Bringing educational opportunities to impoverished...
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Jul 02, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

Bringing educational opportunities to impoverished schools

Ancaster News

By Debra Downey, Senior Editor

Mary Craig has long had a passion for helping others.

As a teenager attending St. Mary’s Secondary School, she assisted in building homes for poor families in a mountainous region of the Dominican Republic. She has travelled to Switzerland to work with non-governmental agencies involved with human rights, and she has lent a hand in Mexico, the country of her mother’s birth.

At the end of July, Craig, 32, will reach out once again, this time to Guatemala, through the Cooperative for Education (CoEd) program dedicated to helping Guatemalan school children break the cycle of poverty through education.

Craig and 15 other volunteer participants from across North America will deliver books and visit computer centers in poor, rural schools.

“I’ll be learning about the CoEd program, visiting the sites, getting involved in the program and getting an introduction to  Guatemalan life and culture,” said Craig.

Craig’s desire to help others extends to her professional life as well. An employee of the Hamilton Wentworth Board of Education, she teaches high school at Cathedral and is the coordinator of the nutrition program at St. Patrick’s School. Located on East Avenue South in the lower city, St. Patrick’s offers a breakfast program to ensure students get a good start to their days.

Craig said the trips she takes to impoverished nations help her bring a different perspective to her life and the students she teaches.

“It kind of rounds out my life and how I teach and my understanding of justice and the kind of society you’d like to live in,” said Craig.

In the past 18 years CoEd, based in Cincinnati and Guatemala City, has established 164 textbook programs, 39 computer centers, 40 schools and 814 one-year scholarships.  Through its programs, the organization strives to address the root causes of poverty, rather than merely treating its symptoms. For more information, visit

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