Developing the Whole Person in the Developing World
Podcast #2 — Aired October 17, 2013

There is an old saying: “Give someone a fish, feed them for a day. But teach them to fish, and feed them for a lifetime.” This week on BetterWorldians Radio we’ll be focusing on helping people to help themselves. We will be speaking with Mick Quinn and Debora Prieto, cofounders of the Integral Heart Foundation. Their unique approach to international development speaks to the whole person, going beyond the basics to include critical thinking, leadership training, and even spirituality. Tune in every week to hear new guests share how they are making the world a better place and to learn how you can become a BetterWorldian!

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Mick Quinn
Co-Founder, Integral Heart Foundation

Mick Quinn and Debora Prieto co-founded the Integral Heart Foundation when they moved to Antigua Guatemala in 2009 with one dog, Pancho, now they have two more, Anju and Bella! As an Irish immigrant who fully embraced the American Dream, Mick’s life path brought him from his native home in Athlone, Ireland, to New York City where he founded several successful businesses, to the publication of a book on the future of human potential - The Uncommon Path - to his current work in the slums surrounding the the Spanish Colonial city of Antigua Guatemala.

 

Debora Prieto
Co-Founder, Integral Heart Foundation

Mick Quinn and Debora Prieto co-founded the Integral Heart Foundation when they moved to Antigua Guatemala in 2009 with one dog, Pancho, now they have two more, Anju and Bella! Debora graduated from the University of Madrid as an educator of mentally handicapped children. She spent the following 10 years working with her skills in the Spanish healthcare system. Debora is also a trained facilitator of the Big Mind Process, a counseling tool that combines Western psychology and Zen teachings, which she uses in this work.

 

Episode Transcript

Raymond Hansell
Our guests this week have dedicated their lives and their foundation to doing just that, teaching kids to rise above their situation and help themselves. In 2009, Mick Quinn and Debora Prieto started the Integral Heart Foundation in Antigua, Guatemala in response to the extreme poverty there. The Foundation envisions a community transformed to one that cares deeply about finding sustainable solutions to its own problems and also one that understands that any small act of compassionate service also affects the future of humanity as a whole. As an Irish immigrant, who fully embraced the American Dream, Micks life path brought him from his native home in Ireland to New York City, where he founded several successful businesses, to the publication of a book on the future of human potential - The Uncommon Path - to his current work in the slums surrounding the Spanish Colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala.

MarySue Hansell
Debora graduated from the University of Madrid as an educator of mentally handicapped children. She spent the following 10 years working with her skills in the Spanish healthcare system. Debora is also a trained facilitator of the Big Mind Process, a counseling tool that combines Western psychology and Zen teachings, which she uses in her work there.

Raymond Hansell
And, by the way, Mick and Debora know us both professionally and personally through our involvement with their foundations. And its a special treat, as a consequence, to have them join us on the show today. Welcome to BetterWorldians Radio, Mick and Debora.

Mick Quinn
Thank you, Ray and MarySue and Greg, and it's our pleasure to be here live from Guatemala.

Debora Prieto
Yes, and thank you for your support, your good support to us.

Mick Quinn
Most importantly, thank you so much for your ongoing support.

Raymond Hansell
You're very, very welcome. Well, I'd like to start by asking you a question, a personal question. MarySue and I have been a husband and wife team for many years, even recently joining up with our son, Gregory. So I have to ask you how do you find working together. By the way, keep in mind that you are on the air, and Debora is going to hear everything you say, so.

Mick Quinn
Well, she's right here beside me.

Debora Prieto
Yes.

Mick Quinn
We actually love it, Ray. Well, I love it, and it all started when I was writing the book and Debora became involved with me in translating the book, when we were living back in Europe, so we've kind of always had a desk each in the same office, so all of those skills of working together kind of transferred into this work. And we do take our time for ourselves. I mean Deb likes to stay at home and do the gardening, and I like to go ride my motorcycle, so we have our own things that keep us apart, as well.

Raymond Hansell
How does that work?

Debora Prieto
Also, for me, it's interesting because we pretty much from the beginning had like the same mission, let's say, which also makes us like talk about the same things, like when you have free time, you're having a glass of wine, for instance, you have these conversations which our way is the same. So we know what we are talking about, and we just keep building, and it's very interesting.

Raymond Hansell
Well, let me ask you, your organization, the Integral Heart Foundation, it was started in Guatemala. Why did you two decide to start the journey in the first place?

