christian responsibility of service to those in need, as Jesus Christ asked of us.
New members are always welcome. Our meetings are usually on the fourth Monday of the month, September through June, in the Kevin Eidt Youth Room in the church hall. Social Concerns Committee minutes are posted at the very bottom of this page.
CONTACT: Kathy Coyne, (203) 856-4273.
Julie Coyne is a parishioner who after college went to study Spanish in Guatemala in 1994 and ended up falling love with the children of that third world country. She went on to start a non-profit organization, Education and Hope. Julie Coyne’s mission in Guatemala is anofficial parish ministry. The help we give to her is part of our St. Jerome parish mission.The work of Julie and the foundation is that of providing a good education for over 100 children a year. Julie provides tuition for a private school education and supplements this with an after school program. She helps the children with clothes, school supplies and sometimes medical help. A lead editorial from May 2008 in the local newspaper, The Hour, praised Julie’s work as a “low-key, home-grown charity that is doing its good work in Guatemala … Providing the means to an education and creating a library may offer the way out of grinding poverty in this tiny village where illiteracy is the norm.”
The need is so great that the program has grown each year and great effort is needed to keep it funded. Every year, usually in September, Julie comes to speak at all the Masses after Communion. In the past several years we have been able to raise about $10,000 to help her children. At Christmas time we also ask for gifts for her children to be placed under the “Giving Tree”. We have made Julie’s work the work of the parish.
To make a contribution, send to Education & Hope, P.O. Box 486, Norwalk, CT 06856, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see the flier for Education & Hope for what your donations can mean for the children. Detailed information about what Education & Hope does can be found here and photos of the children helped can be seen here
Julie’s ardent message of hope comes out brilliantly in a December letter she wrote to the parish to thank them for their support and can be read here. Julie’s work can be seen in several videos available on YouTube at Education and Hope – YouTube. You will enjoy seeing several excellent videos about the Guatemalan children Julie helps, especially the video about Erik. Occasionally Education and Hope is able to make a much more substantial impact. One video, Casa Diega, is the story of a home built by Education and Hope for a grandmother and the eight children in her care. Donors made it possible to provide her family with a decent home so they might live with dignity.
In September 2011 Julie was inducted into the Norwalk High School Wall of Honor for her tireless work to provide hundreds of poor children in Quetzaltenango a quality life through her Education and Hope program.