ACTS and Hearts and Hands Foundation

Hearts and Hands Foundation at work in Guatemala

NOVEMBER 2019

News from the Hearts & Hands Foundation - November 2019

Welcome to winter! Here in Canmore it is looking beautiful as the white stuff comes down. There is something about the first snow – the feeling of freshness and cool air as flakes settle on the ground. The sense of a new season. The existence of Mother Nature and God’s world reminds us that life continues, no matter what.
  
I hope all of you are well and had a lot of fun with the goblins and ghosts last night. Here is the latest news.  

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM  

We completed another year with 69 students – 58 junior/senior students and 11 university students. Many thanks to all the sponsors who so generously support their students. We had to drop only two students due to poor grades and performance. The initiation of the reward program five years ago has had tremendous success in motivating students to study. Now over 85% of our students have marks in the 80s and 90s and are maintaining that average. This month as the school year ended, the student with the highest average of 95% won a special prize.

We had some bad news recently. For the last eight years the mayor of Solala’, where our scholarship program is located, matched me one for one. In other words, for every donor I found, he sponsored a student. He was defeated in the June election and the new mayor is not honouring that commitment. Hearts & Hands must now find new donors for the students that no longer have sponsors. Luckily, some have graduated which leaves us with eight to support. These eight students will graduate in one year, so it is only a one-year commitment. We also need three sponsors for a duration of five years and 10 sponsors for university of four years.

If you can find it in your heart to support a student, please let me know. This is so important. These students need a hand to build a better life. We are trying to produce the future leaders of Guatemala. Tuition for junior/senior high is $650 per year and university is $800 per year.      

CELEBRATING 15 YEARS

Hearts & Hands celebrated 15 years of work in Guatemala this year. We began in 2004 with the stove project. How amazing it was to realize how much and how far we have come since then. When you are busy working the programs, you do not have time to think about past accomplishments. It was overwhelming to see on a powerpoint presentation just what H&H has accomplished in 15 years. I had to pinch myself. It was wonderful to see so many people from communities we worked in years ago; all the mayors, the VIP’s that attended, and especially to have my son with me to celebrate. He gave a wonderful speech that still resonates in my heart. I am grateful to the staff, students, and all who planned the celebration. It will never be forgotten.  

2020 TRIPS

Hearts & Hands will offer two stove trips in the spring: February 21 - March 5 and March 20 – April 2, 2020.

We will be working in the municipality of San Andres Sajcabaja as we have for the last two years. The new mayor is great and really excited to have the stove projects. We will be building a new stove type that is easier to build, more refined looking, and produced by a new company that we are working with in Guatemala. Anyone interested in one of these trips must sign up with a $500 deposit by November 15. An application form is on our website: heartshands.ca.

The March trip will also include an eye clinic in partnership with the Canmore and Santa Cruz Lions Clubs.   

 
FALL 2019 FUNDRAISING
 
In addition to the fantastic Fashion and Variety Show we are planning on Monday, November 4 in Canmore, we are pleased to once again offer you an opportunity to support our work through the purchase of fresh balsam fir wreaths and, new this year, centerpieces.

Please note that free delivery has been expanded to include Calgary, Airdrie, Bragg Creek, Canmore, Chestermere, Cochrane, High River, Okotoks and Redwood Meadows (no rural addresses). For a few dollars more, you can have these wonderful gifts delivered anywhere in Canada!

See all the details below and CLICK HERE if you would like to order a wreath or centerpiece. Note that the order deadline is November 18. And thanks to our friends at Calgary West Rotary Club for inviting us to participate in this fundraising effort!

As for the Fashion Show, tickets are still available through EVENTBRITE, at Cafe Books in Canmore or by contacting me at 403-512-4186 or [email protected]

Thank you so much for your support!
 
Jan Townsend
Founder, Hearts & Hands Foundation

ACTS commitment is toward outreach and growing awakening through theology and spirituality. In that direction we are pleased to explore a new possibility for St. Davidians and friends to take an active role in the http://handsandheartsfoundation.org/about-us.htm http://www.heartshands.ca/hearts_hands_events.html project that has involved the Chubbway-Way family since 2008. At least four times we have listened to Heather and Bill enthusiastically share their story upon their return from Guatemala where they have helped install ceramic stoves (costing less than $150 each) in the homes of the mountain people of Guatemala. The Hands and Hearts Foundation provide all the logistics to volunteers who come from Canada and whose volunteer offering is matched by the government of Canada and is, therefore, tax deductible. The next trip is planned for March 2020.

SEPTEMBER 30, 2019

Bill Way, ACTS Committee, spoke to us about a curriculum plan being developed in Guatemala in Spanish and in the native language of the folks for whom Hearts and Hands Foundation have been building stoves over the years. ACTS will be contributing funds toward the project that has already piloted the first year of the curriculum. As well, Bill and Heather are going to lead one of three trips planned for 2020: February 21 - March 5, March 20 - April 3 and October 16-29, where they will be building stoves in Mayan homes to replace open-fire cooking in the Highlands of Guatemala. 

