Education is the heart of our work. Our school is currently home for 6 different learning 
programs, a teacher-training program and is serving over 1,500 meals and snacks every
month. Since 2011 our programs have delivered classes and support to over 1,200 students
and their families in Guatemala. We have also provided over 2,500 food baskets to our
sponsored families.

Together, our Critical-Thinking, Sponsorship and Learning Programs have reached over
4,000 students and are creating community leaders through the development of mind,
empathy and love.
Our model is simple; Nourish, Learn, Socialize, Transform. 

In 2017

Weekly Critical-Thinking classes for 33 teenagers
3 senior students in fulltime Teacher-Training Program

60 children with sponsorships to continue in education
48 children in after-school homework study program

11 teenagers with scholarships to 3rd-level education
420 individuals benefiting from our sponsorship program

65 families - 250 individuals with toys/food for the holidays

320 food baskets to families in five villages this year
6 Wisdom Speaker Events to over 250 children and adults
Employment to 5 Guatemalan staff members and 3 teachers
35 homes and 5 schools lit with solar lighting (since 2011)
Rescued and found homes for 15 (and counting) street dogs

How we measure results:

In order to measure the impact of the Critical- Thinking / Integral Education Program (CT-IED), 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.

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 

Monthly or One-time contribution; use your debit or credit card

Enter your donation amount here

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