Mick Quinn
Well, we came here on vacation, Ray, after the book was published in 2009 because that was a seven-year project of writing and publishing and releasing the book, and we just needed a break after that period. And rather than going back to Europe, we were living in the States at the time, we decided to come south of the border just to immerse back into some Spanish culture. And while we're here in the first week we stayed in Antigua, which is a beautiful Spanish colonial city, and you'd never know there was poverty because this is really a bubble in this world down here. I know the second week we rented a car to go try and find a place called Asian Jay (ph), which is the original Mayan Capitol of Guatemala, and on the way there we got lost in this town. And it was right around the time that the kids were getting out of school. So if you can imagine the scene of hundreds of Guatemalan children in their little school uniforms walking through these streets of dirt, starving dogs and cinder block homes with tin roofs. And it just dawned on us, like almost simultaneously, like where is all of this potential going to go? And this question really troubled us, and we went back to the States after our vacation and the question stayed with us, and we decided within three months to actually move here and facilitate the potential that we saw in these children to emerge and grow in the conditions, the horrible conditions we saw down here.

Debora Prieto
Yes, to me, it was emotionally very shocking. It was my first view of a country with this kind of poverty, not that what we call first world countries there's no poverty, but not to this level, not to this extreme. So, for me, it was really hard, and I couldn't think about coming back home and sit on my couch, watching TV, and deny what I saw. I just couldn't deal with that.

Raymond Hansell
Just for our listeners' information, where exactly is the country of Guatemala located, and just about how big is it?

Mick Quinn
Guatemala is about the same size as Virginia, it's a little bit smaller than Ireland, and it's the next country down from Mexico. So if you, you know, to drive from the States you would -- it's, oh, in miles, it's about 1,000 miles, Mexico is about 1,000 miles long. So from Brownsville to here is about 1,050 miles, give or take. You can fly out of Miami in two hours, it's actually quite close, which is something we really like about it.

Raymond Hansell
And you and your wife actually chose to live there. Now what are the advantages of being right there on the ground?

Mick Quinn
Well, one thing we heard right after we moved here, we started volunteering. We had no idea we were actually going to -- how the Heart Foundation our work was actually going to emerge. The idea for a nonprofit didn't appear till about a year after we got here. But the -- we started volunteering with different organizations here around Antigua, and one thing we heard is that the volunteers come and go here, and program directors come and go, you know, foreigners. And the kids really miss, because they will form a relationship with a volunteer and then all of a sudden the volunteer decides to go to Nicaragua or go back to college or whatever their own life path has them on. So the kids were having problems or are, I guess, forming relationships with people who were here to help them because all of a sudden they'd just leave. So one of the things that inspired us was to actually be here and be here for the kids, and we've seen some of our children growing from 12 years old now, and now they're 16, and they're changing and they're growing into young men and young women, and we're along beside them for their life.

Debora Prieto
Yes, and we know them all, everybody that is in the organization, we know them all. We see them every week. We have that kind of personal contact that you cannot have from a distance. And it's very important we go to their homes, we visit their families. They know we are here. They know that if we travel we are going to come back.

Mick Quinn
Come back, yes.

Debora Prieto
And for them it's really a deeper relationship, and they respond way better.

Raymond Hansell
The listeners might not know that literally 75 percent of Guatemalans live below the poverty level and more than half are even worse off and have incomes below what is defined as extreme poverty. So what do those statistics actually look like on the ground in Guatemala?

Mick Quinn
I would say that half of the kids in our program live in homes that do not have floors. I mean they live on dirt. Half of them do not have access to electricity or constant running water. That same 50 percent also have a roof over their head that's made from lamina, which is tin or aluminum siding that's leaky and old and noisy. It doesn't keep out the cold. It doesn't keep out the heat. It doesn't keep out vermin or spiders or mosquitoes. The other half, I would say, live in cinder block homes that are in towns, what we call level one house, which actually has -- which would mean they have some sort of public lighting outside and more constant access to running water, not all the time. But in those conditions they're also very crowded, even the people who live in towns. It's not unusual to find three or four generations and several families living in a space that normally should accommodate maybe one person, it's normal to find 12 or 14 people living in a space like that.

Raymond Hansell
And you both, I guess, being right there, I would assume you've developed some personal relationships with these people that you're working with on a regular basis?

Debora Prieto
We love these kids. We miss them. Like, if we have a week in which there is a holiday or something like that, we are, like, the previous night before the next class, we are, like, looking for, like, oh, we are going to see the kids. And they love us. And, yes, the personal is very important for us, and it is one of the things that we want to empower, also, with the sponsors in which they also can have a relationship with the kids because we do Skypes with them. So we know them all.

