The Integral Heart Foundation provides a safe place to learn and grow
In the 1990s, Mick Quinn was an Irish immigrant living in New York City. Founder and CEO of several multimillion dollar companies, Quinn left New York after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Now at the top of his game, he began to realize that there was more to life than money. Already an avid spiritualist, he wanted to further explore the deeper meaning to life. Leaving his life in the U.S., he moved to a remote area of Portugal where he spent his days meditating and produced his best-selling book The Uncommon Path. It was at this time that he met his wife Debora, and at his publisher’s request, they moved to the United States to promote the book.
However, Mick and Debora missed the Latin culture and in 2009 traveled to La Antigua Guatemala for a holiday. Little did they know this would not only change their lives, it would impact the lives of many.
As many visitors do, the couple fell in love with Antigua and its history, beauty and charm. It was what most people overlook, though, that really caught the Quinns’ attention. Driving in the Guatemalan countryside one early afternoon, they could not help but notice the number of children roaming about. The couple wondered why these kids—poorly clothed, many without shoes and obviously malnourished—were not in school. After further research, they discovered some staggering statistics. Approximately 75 percent of Guatemalans live below the poverty level, with over half of Guatemalan children under the age of 5 suffering from chronic malnutrition. They had to do something.
So the Integral Heart Foundation was formed. With its focus on helping children and their families, the organization is making a huge impact after only two years. “Our goal is to empower the resource-poor through advanced education,” Mick Quinn says.
The Integral Education Program teaches self confidence, responsibility, social skills and alternatives to crime, and provides a safe place to learn and grow—teaching the kids not what to think, but how to think.
“We also help with more immediate needs, providing food and clothing in addition to access to education. We are very excited about the Solar Home Light Project. We want to supply as many families as possible that do not have electricity with a solar power lighting unit that provides five hours of light each night,” Quinn explains. “Imagine going home at night, and not having any light to cook or read by, no television or computer. This light allows the children to read school books and the parents to cook and do other chores.”
Working alongside the God’s Child Project and CasaSito, the Integral Heart Foundation is off to a good start: It has already found sponsors for 50 children; 37 students attend weekly Integral Education classes; and 19 solar units have been installed.
“We want to create sustainable change, showing the younger generation that they can break out of the cycle of poverty that they were born into,” Quinn explains. “Now, with cell phones and computers, we can introduce the resource-rich outside world to them for the first time so that together they can co-create a better life for themselves and for future generations.”