JANUARY 22, 2018 UPDATE

Seven of us will be accompanying Jan Townsend from "Hearts and Hands" on our trip south to Guatemala two months from now!!. We have shots to get, stuff to buy and pack and get our money into Jan. We are excited, to say the least. 

NOVEMBER 18, 2017 UPDATE

Hearts and Hands Easter Stove Building Trip

The trip is ON! We discussed it with Jan Townsend and we have enough people to make the March Stove building trip go ahead. THANK YOU to all of you who considered the possibility of coming to Guatemala with us and have decided to come along.

There are a number of things that I can pass on to you about the trip.

  1. Paying trip deposits
  2. Other possible volunteers
  3. Change of departure date
  4. Fund Raising for your trip – “Buy a Stove”
  5. School Student Sponsorships
  6. Trip Coordination meetings with Jan Townsend
  7. Other Information (don’t worry about these ideas until mid-January)
  1. Paying trip deposits

There is a $500.00 deposit to allow Hearts and Hands to make Airline Reservations, and book the AccomModation for the Guatemala destinations.  Please send your deposit to the Treasurer of Hearts and Hands in Canmore: 

c/o  Doug Jones [email protected]

(We gave out some mis-information to some of you about the trip deposits.  We paid our $500 deposits for the two of us to www.ATBCares.com and have received a tax receipt.  However, ATBCares is not set up to receive payment for the trip, only for other donations.)

  1. Other possible volunteers

We have counted 8 volunteers as >90% sure that they will be joining this Stove building with us next Easter.

The trip can easily accommodate 12 -16 volunteers, so if you know of any friends or family who would like to come along, please invite them.  We are trying to get a better idea of the numbers by mid-December.  If they have any questions, direct their attention to the web site: www.heartshands.ca or have them call me.

  1. Change of departure date – Now March 21 through April 4, 2018

In discussions with Jan Townsend, we can save some significant costs by booking our airfare on March 21 instead of March 22. She indicated that the trip would still return on April 4, but we would leave Calgary one day earlier. By the way, Hearts and Hands makes the airline reservations and includes the air travel cost in our trip cost.

  1. Fund Raising for your trip – “Buy a Stove”

You can ask your friends, family and work buddies to donate to Hearts and Hands by buying a stove for this trip. Each person will be building ~10 stoves in the first week of the trip and the cost of these stoves is included in the cost of their trip.  If other people want to contribute but don’t want to volunteer, they can donate $135 to buy one of the stoves that we will build. We can write their names on a slip of cardboard for a photo with the Guatemalan family and then build the slip of cardboard into the stove. OR they can donate whatever they want to Hearts and Hands. If we ask them to send the donations through www.ATBCares.com they will receive a tax receipt immediately for the charitable donation. (Alberta Treasury Branch will add 15% to their donation to Hearts and Hands.) If they can tell us what they chose to donate, Lawrence can deduct their donation from the cost of your trip. 

  1. School Student Sponsorships

You can also Sponsor a Student through the same www.ATBCares.com  website.  For $600.00 one Mayan student will get the school fees paid to allow them to graduate from what we would call secondary school. (That is a one-time donation, not annual.)  Hearts and Hands have identified seven students who qualify for this scholarship, and Heather and I have sponsored one of them.

  1. Trip Coordination meetings with Jan Townsend

We expect that Jan Townsend will be coming to Calgary in early January to meet the volunteers and to pass on some tips for the trip.  The dates will be announced next month.  (Meeting Jan is one of the COOL things about Hearts and Hands. She is one of my favorite people.)

  1. Other Information (don’t worry about these ideas until mid-January)

In January, I’ll send out some more information to prepare for the trip.

  • “Every day is a Yogurt Day.”
  • Seeing a travel clinic for immunizations and advice to prepare medically for the trip.
  • More anticipation…

NOVEMBER 2017 UPDATE

Heather and Bill are planning on their fifth visit to Guatemala from March 22-April 6, 2018 and they would be delighted to act as hosts to a contingent of volunteers from St. David's. The trip down and accommodation for two weeks would cost a little over $3000 each and would be tax deductible, as mentioned above. Stay tuned for further plans as they come to fruition over the next few months. NOTE: If volunteers raise money for stoves here at home, the total raised is deducted from your trip costs. 

"The Guatemala Stove Project (GSP), is a registered Canadian charity (#871977617 RR0001)[1] that raises funds and provides volunteers for the building of masonry cookstoves in Guatemala's Altiplano (Western Highlands).

The Guatemala Stove Project works in partnership with CEDEC (Centro De Estudios Para El Desarrollo Y La Cooperacion), a non profit indigenous group from Quetzaltenango (Xela) Guatemala. CEDEC and the Guatemala Stove Project work with local women's groups to identify the families who are in need of a stove.[2]

Since 1999 the Guatemala Stove Project has built over 3000 stoves.[3]" - Wikipedia