Raymond Hansell
I can see that as a very, very big advantage in that you can develop that personal relationship and actually your sponsors in the developed world will also have that opportunity, as well. And we're going to talk about that as we segue into the final section of the show today. But right now we're going to take a break, and but please stay tuned, we're going to continue our conversation with Mick and Debora about their very unique approach to aid when we come back. In the meantime you can learn more at betterworldians.com, and follow our live tweets at twitter.com/betterworldians. We'll be right back. >> The Internet's number one talk station. Number one talk station, Voiceamerica.com. >> How can we make it a better world? >> I think we can make it a better world if we had peace among each other. >> Everybody needs to help their neighbor, and then it will spread from then on. >> I should do more. >> I could do more. >> I spend so much time on Facebook. >> How much time do I spend on Facebook? >> Probably more than I should be spending. >> I would definitely give back if I could find the time. >> Now you can help others just by playing a game on Facebook. It's called A Better World. Share your hopes and dreams. Do good deeds. Make a difference, and have fun. Become a BetterWorldian. Join a community where all good deeds get rewarded. Log-in today to find out how you can make a difference every day. >> For more information visit Facebook.com/abetterworld. >> What would you do if you knew that you could not fail? The Dr. Pat Show with Pat Baccilli is a radio forum for some of the world's most influential people in the fields of health, wellness, and human potential. Dr. Pat brings together and introduces visionary scientists and futurists, environmentalists and educators, business leaders, inventors, filmmakers, authors, artists, mystics and healers who inspire and support individual and collective growth and positive cultural shifts. This award-winning radio show empowers the listening community to be the change that you want to see in the world. Tune in every Thursday at eight a.m. Pacific for the Dr. Pat Show, with Dr. Pat Baccilli, radio to thrive by. >> Ask the experts, call toll-free right now, 1-866-472-5787, and ask our All-Star Team to answer your questions. That's 1-866-472-5787. >> Thank you for calling. >> Voiceamerica.com. >> This is BetterWorldians Radio, with a Family Team of Ray, MarySue and Gregory Hansell. To connect with the show today, please call us at 1-866-472-5788. That's 1-866-472-5788. You may also send us an e-mail to radio@betterworldians.com. Now back to BetterWorldians Radio.

Gregory Hansell
Hey, Mick and Debora, this is Greg. How are you doing today?

Mick Quinn
Hey, Greg.

Gregory Hansell
I want to talk a little bit about the name of the organization for the listeners. You know, Integral Heart Foundation, so Integral means something like holistic and comprehensive. How does that describe what you do there day-to-day?

Mick Quinn
Well, integral, it is that, Greg, and also it describes a philosophy that we have been followers of for many years, that's from an American philosopher by the name of Ken Wilbur (ph), and he looks at the world and at ways to make the world a better place from what he calls an integral perspective, and this integral perspective includes the development of the self, it includes the development of the relationship, it includes the development of the body, and it also includes the development of society. So it's, let's say, in its most essential nature integral is like a four-pointed development plan that when those parts of our abilities are developed simultaneously we can bring about more holistic or more sustainable solutions to the issues that we're dealing with, and also we can progress in our own personal evolution at a faster rate.

Gregory Hansell
That is really fascinating. I mean how does that, and I guess that would mean that the approach begins with the basics? How do some of your programs handle issues at the basic level?

Mick Quinn
Well, at the very basic level, like for instance I took a picture yesterday, it was the closing day of our Critical Thinking Program, and I took a picture of the sandwich and a glass of water. And this is at the most basic level is that when the teenagers and adolescents come into that program the first thing they have is a morning meal or an afternoon meal because we like to teach them when they have a full belly.

Debora Prieto
And, also, for instance yesterday we had this student who has been sick with flu since Sunday, and she didn't have money to even buy aspirins to put the fever down, so we just brought her to a pharmacy.

Mick Quinn
Right before the class. So like the most essential things, like food and basic, basic medicines, like an antihistamine, so she could clear her head, these are things that we provide at the lowest level, besides in our sponsorship program we have the food baskets, which include various proteins, like eggs and chicken that normally the families would not be able to afford, that are also provided at that very basic level.

Gregory Hansell
Well, it's really wonderful that you do provide that. Based on how you describe integral, I'd imagine it also involves things like education and spirituality even. What kind of projects does IHF incorporate for those areas?

Mick Quinn
Well, we have the Critical Thinking Program, which is also known as the Integral Philosophy Program. We focus on the development of mind, body, spirit and emotions. So the kids in that class, I mean we're working towards the goal of not teaching our students what to think, but teaching them how to think for themselves. And, for instance, we spent most of this year on a module that's based in Freudian and Jungian and also other advanced theories on shadow and ego. And at the end of the class one of the kids came up to us, and she was telling us how she's actually using the teachings on shadow and on managing her emotional states in regard to her parents, who have been arguing a lot because they're really short of money, and she has to live in those conditions, so very practical things that can help the children deal with themselves and with the world that they're living in.

Debora Prieto
And I also have a back running philosophy that I studied for three years at the University in Madrid, so we work on like classic philosophy from all authors, all ideas. We work on all kind of religions, and then all kind of backgrounds that are possible.

Gregory Hansell
Also, I think you had mentioned you do some leadership training, now how does that work?

