Heart House is a nonprofit that provides safety, education and opportunity to refugee and underprivileged children.
Heart House provides interventions and support services to move students from a mindset of chaos to an oasis of calm.
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Lucia is an 8-year-old refugee from Malaysia with a loving spirit. Her family was originally from Burma and after years of forms and waiting, came to America to give Lucia the safety, education and opportunity that she never would have had in Malaysia. At Heart House you’d typically find Lucia taking care of her little sister, playing with all the kids, and displaying a joyful attitude towards others. However, Lucia’s joyous spirit would quickly sadden when she would work on her reading homework. Lucia is a 1st grade student who has struggled with reading books at her grade level. As a result, Lucia became discouraged with her reading work, and tried to avoid doing it as much as possible. Like many students who struggle in academics, Lucia was developing a fixed mind set, believing she could never be as smart as other students that were her age. Her struggle with reading changed her attitude in general; she would keep to herself and became very disruptive during instruction.
As Lucia’s behavior changed more and more, her teachers at Heart House knew they needed to do something to change her trajectory. With Social Emotional Learning the “heart of the house,” staff began using the MindUP curriculum to teach Lucia about neuroplasticity and brain. Lucia heard consistently about having a “growth mindset” and how she could exercise her brain to grow in reading. The teachers also provided Lucia with lower leveled books and 1-on-1 reading sessions. As Lucia learned more about her brain and received individual attention and encouragement in her areas of weakness, she has became more comfortable with reading and her joyous attitude is beginning to return.
Bawi Dawt Par is a 9 year old from Burma who has been a faithful attender of Heart House over the past few years. Bawi Par is very outgoing and very talkative. Because of her energetic personality, all of her emotions would constantly come erupting out of her. Whether happy or sad, she would constantly blurt out what she felt and shyed away from trying new things. In Summer 2016, Heart House began implementing a social/emotional curriculum called Mind Up, that teaches the students how to self regulate based on neuroscience. Bawi Par quickly became incredibly interested in her brain and learning new ways to regulate her own emotions. At camp, Bawi Par was presented with an opportunity to set out on the lake in a canoe with her fellow teammates. The experience was new and Bawi Par was very afraid.
As her emotions of fear started bubbling up, she was able to recognize her need to calm her body. She stood on the shore, slowing down her breath and practiced the deep belly breathing she had learned in Heart House. After a few brief moments of breathing, Bawi Par was able to calmly climb into the canoe and enjoyed the rest of the day on the lake. The skills she is learning at Heart House are skills that she can take with her for the rest of her life making a lasting impact.
The girls had a blast at K-Festival, bonding with their Heart House leader over a huge part of their culture! There was so much for them to see and try as it was a new experience. Irene really loved trying out the Korean radish side dish at the noodle shop, while Esther and Mercy enjoyed checking out the different Korean pop music. To top off the day, the girls got to attend their very first concert, an opportunity they never could have had back in Burma. They were free to enjoy music and festival without fear or trepidation.
This Love & Lead opportunity gave the girls the chance to step outside of their comfort zone and experience something entirely new. It gave them the chance to see and appreciate another culture and to find the beauty in diversity. Now, after their Love & Lead, the girls desire to go back in order to share their experience with other friends at Heart House so everyone can experience the beauty of the Korean culture with them.
We couldn’t provide our innovative h3 program
without the help of our generous funding partners.
Special thanks to The Rees-Jones Foundation for their continuous support of Heart House and our Head, Heart and Hands program.
Meet our Program Manager,