Our morning Critical Thinking students, please click for most recently updated photos.

OUR MISSION - what we do:

We are creating conscious leaders through heart-centered
sponsorship and educational programs which include the
development of mind, body, spirit and emotions.

This Critical-Thinking / Integral Education Program is creating
the possibility of changing culture from the inside out. We are
doing this, not by teaching our students what to think, but by
teaching them how to think for themselves.

This program teaches individual competency and social skills,
and encourages taking responsibility, not only for the self but
also for other people. See Curriculum Map

Become a Sustaining Sponsor  using

Sponsors a Junior
Program child for
one month and
provides a family
food basket

Sponsors a student
in high-school for
one month and
provides a family
food basket

Sponsors a student
in our CTIED Program
for one month and to
attend a college
of their choice

Sponsors food,
clothes, shoes
and school supplies
for all 50 children
in our programs 

OUR VISION - what we see:

We see our work as the beginning of a multi-generational movement whose leaders are empowered
to preserve cultural beauty and diversity; to strive for human rights and gender equality; and also to
embrace personal responsibility in a global context.

Our vision is to teach teachers who we will then sponsor or assist in finding employment in the public
school system and in non-profit run after-school programs. 10 teachers could reach 750 children per year.
100 teachers could reach 7,500 children thus empowering a new wave of social and cultural change.

As part of this achievement, we are working towards our own teaching environment. See more details.

Over the next forty years we envision a community transformed to one that cares deeply about finding
sustainable solutions to its own problems and also one that understands that any act of compassionate
service also affects the future of humanity as a whole.

OUR MODEL - Nourish, Learn, Socialize, Transform

The Integral Heart Family collaborates with a number of social organizations in and around the city
of Antigua Guatemala. These organizations work in the areas of education, health-care and community
development, day care centers, and construction of housing, schools and clinics. We select beneficiary
families and individuals in co-operation with these local partner organizations.   

Integral Heart is constantly evolving our model to support sustainable solutions in the resource-poor
environments in which we work. Our model is currently based on these five tenets: 
1.  Nourish - families who have an adequate diet are more likely to value education over child labor.
2.  Socialize - students in our programs that are formed in the context of safety, love and cleanliness.
3.  Learn - to think critically allowing for original and emergent solutions to existing and new issues.
4.  Transform - students then enter their adult lives with vastly expanded views of their own potential.
4.  Replicate - creating sustainable long term solutions by having Guatemalan teach Guatemalan.

OUR MANDATE - why we do what we do:

We see ourselves as others. Our joy is theirs, their suffering is ours, our potential is shared.

How we measure results:
In order to measure the impact of the Critical-Thinking (CT-IED) Program, we collect data at three different levels; student, classroom and staff. In order to set context it is good to know that most of our students live in resource-poor environments. Many lack access to adequate food, electricity, and running water and their ramshackle homes, commonly of dirt floors, tin walls and roofs, are located in dangerous slums which are adversely affected by earthquakes, mudslides and gang activity. Physical, emotional and psychological abuse is common.

We track the extent to which students are connected with and actively engaging in the CT-IED Program and our other programs and the extent to which those services result in improved functioning for the students served. Accordingly, we use various measures of;

1.  The grades the students receive from their public school and college education.
2.  The grades the students receive from our own CT-IED exams (3-4 annually).
3.  Their attendance and attentiveness.
4.  The student’s depth of response to weekly homework assignments.
5.   The student’s depth of response to impromptu in-class assignments.
6.  Their interactions with other students and willingness to refer their friends/siblings.
7.  The increase/decrease of personal problems issues at home, school, or with peers.
8.  The depth of questions during our Wisdom Speaker events.
9.  The student’s willingness to share their dreams/lucid dream and other state experiences.
 10. The emergence of nation-centric and world-centric perspectives.

Explanation for 1, 2 and 3: Our pre 9th grade students begin attending this program at age 13. Many of our students are also in our sponsorship program. This means that we have found a sponsor for them who funds their education pre and post 9th grade. If a teen has a sponsor they are mandated to attend CT-IED program. However, about 20% of the CT-IED students are currently not sponsored and attend voluntarily.

As part of maintaining their sponsorship the student must present a copy of their quarterly grades from the public school or college they attend. We require a grade point average of 70%. This allows us to track their overall progress and we do see an overall trend of improvement, especially with the most interested CT-IED students. Non-sponsored students are not required to give us their grades.

In the CT-IED program we have 3-4 written exams each year. Some questions are one line responses, others are open ended. We are looking to see their ability to reply succinctly when required and also the depth of their responses. With the essay questions we are also seeking to measure the impact of our work when student connect topics and threads that we did not necessarily connect in the class.