Mick Quinn
The leadership training was -- I have a background, as you mentioned there, in business, and after I kind of got tired of starting businesses, I became a coach and I was helping people start, manage, sell their own businesses. And running a nonprofit in a way is like running a business, the product is different, of course, your revenue sources are slightly different, but essentially it's like running a business. So we had encountered several organizations down here where it's not uncommon where, let's say, a donor will arrive from Europe and fall in love with a particular project. And, let's say, this project, let's say, 10 children in two rooms with this very charismatic leader. And what they'll do is they'll say, oh, I want to give you $50,000, and I want you to build a school and have 10 rooms and 100 kids and five staff. Now that sounds wonderful and it's great progress, but the problem that the donors usually don't think about is does the leader have the skills to run, to go from two rooms and 14 children to 10 rooms and 114 children? So that's where we come in in helping those leaders. I mean one case it was a lady who was, you know, she was absolutely terrified when they were building her new school. And we used to go there with her and sit in the development site, on these plastic chairs, in her office that had no walls, and we would have her visualize just sitting there, managing the school, that everything was running. And two years later her daughter is now trained in Excel, they can do projections, because they never knew anything about -- you know, they would run out of money on the 21st of the month and go, oh, how did that happen? So this is part of what we would do with them is help them to manage a larger project.

Gregory Hansell
Yes, well, it's really interesting, I wonder if you could tell the listeners what kind of impact you've seen with that approach? Is there a time or a particular case where you this integral, teach someone to fish as a real philosophy worked for somebody?

Mick Quinn
We have, Greg, and I think this year we saw the most amazing changes. One of the homework assignments that we gave towards the end of the year was called Your Perfect Day. Now this is an exercise that I did many, many years ago with a pretty well-known teacher in the States, Tony Robbins.

Gregory Hansell
Yes.

Mick Quinn
And he asked, describe your perfect day and visualize your perfect day and all of this? So we gave this assignment to the kids. Now there were about 32 or so of the teenagers in our Critical Thinking Program, and three of them came back with what we would call a world centric perspective. So there are basically three essential perspectives we can have, and this is from Integral. So there's an egocentric, where I think mostly about myself. There's an ethnocentric, where I think about my group, my family, my country. And then there's a world centric, where I can include in my perspective, in my perfect day the world, itself. And one of the kids was a -- he's just graduated, a chef, through our sponsorship program, and as part of his schooling he went to a village that's quite remote. And because of that visit there to feed that village he has decided, and he included this in his perfect day, that he would open a chain of restaurants around the world to feed people who cannot afford to feed themselves. And this is coming from a 21 year old, who lives in a slum, less than three miles from here, dirt floors, and they even have a stream flowing through their house. And in the rainy season they have to get out of there. And this is -- yes, and there was -- do you want to tell the story of Jennie (ph)?

Debora Prieto
Jennie wants to do the same thing, but with hospitals.

Mick Quinn
She wants to be a nurse, right?

Debora Prieto
Yes, she wants to open a chain of hospitals, and take care of people who cannot afford help.

Mick Quinn
This is what we're seeing, we're seeing -- and these are not pipe dreams, these are actually stages of development or let's say levels, new levels of awareness that are emerging in these kids because of the impact of the integral philosophy teachings.

Gregory Hansell
And what's your overall vision and goal using this philosophy in Guatemala, what do you hope to achieve in the longer term?

Debora Prieto
Well, our dream is one that we think we cannot see in our lifetime, but it will be a goal to make like a geometrical group in which what we are training right now are the future teachers, so they can impact in more teenagers and other students, and then like maybe go to other countries and begin this and do some change with more people.

Mick Quinn
And we're fundraising this year, actually, at the end of this year, Greg, for a program that we call our Super Star Program because there's about 16 in the class that lap up this philosophy like you wouldn't believe. I mean they come to the class bright-eyed, bushy-tailed. They're always asking for stuff, they're posting things, like from the Little Prince and Socrates on their Facebook page. I mean these are kids who are really interested in this. What we'd like to do is to take these super stars and put them into a three-year long-term training program to make them into junior teachers of these basic theories that we've been using here, let's say integral meditation, ego shadow, and then send them out into the NGO world, the nonprofit school world here, or even into the public school system, to be able to finance their salaries, which is around $300 or $400 a month for a teacher. So you can imagine the impact of, let's say, we graduate five teenagers or five of these teens five years from now, they will end up teaching 75 kids each every week, so do the math there?

Gregory Hansell
Yes, yes, that -- and it's really amazing. I'd like to tell people about a particular project we worked on together, and then you showed them the sort of integral approach and how that affected things in the local culture on different levels. Just so the listeners know, the Integral Heart Foundation, and we here, at A Better World, worked together on a project, we have a location in the game called the Heart Cart, and it's where you can send hearts to people that are fun or romantic or sweet, or that kind of thing. We challenged our players to send 50,000 hearts in one month and if they met that goal we'd provide funds to allow solar generators to be set-up in two schools around Integral Heart Foundation's area. And what was amazing, our players exceeded that goal, and we funded the installation of those lights. If you could tell us, first, why those solar generators were so badly needed, and what was the reaction to the improvements they provided?

Mick Quinn
Yes, and I think we really exceeded that goal, right, Greg? I didn't even think we would make it in the first two weeks, and then all of a sudden it just went crazy.

Gregory Hansell
And people were just so really moved by it. If you remember, we had actually hearts with pictures of some of the children there and they really -- they just did really well.

