Provide a Critical-Thinking program for 40 teens

by Integral Heart Foundation Vetted since 2012 Top Ranked Site Visit Verified

Because we believe that the future of our sponsored children can only be brighter through education, at the end of each year we create special cultural and educational events for our students.

This year we had two different events; the first with a local anthropologist who not only worked in the excavations of ancient Mayan sites but also as a forensic anthropologist unearthing and identifying the bodies of people who went missing during the recent Guatemalan civil war. This was a very interesting talk due to the fact that the philosophy students spent all year long investigating in their own recent history.

During this last week of classes we also rescued six puppies from a certain death by poisoning, and we had to bottle feed a fun task shared by all the adults and children. This resulted in a very touching and beautiful interaction between the staff, the little ones and these most vulnerable beings who needed our help.

This brings us to the second workshop on our responsibility towards animals given by two NGO´s, one Guatemalan, Castraciones Guaus & Miaus, and another from Costa Rica, ANPA. In this workshop we all participated, from the founders to the babies, and had a great, fun time learning about nature, respect to all beings, ecology, and care by playing games and sharing many laughs.

We believe that between all of us we can make a better world, therefore, thank you very much for making this possible and being such an integral part of making of this planet a much better place to live.

Happy Holidays to all of you. You are always in our hearts. Much love from all of your Guatemalan family.

One of the most important projects at the Integral Heart Foundation is our Philosophy/Critical-Thinking Program. This program, which is mandatory for the children of our sponsored families, begins for the students when they enter high school, or at 13 years of age.

But also at the Integral Heart Foundation we have children of all ages. We believe that it is important to nurture the capacity for free thinking as soon as possible; to help them get to the point at which they can begin questioning, to become curious about the roots of their ideas and concepts, getting them to look at the ‘why’ of the world around them.

We affirm that they get to read because they like to do so, no because they have to. Of course example is the best teaching tool and this is why we dedicate a time every day to just reading. We have a small library, which we are working to expand and develop, with books that are appropriate to all ages, including those for the little ones.

Our senior students and support staff sit with our younger student and read together, telling stories of other countries, times, realms, cultures and so on.

The younger students are really loving it and they are eager for more, they even bring more books to the tables before we finish the last story so we can continue reading more.

Because of this, and as part of a new effort underway, there is a project being born at our school. A complete, small, yet comprehensive library that will be run by one of our senior students so everyone can bring books home and read as they please. We will keep you updated as this project progresses.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” Dr. Seuss – I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Our deepest appreciation and gratefulness to all of you for your support our work here and for allowing for these kids to travel to more and more places!

Much love to you all from the Integral Heart Foundation.

Debora in reading time with the younger ones
Debora in reading time with the younger ones
Blanca in reading time
Blanca in reading time
Eric (center) in this photo we took in 2010
Eric (center) in this photo we took in 2010

At the Integral Heart Foundation we are always looking for our next superstar and we believe that this year we found a diamond. Eric is new in our philosophy/critical thinking class although he is not new to our programs. He is the third youngest of a family who has been with us since 2010 but it wasn´t until 2017 that he began attending to our class.

Eric is from a family of seven boys who live with their mom. Their dad passed away years ago and the mother couldn´t help her children with the school expenses on her own, therefore we found sponsors for the kids and they have been with us for all of these years. The good news about that is that we can see the kids growing up, and this is the case of Eric.

We first met Eric and his family in 2010 and since then we have been supporting them. We can say that we saw all the brothers growing up. When any of the kids from our sponsored families begin high school, usually around 13 years old, then they have to come to our critical thinking (CT) class. Eric began high school this year, therefore, he began attending to our CT class.

As you can imagine, in a family with so many boys, there is a little bit of competition between them. We witnessed several episodes in the past of not the best kind of competition between brothers. But with Eric things are different. He competes to excel. He only wins through knowledge, participation, thinking, healthy criticism and sharing of new ideas.

This year our class topic, The Cause of Poverty, is very different because of him and his input. His insights are always concise, clear and to the point. He is not ashamed to speak up, but he knows when, how, and what to speak about and how to express himself clearly on such a complex subject.

He is a great addition to our group and family and maybe he can be our next Guatemalan philosopher. For, we, too, believe that to resolve the issues of this country, Guatemalan must understand the reasons why they are in this horrible situation.

Thank you so much for supporting such diamonds who are so needed for our world today. Thank you all for supporting the Integral Heart Family.and

Eric at our school, photo taken 2017
Eric at our school, photo taken 2017
Eric at CT class with his older brother Mario
Eric at CT class with his older brother Mario
Eric with Mario, Marvin and Anthony at our school
Eric with Mario, Marvin and Anthony at our school
Family photo #2!
Family photo #2!
Bishop Joseph Catrambone
Bishop Joseph Catrambone

2017 is here and with it all our students are back at the school at La Academia. This year is the second that our school is open and all of the new classes are going very smoothly.

We can see that the Isa’s, our senior students who are in the second year of our three-year teachers-training program are maturing and being empowered by their role as tutors. They also know that the younger students look up to them as role models and we know the Isa´s are disappointing them.

Amongst other projects for this year, we already had the visit of Bishop Joseph Catrambone and he is planning to be back to give a full talk to our Critical-Thinking students later this year. One of our goals is that the students are exposed to as many great traditions as possible, and we always prefer that this kind of talks are given by experts!

Bishop Joseph, who supports many other projects in Guatemala, believes in tolerance and can see the beauty in diversity so he is very excited about giving this class.

We will also be having during the month of March a training on animal love and compassion, given by a local NGO whose goal is to educate the younger generations on the importance of seeing our pets as our family and friends, and to learn that to abuse them is wrong.

Our Critical-Thinking classes are now being taught in part by the Isa´s. They are taking over these classes since we are entitling them to do so. And they are doing a wonderful job. We can say that this is the beginning of the future of our school being run only by Guatemalans, as this was our dream from the very start. We feel more and more confident in the fact that the seeds we planted in our senior students years ago for the love of wisdom are blossoming in ways that are marvelous and suprising, even to us.

And to all of our donors, we can´t thank you enough for making this beautiful garden of youth and potential possible. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you very much.

During a relaxed talk with some of our senior s
During a relaxed talk with some of our senior s
CT homework time
CT homework time
Mindfulness Class
Mindfulness Class
Isas at a spay/neutering clinic
Isas at a spay/neutering clinic
The Group
The Group

A very Merry and Happy Holidays to you all is coming from all 33 teenagers who attend our Critical-Thinking Program at our school, La Academia, here in Guatemala!!!

Education is the heart of our work. The Critical-Thinking
 / Advanced Functioning Skills Program for teenagers is about changing culture from the inside out. We are working towards this goal, not by teaching our students what to think, but by teaching them how to think for themselves.   

While the concept of critical-thinking may seem simple to someone in a developed country, in Guatemala children are taught by their parents that their futures will be a carbon copy of all previous generations; a life of hardship full of tough manual labor and physical, emotional, and psychological suffering. IHF teaches them that this is simply not true, and that they are capable of rising above this insidious cycle.

We are looking forward to a wonderful year in 2017!!

Thank you for all the support,

:-)

Mick and Deb with senior students and staff.
Mick and Deb with senior students and staff.
Saul and his group
Saul and his group
JC and his group
JC and his group
 

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Organization Information

Integral Heart Foundation

Location: Salt Lake City, UT - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.integralheartfoundation.org
Project Leader:
Mick Quinn
Antigua, Guatemala

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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