Because of you, yes you, we have the perfect space, a safe container where the magic of learning can happen.
A space in a country where even moderate success is difficult, especially if you haven’t been born into a “good family”. Where the threat of extortion, drugs, and gangs is rife—we have created together an oasis where children and teenagers can learn, play, dream and be at home.
Because of you, we are proud to call La Academia not a school, but a home. That is the feeling you get when you visit La Academia, a place where all of us; founders, staff, volunteers, teachers, students, donors, and parents feel at home, surrounded by their huge family.
In this late summer newsletter, we are going to mention some of happenings at La Academia that make it such a home!
Our language teachers are doing a wonderful job with our senior students. For Spanish, ‘Profe Arturo’ is like a grandfather figure (I hope he forgives me for this) and although it may seem silly, he teaches grammatically correct Spanish; the average language level in State-schools is pretty bad—and we have even found typos in legal contracts. These classes will greatly aid our students as they move on to university and eventually to their own careers.
“Seno Andrea”, as she is known, is our certified English teacher and is from the United States. She is the ‘adventurous cousin’ who takes the students to the local central park to practice their English on unsuspecting tourists. “Moma Sonia” is actually a great-grandmother at the age of 53, she runs the home and is responsible for the production of 1,500 meals every month.
Marisol, our social worker, and a grandmother herself at 34, is known warmly as ‘Dona Mari’. Her constant presence at La Academia and in her interactions with our sponsored families provides a loving and stable presence—the moms like to chat with her so we can glean so much more information about where to offer help as sometimes they are afraid to ask.
Then of course there is “Tio (uncle) Orlando”, the father of one of our sponsored girls who comes in every day before his own job as a pastry chef to help out in food preparation.
In addition, we have Tasha, Pito, Pinky, Sparky and Muneca, for what family is not complete without canine companions (no group photo available!). And, as a another sign of our caring family and the great work that the teachers are doing, the senior students are teaching the younger ones at La Academia. This means that they learn and they share what they have learned with the younger generation. In this group of seniors, we have the ‘wild son’ Felipe, the ‘go-getter’ Saul, the ‘thinker’ JC, the ‘quiet one’ Conal, and the ‘tough career girl’ Gaby. The younger ones are Ingrid known as ‘Ta-ta’, no one knows why, and we have Stephanie and her daughter, also Stephanie who are an example to all, that education can continue, even with an unexpected pregnancy.
We couldn’t feel more proud of them and we are deeply grateful to all of you for supporting our wonderful home and family. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so very much!
PS: for the last quarter, the ‘numbers-man’ Mick underestimated the operating costs leaving us about $6,000 short for this period, so if there is anyone in your family who can help us close this, please forward this newsletter on to them.
A big hello from Guatemala,
In this report we'd like to tell you how we are using a part of your sponsorship to provide our sponsorsed families with comforts that go beyond just a full belly. Your support also gives a sense of peace and trust and now also place where all of the families can come and forget about the hash struggles of their daily lives for a while.
Another great improvement has been the opening of our own school. Not only did this allow us to have a place where we meet the families, and where they could find us, but also an oasis, a safe container for their children to learn, to play, to share and socialize, but a safe container in which to relax and in doing so, giving and receiving love.
Our new school, La Academia is managed and operated entirely by Guatemalans - with huge hearts -and it is also a haven for all our families. At our school, each of our 60 sponsored students are well fed with a healthy and varied diet, recieve tutorial classes and are getting the chance to love reading and playing together as a one big family. And all of the children of the families are welcome, whether they have sponsors or not.
Surprisingly, what we are beginning to find out is that the kids and the students are now more and more eager to learn, grow, and to prosper. Their curiosity is expanding and this is compelling us to make more and more new materials available to them. They are beginning to love wisdom, and that is just beautiful.
There is also a room just for the parents and grandparents. Once a month we invite the adults of each of our sponsored children to come to the school to enjoy the space, to get know each other, to share their difficulties at home, with work or with relatives. We give them workshops on health, empowering women, the importance of hygiene, diet, violence (whether it is verbal, physical, sexual, or any other kind), and we play together as a big family. And, they are really loving this!!
We also have psychological help available for staff, students, teachers, parents, and relatives. All of this together is creating a wonderful and inviting atmosphere that, as an outcome, is bringing more and more people to us who are asking to be a part of The Integral Heart Family.
In short. the new addition of our own space to the foundation, is building a brighter future for all of us.
A great big thanks to all of you who for depositing your trust and funding with us to make this happen. We wouldn’t be able to do it without you.
Ethics and morals form the basis of our values.
At the Integral Heart Foundation we think that although intellectual and academic achievements are important, they don’t have significant value if they don’t go hand in hand with moral development.
Our senior students are going through a 3-year full-time intellectual program, helping us in La Academia (our school in Guatemala) with the younger students in tutorial classes and they also participate and serve others in the community. In doing so, their hearts are expanding and so are their views and perspectives in life in regard to tolerance, other cultures, philosophies, ways of thinking and customs.
In the last three months theyhave also helped us with our families, not only at the school but also doing social visits with our social worker to the homes of our sponsored students. Seeing the homes of the little ones made them think a lot about what to expect of them when are in our classes and this is teaching htem to be more considerate.
The senior students have also visited a school in their own neighborhood, which they were not aware of, for deaf-mute children whose families have a humble background. Since that visit they have become interested in learning their language as they realized how difficult it was for them to communicate with their peers because they never thought about speaking with sign-language.
Our senior students are also volunteering in clinics that operate on Sundays by local charities specializing in animals, pets and street dogs; to neuter/spay animals who come from financially poor families or even directly from the street. They spend their Sunday’s helping to make these clinics happen.
We are so proud of these amazing students and all they can teach to the younger ones, not only with their own learning and experiences but also by example.
We think they are on a great path to make Guatemala a better place and they are the ones who are going to teach the younger generations how it can be done!
To all of you who are trusting us to make this happen, thank you so much, your heart and donations are making a big difference at all levels in this small community.
From the bottom of our hearts Thank You!