Mick Quinn
Yes, well, one of the villages is called Mano de Leon, which is actually a flower. It's called Hand of the Lion. It's only five miles here, but it's actually isolated because it's in a valley behind some mountains. And the village has been there for 50 years. They just actually managed to get out of tin houses this -- no, last year, they had an organization that built them houses, about 120 people. They have a school that was built by the government for them, a two-room school, but there's no electricity and there's no running water. So in the rainy season here it gets, it can be pretty dark during the day and especially where they are because they're actually at a higher elevation. We're at 5,000 feet, and they're almost up at 6,000, so it can be dark. So we installed one of your -- one of the units that you guys helped us fund in their school. So now they have two things that are really important. The first thing is light, of course, because they have bulbs. These are 75-watt unit from a local company here in Guatemala. But the second most important thing that they have is there are three outlets on the unit, and they have music.

Debora Prieto
Yes.

Mick Quinn
Because Guatemalans love music. So when you go into the village it's like they only other sound you hear besides a sheep and goats baying is the music coming out of the school because they just love to have this music. So that was one of the installations. And the second one we did was on our own kindergarten location, and that was here, near Antigua, and that was to supplement our electricity bill there. So it cut our power bill by 70 percent.

Gregory Hansell
Wow.

Mick Quinn
So thank you.

Gregory Hansell
So that's sort of what happens at that basic level, that subsistence level. One question I had was how did those solar generators allow some of the other aspects of the mission to come to fruition?

Mick Quinn
Well, in, let's say for example, in Mae de Leon, it's a village that wasn't really visited by many people until we got there, and we've noticed over the years that it takes some time to build trust. And installing a solar system with the amount of work that it took and the cost of it and transporting the unit there and getting the company to come down with their technicians, you know, it was no small effort. It really helped us build trust with the villagers and with the kids there because when we went there first they would hide behind trees.

Debora Prieto
Yes.

Mick Quinn
They wouldn't even come near you. They were, like, you know, if you approach a stray dog on the street, he kind of looks at you and runs away. This is how the children were in the first year. So these basic installations, the solar systems, really helped us build a degree of trust with the villagers, so then we can approach them with other aspects of our work.

Debora Prieto
And, also, now they can study for all year because before they just couldn't see.

Mick Quinn
Yes, they would actually have the classes outside underneath the -- you know, they had like a veranda on the school, so they would sit outside of the school, trying to have their classes. Now at least they can stay inside and stay dry, because they can see.

Gregory Hansell
Wow, well, we're touched that we were able to be a part of that here at BetterWorldians.

Mick Quinn
Thank you.

Gregory Hansell
That leads me -- thank you -- to our -- the next question about the heart dimension. We talked about the integral dimension of this, and that's fascinating. What's the heart dimension of the Integral Heart Foundation?

Debora Prieto
Well, that had a little bit to do with my name. I have a same background, and I have a (Indiscernible), and my name is Giung (ph), which means pure heart. So you're supposed to live up to your name, we wanted to include it because this is life for us. As I said, even when we are chilling out, let's say, we are talking about this, we are talking about our kids, we are talking about anybody who had a problem, how we're going to approach it, how we are going to fix it, how we are going to help them. So it's an integral part of our lives, the heart, and also because, as I said before, we're one with the sponsors, as well, besides ourselves, is that they have a heart connection with their kids. We don't want them to have a connection with a bank account in which they send money every month and that's about it. We want them, we want both sides that the kids know that there is somebody that cares about them, but also the person cares can actually get to know the kid, get to talk to the kid, and get to have the heart connection.

Mick Quinn
And, Greg, I'll just to add to that, it's -- the Integral Heart Foundation also offers a, let's say, an avenue for individuals in the developed world who have reached a tremendously high level of development, and it allows for a way for them to express that which they have learned in theory. So the way I say it is are you a theory talker or a path walker? So what we're doing is we're offering a path or a way for these wonderful theories that have emerged in spiritual development, in emotional development, to manifest on the ground with individuals who are just not -- who haven't been as lucky as most of us who maybe listening to this call have been. So it's offering a path to the heart.

Gregory Hansell
What is walking that path like then?

Mick Quinn
Say, again, I didn't hear the last part, Greg?

Gregory Hansell
What is walking that path like then?

Mick Quinn
Well, I'll tell you, it's rewarding and it's incredibly challenging, and I'm sure Deb will add on the end here, but when we first moved here and we started doing this work there were times when you thought you'd heard the worst news or you thought that you had seen the worst thing that day. And we would crash, I mean emotionally it would just completely overwhelm you, psychologically, overwhelm us. And then the next week you would venture back out, it's like the little muskrat would stick its head out of the hole and say, I think it's safe to go back outside. And as soon as you go back outside you get nailed again, and this went on for about a year. And after awhile, and I hate to say this, but you kind of get used to the suffering, the conditions that people live in in the world, people that we know. And it just takes a long time to -- and I don't want to say get used to it, that we don't care, but you get used to it in the way that you can actually continue to function and not have it destroy your intentions.

