Integral Heart Foundation

Our mission is to change culture from the inside out through person-to-person sponsoring and educational programs that include the development of mind, body, spirit and emotions. We see our work as the beginning of a multi-generational movement whose leaders are empowered to preserve cultural beauty and diversity and to embrace personal responsibility in a global context.
Nov 25, 2014

Just a Great Year with a Greater End

Meditation Day with Terry Patten in Guatemala
Meditation Day with Terry Patten in Guatemala

We would like to begin this last report of the year with deep gratitude and thankfulness. Our students are brilliant so are our donors. We have had the honor of sharing a wonderful year full of potential and great surprises, and the best part is that it is not over yet.

The official school year ends in Guatemala at the end of October. During out last class then we asked the teens to tells us what they liked the most about this Critical-Thinking/Integral Philosophy Program, to share with us those insights that were more impactful for them over the year. This is what they came up with:

What they loved the most over the year:

-          The talks on suicide

-          The four perspectives in which all reality arises

-          The use of meditation for being more calm and balanced

-          Bringing in other teachers and engaging with their points of view

-          Using the four quadrants as a tool to solve problems

-          The inter-dependence of the four quadrants

-          The power of transmitting knowledge to younger generations

As homework for their school holiday until we start up again January of 2015 we assigned our students to read the book “Love, Marriage and Evolution” by Amy Edelstein (translated by our co-founder Debora Prieto) and to write a report on their impressions. They are also reading “Integral Vision” by Ken Wiber.

This homework ensures that their potential and wisdom keeps growing over the holidays.

But as we said, the year is not over yet and the icing of the cake was the visit of Terry Patten to Guatemala. He did some home visits with us to see where our students live, participated with us in our annual meditate to educate day. And Terry also led a full day workshop with the title “Every Moment Is A Practice”.

We can summarize the whole visit in Jessica’s words (in the picture below): “On Saturday I understood the meaning of breathing to and from the heart; today I really embodied and I now know what it really means in a deeper and more integral sense”.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts to all of you who made this possible: all our donors, advisers, staff, lectures and, of course, our students. And please, have a wonderful and love-filled Holiday.

The Integral Heart Foundation.

Day-long workshop with Terry Patten and our teens
Day-long workshop with Terry Patten and our teens
Teens with Amy
Teens with Amy's book
Teens with Amy
Teens with Amy's book
Board image from what the teens liked over the yea
Board image from what the teens liked over the yea
Walking meditation
Walking meditation
One of our star students, Jessica
One of our star students, Jessica

Links:

Sep 10, 2014

Education Even on the Weekend!

Some of the students with JC, the teacher (right)
Some of the students with JC, the teacher (right)

At the Integral Heart Foundation, we believe that education can significantly alter unequal and impoverished social situations. And in a country such as Guatemala, where education is often considered a second class citizen, we are constantly challenged to provide our students with the best possible tools to empower this change.

As part of our work, we are not only providing a high standard of learning but also creating jobs, practices and opportunities for our most mature students and who are close to entering the job market themselves.

This is why, as part of this sponsorship and education program, we don’t only cover the monthly tuitions for the kid’s normal schooling but we now also provide them with extra-curricular weekend activities.

It all began with Juan Carlos (20) who with the help of our sponsorship program has been studying to be a teacher since 2011. He asked if we could help him find work on the weekends to supplement his family's income. We also had three girls in our program who we knew were beginning to fall behind our required 70% grade point average.

So we thought, why not create a weekend study program for the girls under the tutelage of JC. As part of this we had to find a space for this to happen since we still do not have our own location. Eventually we found a lovely location courtesy of another non-profit here in Antigua Guatemala.

We must admit that we were a little hesitant about the response we were going to get from the girls, since we understood that they might prefer to do something else on Saturdays besides going to extra classes. But, when we mentioned this opportunity to them, we were greatly surprised that they wanted to start immediately.

The weekend classes have been running now for almost four months. JC makes a small salary, gets to practice as a teacher, and the girls grades have improved greatly.

Then, three weeks ago another group of our students who are not sponsored yet but, who attend our programs, asked if they could join this weekend study group. As you can imagine we were a little surprised. Fourteen year-olds asking to do extra homework on a Saturday?

This new group voluntarily joined the study group because the said that they have developed a new interest in the power of education from attending our on-going programs and wanted to take advantage of this weekend tuition.

As Jennifer said after her first Saturday attending the classes: “I finally could do all my homework, ask all the questions my normal teacher has no time for, and go to my classes on Monday very proud of myself.”

So here is one more improvement we are making in these children’s lives thanks to you, our GlobalGiving donors.

From our Integral Hearts, thank you!

Sonia clarifying some doubts about her homework.
Sonia clarifying some doubts about her homework.
Jackie and Carmen studying
Jackie and Carmen studying
Angelita doing her homework
Angelita doing her homework

Links:

Aug 26, 2014

Sex and Suicide

Marisol showing the students images of STDs
Marisol showing the students images of STDs

Hello to all our dear donors and supporters,

The school year is going great although Guatemala is going through a drought which we hope will end soon before the weather affects the crops.

Our students are more alive than ever and beginning to ask to us cover topics of personal interest. As a result of their suggestions, and as part of our philosophical and critical inquires, we have been talking about two subjects that are obviously important to them: sex and suicide.

The first class on safe sex and pregnancy prevention was given by Marisol, our Community Liaison, who recently received her qualification to teach on this topic. The kids had the opportunity to ask, in many cases for the first time, how to deal with contraceptives, how to make smart choices about sexual encounters and to ask more daring questions, such as about painful menstruation and urinary tract infections. Marisol also spoke about sexually transmitted diseases and about the importance of making healthy and mature choices and that sometimes abstinence is a good option.

The second subject that the students asked us to speak about was suicide. We were concerned at first that some of them could actually be thinking about this as an option. But, that was not the case, even though almost all the kids have known someone who has committed suicide.

At first we thought about giving a one-day talk but because of the depth of response we got from the kids, we soon realized that this would not be enough time. As of the time of this report we have spent already five weekly classes on the subject. We talked about signs, symptoms, causes, and preventions all from an Integral perspective. We had many questions and comments and personal stories from the kids as mostly all of them knew of somebody who had attempted suicide or who was talking about that possibility.

As part of this class we separated the students in groups in which they could share their thoughts and feelings about this subject. We also had them make a list of the things that they felt make their lives worth living. Carmen, 14, who grew up in a trash dump, and currently lives with her mom and two siblings in a tin shack with dirt floors said “Because I am important”. 

In our name and in the names of all of our students and their families, we’d like to thank all of you who are making this work possible. You are saving lives in so many different ways. THANK YOU!!

Learning how to use a condom:
Learning how to use a condom:
The whiteboard on suicide
The whiteboard on suicide
The students sharing in groups
The students sharing in groups

Links:

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