For instance, Jeff Carreira gave a video skype class on emptiness. The previous semester we were covering values hierarchies. We noticed in a later exam that one student was pondering the relationship between our values, and our ability to arrange them, to the fact that awareness arises from no-thing.  The exams also allow us to see the general stage of reference of the student, if traditional mythic, self-power or higher.

We perform standard tracking of attendance, prior notification that a class will be missed and general overall attentiveness of each of the students. In our program there is a three-strikes-you’re-out policy. We are seeking consistency in attendance and attentiveness as a mark of the impact of this work on the awareness of the individual.

Explanation for 4, 5, 6, and 7: We currently teach the CT-IED program once per week. We give homework each week which the student is asked to experiment with the class content and then present their findings the following week. This greatly encourages self-confidence and self-esteem (as we have seen even in the most meek students) because they have to present in front of their class mates.

We also assign homework and impromptu in-class tasks to pairs of students and they again have to play out their experiments in class or the following week. When we randomly assign exercises during the class period, which the students have to quickly prepare for, then we mix and match them according to where they live. Guatemalans are still quite tribal and even kids who live a few miles apart have little to share with each other so this gives us a great opportunity to see how this work is positively impacting their ability to bond and produce a mutually agreeable response with a person who ordinarily would be avoided.

We used to source new students by visiting other NGO’s and informing them of our work and that besides the benefit of the CT-IED work, that there was the possibility that if a student attended they might also find a sponsor (we currently have 60 children and adolescent with individual sponsors). We no longer do this and instead rely on and gauge the impact of the program by the number of new students referred to us by existing ones. Currently 20% of our students at the end of 2013 are siblings, friends, or school mates who were referred to us by existing students. When we ask a newly referred student to introduce him/herself to the class we also ask what they heard that made them want to come; most often we hear that the classes have positively impacted the life, decision-making, and self-perspective of the referrer. This we really like to hear!

The students use this class to share personal issues in the context of the teachings which affords us the opportunity to address common teen problems in an open forum. They also approach us, the teachers, and our staff members before and after the class. We track the increase/decrease of personal problems, issues at home, with their boy/girl friends, at school, and with their peers which are reported during these meetings as a way to gauge the impact of the work. We also ask them to apply what they have learned to specific problems, and given permission, ask them to recount those newly emergent solutions with the class.

An additional method we use to seek feedback on the impact of the program is that during meal times (in this program) we assign seating based on their location, similar to how we mix and match the students from different villages and towns above. This gives us another indicator of positive impact of the work on the kids’ ability to make light conversation with peers from different geographical locations.

Explanation for 8, 9, and 10: In our Wisdom Speaker Series we invite guest speakers to give a seminar to our students, either in-person or via video-skype. As a measure of the impact of this program we monitor the number and the quality of questions that the students have for our invited guests. In the following week’s class we debrief and unpack the speaker event and are constantly seeking out gems of understanding that have solidified because of our course work and the content of the speaker’s event.

We seek clarity in our student’s recounting of dreams and lucid dreams, in the context of shadow or simple experimentation. We also gauge the impact of the work as positive since on several occasions we have had students who have experienced states of euphoria or great sadness and both simultaneously because of realizations during the classes. We allow and support these expressions and encourage the students to describe, as best they can, their experiences for the benefit of all the students.

One of the key areas by which we can measure the impact of our work is in the evidence for shifts in perspectives. In 2013 we challenged our students to write a one-page article titled ‘My Perfect Day’ and then to share that with the class the following week. Many, as you can expect where egocentric, personal experience based narratives. However, two of our student revealed to us by means of their story that their perspective had shifted quite dramatically. Here is a summary of their stories;

[Name removed] who is 21, a 3rd year student of ours, who is also being sponsored by one of our donors to study for a career as a chef. As part of his practical work his class was invited to select an impoverished village to cook for and feed for a day. The village they selected was only reachable by horseback. [Name removed] described this experience of helping other people as ‘blissful’ and incorporated not only such an event as part of a homework exercise called ‘My Perfect Day’ but also the fact that he saw himself with a worldwide chain of self-sustaining and free restaurants for the poor.

[Name removed], 16, is a first year student who was referred to our work from another school after she expressed an interest in learning about philosophy. Also as part of our homework exercise called ‘My Perfect Day’, [Name removed], who wishes to study to be a nurse, expressed a wish to open medical clinic for the impoverished throughout the world.

Please contact us if you are interested in investing in our programs.

Please support our work and education programs by making a donation below:
The Integral Heart Family is a U.S. Registered 501(c)3 non-profit.