Debora Prieto
Yes, I remember times in which I just couldn't leave the house. I spent like two weeks on the road without getting out of my house because I just couldn't deal with it. And everything you see, every like even an abandoned dog, I mean you are still like vulnerable, let's say, that you just can't deal with it, and but you have to actually learn how to deal with it and you have to continue, and you know that there is a lot of work to be done, so you have to be functional.

Gregory Hansell
Well, the work you both do is incredible and certainly needed, so thank you very much.

Debora Prieto
You're welcome.

Mick Quinn
You're welcome.

Raymond Hansell
Yes, Mick and Debora, this is amazing work that you're doing. I know it takes a great deal of courage to start something like this, but I think what you're pointing out to our listeners is how much perseverance and endurance is involved in keeping this going. You know, some organizations get to the four-year mark or to the five-year mark, and then suddenly wind begins to hit the sail. So somehow you guys have gotten to this four-year, to this three or four-year mark, but you're still going through the choppy waters, the choppy times, and I congratulate you on your endurance and your perseverance, it's to be commended and I'm going to continue to do whatever we can to keep that wind at your back. We need to take another break right now. When we come back you can ask Mick and Debora some questions yourself about Integral Heart and the good work that they're doing here in Guatemala or you can call in at 1-866-472-5788, that's 1-866-472-5788. And, by the way, you can also e-mail us at radio@betterworldians.com or you can tweet us a question at twitter.com/betterworldians. We'll be right back. >> Stimulating talk gets those synapses in the brain inspired really fast. >> All the time, the number one Internet talk station, where your opinion counts, Voiceamerica.com. >> How can we make it a better world? >> I think we can make it a better world if we had peace among each other. >> Everybody needs to help their neighbor, and then it will spread from then on. >> I should do more. >> I could do more. >> I spend so much time on Facebook. >> How much time do I spend on Facebook? >> Probably more than I should be spending. >> I would definitely give back if I could find the time. >> Now you can help others just by playing a game on Facebook. It's called A Better World. Share your hopes and dreams. Do good deeds. Make a difference, and have fun. Become a BetterWorldian. Join a community where all good deeds get rewarded. Log-in today to find out how you can make a difference every day. >> For more information visit Facebook.com/abetterworld. >> Ready to chat about your favorite soap operas? The daytime discussion is here, with Dan J. Kroll and Soap Central Live. For the past 15 years Dan has been dishing and discussing on soapcentral.com, and now he's taking the talk to the airwaves of the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel. He'll go behind the scenes with the biggest stars of daytime, along with guest commentary from the Soap Central columnists, and we'll take your questions and comments during our live show. Soap Central Live every Friday at six p.m. Eastern Time, three p.m. Pacific on VoiceAmerica Variety. >> Ask the experts, call toll-free right now, 1-866-472-5787, and ask our All-Star Team to answer your questions. That's 1-866-472-5787. >> Thank you for calling. >> Voiceamerica.com. >> This is BetterWorldians Radio, with a Family Team of Ray, MarySue and Gregory Hansell. To connect with the show today, please call us at 1-866-472-5788. That's 1-866-472-5788. You may also send us an e-mail to radio@betterworldians.com. Now back to BetterWorldians Radio.

MarySue Hansell
Hi, Mick and Debora. As you know --

Mick Quinn
Hi, MarySue.

MarySue Hansell
Okay, as you know, I first saw your work on Facebook when you were calling out for help with two little children, Jimena and Chente, and their story that you had on Facebook just melted my heart, and that was really the jumping -- one of the jumping off points for the partnership between Integral Heart and A Better World or virtual world on Facebook. Would you mind sharing the story about how the Foundation helped them and tell us a little about Jimena and Chente?

Debora Prieto
Well, this was years ago, and we went to a school in San Mateo. San Mateo is like three miles from Antigua, and we were teaching to the teenagers our philosophy class, and we were also doing work with the director of that program. And when we arrived to teach the class she told us this case of these three kids that, you know, they needed help. And that day, that particular day, we were kind of busy, so I say, okay, let's set a visit for next week. We are going to do the class, and then next week we go to visit them. And, but we went to do the class and the director of the program, in the meantime, she went to the house and pick up the kids and brought them to the project. So when we finish the class we see what you saw, we see these three kids. And the story goes that they were abandoned by the father when they were born. One was Lucito (ph); he was seven. Then it was Jimena at three, and Chente was one and a half years. So they started living with the mother, but the mother found a boyfriend who was younger than her and she didn't want the boyfriend to know that she had three children. So she dropped the kids with grandma. Now grandma already had like eight children all her own, and the father, grandpa, was an alcoholic, and the work of grandma who was feeding everybody was to go to the goods (ph) and pick up food and sell it to the market, so she wasn't at home all day. So Lucito, who was seven, was taking care of Jimena and Chente. And, of course, they didn't have anything, they didn't even have shoes, like the clothes were like -- I mean it was pathetic, when I saw those three kids I just couldn't deal with it. I just like freaked out. And we decided at that point -- and so Chente, he was all burned, because Lucito warming up water -- I mean he's seven, he threw it on top of the baby. So we realized that just a sponsorship wasn't enough because somebody had to take care of these kids. So Lucito could go to his school and somebody will do proper care with these kids during the day. So when we posted this picture, and in the same day you saw it and you had already begun with your support, and with that we began our first kindergarten.

