We hope that this report finds you well in your late summer activities, whether you are enjoying the end of the summer season holidays or continuing on with daily life.
Here in Guatemala we are into the rainy season and thankfully it hasn't been quite mild so far. Though the rain is needed for crops, we are grateful that there haven't been any big storms which can affect our families.
As a supporter of our preschool/kinder program here on GlobalGiving, we would like to update you on some important happenings (and some specific news on Luis, Jimena & Chente in relation to these changes in this program). First of all, on behalf of the children, their families, the staff and Integral Heart Foundation, we are extremely grateful for your continued support of this program and the kids. As you will see from the photo below, there have been noticeable improvements not only in the interactions of the kids as a result of daily supervision and time with kids their own age, but also in their complexion and energy due to the regular care and nutrition they have been receiving. The change that is happening this year is that we are integrating the Kindergarten program kids into our Sponsorship Program. In preparation we are also looking at other preschools in the area as options for the parents to send their kids to, if they are willing. Under the supervision of our Program Director, Liz Flinn, we will be maintaining contact with the family of each sponsored child as we do with the other 50 adolescents and children in the Sponsorship Program.
At the second preschool/kinder location, which has been operating since 2011 within one of our partner non-profit locations in San Mateo, the kids there have been integrated into existing programs there and are attending on a daily basis. Again, we will be maintaining regular contact with the families of the individually sponsored children in San Mateo. As these children are set for now with daily care in the local programs, our help continues to be in the form of a monthly food basket, school materials, shoes and medicine as needed for each of their families And, as many of you will recall, the entire pre-school/Kindergarten program got started with Luisito, Jimena & Chente back in January of 2011 (you can read their story here http://www.integralheartfoundation.org/kindergarten.program.htm). They continue to live in their own house on their grandparent’s property. They are still attending that local project where they receive at least one meal and one snack per day. So, our direct involvement with them is now based on two things; food and lodging. We, thanks to your support, are able to buy them a monthly food basket and the grandmother, Julia, comes into town so we get a chance to visit with her and see how things are going. The last time we did this, she told us that the kids are doing well and they are always excited when she goes to get the food as she buys the food that they like :). We are also continuing to pay for adult supervision for them during the nights. Jimena & Chente's aunt stays with them in the night.
Thanks so much for your continued support of these three. As you have seen, they have come a long way in their interaction both with kids their own age as well as with adults. They have food, clothes, shelter and most importantly love, which is more than they had when we first met them. Thanks to your involvement we look forward to how they will continue to thrive and do better. Again we would like to say thanks for your continued support! We can't do what we do without you. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
The IHF team.
A big hello to you!
It's hard to imagine, but those of you who are parents know it all too well. They grow and they are suddenly on to the next thing. When Debora and I were approached by the wonderful director of Semilla de Esperanza y Amor, Lys Flores back in 2011 with the idea of helping three tots who were basically abandoned, we thought 'Kindergarten'.And, with your help over the past 2 years we have provided for these initals three, Luisito, Chente and Jimena. The numbers grew and grew at this location and soon Lys moved it to her new building and with a full time teacher who was paid for by the Integral Heart Foundation a trip to the 'kinder' somedays provided hugs from ten, eleven or even twelve little smiling faces.
As you can see in the photos we also added some kids with disabilities to this program and they have faired really well with all the interactions and play time with their wee peers.
In the other photos you will recognize some of the tots who are now in school uniforms for now they have moved on to first grade. It is sad to see them go but then with all of our help they are a little more prepared.We would also like to express our great thanks to Lys Flores and all the staff at Semilla de Esperanza y Amor in San Mateo without whom this first kindergarten project would never have been possible.
Again, thank you so much and we look forward to a wonderful future for all.
The Story of Byron
Our kindergarten schools provide a safe haven for tots here in Guatemala. Here is a story from just last month on how your support of this program allowed us to respond to a desperate situation involving two year old Byron.
Byron and his two siblings are living with their mom in a cornstalk shack with dirt floors, tin roof and plastic to keep out the elements. His oldest sister had a small a sponsorship through our foundation, which meant she at least was on our radar. Byron, his sister and mom, were also receiving other help to cover their rent and transportation for the girls to school. But suddenly, this other program closed its doors, leaving the girls with no way to get to or pay for school and the entire family was in danger of being evicted. We found out about this when the oldest girl, whom we sponsored, came to us in a panic.
Our first response was to issue a request to our donors and friends to support the family and so far, we have had a wonderful response. We registered the girls in a new school and one donor financially supported them for English lessons.
And because of the existence of our kindergarten program we immediately invited Byron’s mom to bring him to one of our locations each morning. Now he gets to play in a safe environment, eats two healthy meals, has a bath and a clean change of clothes, and best of all, a nice nap in the early afternoon! Have we told you how much he loves it? He certainly does!
Thank you for all your support,
The Team at Integral Heart Foundation
Ps: If you would like to a specific child in this program, you can see some of their photos and descriptions here; http://www.integralheartfoundation.org/Sponsor.Guatemala.Child.htm
Hello dear donors! Greetings from Guatemala and we hope that you are doing great!
Guatemala is a festive country, with many street fairs, open music events, parades and fireworks.
This culture of festivals also extends to the children, which of course we celebrated with the children from our newest kindergarten in Panorama, Guatemala. Here are some photo from the Day of the Child and as you will see the kids really love their piñata!
And, also on somewhat of festive note, we have been using the meeting area in this kindergarten location for our weekly team meeting (we used to use our home for that in the past). We had a wonderful visit from Jeff Carreira, Director of Education at EnlightenNext just recently and he came along to sit in on our meeting as you can see it the photo below.
We look forward to a great year in 2013 and will be in touch again with our end of year newsletter from The Integral Heart Foundation.
With Warmest Regards,
Mick, Debora and all team Team.
Hello to all of our GlobalGiving partners and supporters!
The rainy season here in Guatemala has been quite mild this year with very little flooding and no landslides. We have our fingers crossed that this ease will continue for the next six weeks or so to the offical start of 'summer'!
In the meantime, our new Kindergarten in Jardins d'Antigua is officially open. The 4-roomed house is divided into kitchen/dining area and office downstairs and upstairs, we have the lesson/play room, the nap room, and a private meeting room.
We have on average 5 to 7 youngsters attending each day under the great care of our Kindergarten Progam manager, Marisol, and her trusted assistant/teacher Lizeth, both of whom are also native Guatemalans. The mom or dads drop the kids off at 7.30am and come back for them after 3pm. We have heard great news from both Marisol and Lizeth on the progress the kids have been making and especially with one little girl who over the period of one month showed tremendous visible improvement from her malnutricion because of the regular meals all of the kids recieve as part of their day at the kindergarten.
We also contracted our solar company Quetsol to install a solar lighting system at this kindergarten. The installation took 1/2 day for two of their workers and now we do not have to use grid power for lighting and all small appliances!
Thank you again for all your support in this project!!
With love from Guatemala,
Debora and Mick.
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Panorama, Antigua Guatemala,
Salt Lake City,