MarySue Hansell
That was a wonderful story. I couldn't believe that our donation at that time actually gave them their first pair of shoes that they've ever, that they ever had.

Mick Quinn
That they ever had, yes.

Debora Prieto
I think it was difficult for them because --

Mick Quinn
To wear shoes.

Debora Prieto
-- they didn't want to wear it.

MarySue Hansell
They probably didn't like having them.

Debora Prieto
Lucito was very happy with the shoes, but he was showing the shoes in the hand to everybody before he even wore them. It was really difficult; we had to actually work with him to actually wear the shoes.

Mick Quinn
And I know, MarySue, I remember you commenting back in those days how (Coughing) would never smile. And, remember, I was talking earlier about not being able to get close to these kids. Now this guy, you couldn't even get near him, and when you did there was definitely no smiles. And I think I posted a picture and it was earlier this year when we went to visit them at the school, like the difference in just in this boy. I mean I have a picture here, holding him in my arms, which would be impossible two years earlier. His face is like twice as wide as it was, he's got his hair quality is different, and he's smiling, and he's looking at the camera. So it's like there are so many benefits that these kids get besides just the fact that they have someone to look after them during the day.

MarySue Hansell
Right, the smile is just so rewarding, it really was, and he had such an adorable face in the first place that that made the whole thing. Anyway, this has made, probably made just tons of memories for you over these few years that you've been working in Guatemala, what sticks out to you as a special moment that made you feel like your organization, your Foundation was having a real impact there?

Debora Prieto
Well, I think that like this particular case is kind of special for us, it's kind of touching because the situation was really, really bad, it was beyond anything, but then other touching moments are always when, for instance, the teenagers they come, sometimes you overhear them talking. And they call us daddy and mommy.

MarySue Hansell
Oh, jeez.

Debora Prieto
Yes, when they talk, they don't call us that directly, but when they talk between them, and they fight, oh, no, they love me more, they love me, it is not like a fight of love or anything like that, but or when they have any success. Like when they are proud of themselves because they succeed in their classes, which with all the help that we are providing, we and the sponsors. I mean we are here, but we need everybody, everybody is part of this. So when you see them, that they've got a title, that they've got -- they achieve what they wanted, and it was because of all this effort that we all are doing. It's kind of nice, I would have to say.

Mick Quinn
Yes, and I would add to that, especially with the -- you know, we had our first two guys graduate this year, that have been with us since 2010, and Ashley graduated as an accountant, and Miguel graduated as a chef. And through the kind help of our sponsors for those two guys, but to see them standing in the same class, wearing a suit, carrying a briefcase, going off to an interview. And Miguel, we actually managed to get him a job at a friend of ours who owns a five-star French restaurant, the guy is so thrilled, and but he still wants to come to the philosophy class, and we gave them their homework this year of Jeff Carara's (ph) book, that they're going to be reading and writing a report on. And they're still interested in the work, and it's just so amazing to see them grow because we don't have children of our own, we have three dogs, so these 30 teenagers are kind of our kids in a way.

MarySue Hansell
You have 30 children that you didn't know.

Mick Quinn
And something else, too, that we're really -- it struck me yesterday, I took a picture of Liz, who is our Sponsorship Director, Homeroom Director, sitting on the couch at the class with our community liaison, who is a Guatemalan woman, who started with us, cleaning our house back in 2010. And she turned out to be this amazingly trustful woman. And she has gone through such changes over the last two years or three years with us that now she's our community liaison, working with families in the same slum, where she is still living and chooses to live, but I mean her house is vastly, vastly improved. She has managed to divorce her husband on our advice, which is a big no-no down here, and just to see these two adults sitting on a couch with loads of papers talking about this family and that family. And I know that it's all because of the work that we've been doing and the structures that we have in place and, of course, our network of donors around the world.

MarySue Hansell
Well, you know, one figure that really impressed me is that 85 percent of the donations to the IHF go directly to the programs. Now how can our listeners help? Where can they donate? What's the best thing for them to do to help you folks?

Mick Quinn
Well, our website, MarySue, is Integral Heart Foundation, that'll work, and on there there's a pretty large donate now button, I think it's called, and that takes them to options to give. And we have as many options that you can shake a stick at, so PayPal or through a bank account, or writing a check, or even using Amazon payments or using a credit card or debit card. So we have many options set-up there. And we'd love to get donations of $5, $10, $20.

MarySue Hansell
Just small donations, okay, great.

Mick Quinn
So if someone wants to give us $500,000 that's totally fine.

MarySue Hansell
Okay, well, hopefully you'll get one from someone listening to this call. Oh, by the way, we have a caller coming in, so let us let the call through. Hi, Jennie (ph), you're here live with Mick Quinn and Debora Prieto on BetterWorldians Radio, do you have a question for Mick and Debora?

Jennie
I do. Hi, Mick and Debora.

Mick Quinn
Hi, Jennie.

Debora Prieto
Hi.

Jennie
Thank you so much for the work you do. It's so inspiring. You've told us so much about the conditions in Guatemala, how difficult it is, what's the biggest challenge you face with these conditions?

Debora Prieto
Wow, there are many. Like from an emotional perspective I can say that sometimes when you see that much need a big challenge is when your kids need extra help or something and you cannot provide it. That, for us, because you just don't have the means to do, it so, for instance, our sponsorships are based in school. So if you sponsor a kid, what happens is that we pay the tuition for the school, that's what it covers, but then there are extra things, always. And sometimes -- and they are real extra things, it's not that I want a new iPhone, right? And sometimes you have to say no, and that really breaks your heart.

Mick Quinn
And, Jennie, I'd look at that from another perspective on your question there. I mean we've been talking about the dark side of Guatemala. There's another side to this country. I mean this country is absolutely gorgeous. I don't know if you've been here, but there's 33 volcanoes, three of them are active, and the weather is pretty, absolutely gorgeous all year round. The people are -- I mean despite the poverty, wonderfully happy, cheery people. The colors, the parades, I mean it's a stunning country, as is El Salvador and Honduras, that we've visited, and also Mexico, they're amazing, amazing countries.

Jennie
Oh, that's great.

Mick Quinn
Yes, I think one of the biggest challenges that I see is the future for these kids in growing into a country that has the infrastructure to support the potential that we're seeing in them. I think I'd say the authorities here are a long way behind developing a structured and coherent infrastructure, in general, in the country that can help these kids grow. And also the availability of funding, I mean it's impossible down here to get a mortgage that's not 10 percent interest, so you don't really have funding available from banks. So without credit we're not going to see a growth in, you know, especially in small businesses because at 10 percent you can't take out a mortgage.

MarySue Hansell
Okay, well, that's great, thanks so much for that answer, and thank you for calling, Jennie.

Jennie
Thank you.

Mick Quinn
Thanks, Jennie.

Debora Prieto
Thank you.

MarySue Hansell
Mick and Debora, we do have a couple of e-mails coming in. Let me see, we have one here from a Tabby E., and Tabby asks what's it like for kids day to day? In other words, what is a typical day?

Mick Quinn
Well, it's depending on what age they are. So let's say from six to 12, okay, I only go to school in the afternoon because in the mornings my school is occupied by teenagers, so if I'm 13 to 18 I go to school in the morning. So, basically, the kids have half a day off every day. The reason for this is that the schools don't have the infrastructure; they just don't have enough school rooms to cater for all the children. So my typical day would be getting up pretty early because a lot of the kids will work before they go to school because a lot of kids come from homes that are subsistence farming or they have to go to, you know, literally walk into the woods to collect firewood so they can warm-up something in the morning or so the mom can make, can cook something for them. So they'll work before they go to school, and then in the afternoons the reason why there are so many NGOs down here is that in part of the work that we do is we provide what is called, what we call or what are called afterschool programs. Now they're not afterschool, like in the States, where they start at three-thirty in the afternoon, these are, you know, they would run all day, so in the mornings you would cater to the younger kids, and in the afternoons you would cater to the teenagers because, again, they only go to school in the morning.

Debora Prieto
Yes, and that prevents them from joining gangs and all the stuff that they can do in the street, which sadly is a huge percent of kids. Some of them they need a sense of belonging, and they just join.

Mick Quinn
Yes, and because of the geography here --

MarySue Hansell
Thanks for the e-mail, Tabby, thanks very much.

Raymond Hansell
Mick and Debora, you guys are really to be congratulated because, unlike a lot of people, who as you pointed out, just basically write a check and walk away, you guys are walking the walk, you're actually in the middle of it all and developing the relationships, finding out exactly what's needed and providing what's needs, in some cases going beyond what was originally intended, to go the extra distance. So my congratulations and my commendations, and we guys are behind you all the way. You clearly are a great example of what we call A BetterWorldian. And for our listeners out there you can find out more about Integral Heart and help them achieve their mission by visiting integralheartfoundation.org. Mick and Debora, wed like to thank you today for joining us on BetterWorldians Radio.

Debora Prieto
Well, thank you.

Mick Quinn
Thank you, Ray and MarySue and Greg.

Debora Prieto
As a last note I would like to say that for us this is like an ending in which all the parts are important, no matter how big or small they are, and it's not just us, we are just here, we put the faces, but everything counts, so each person who collaborates.

Raymond Hansell
You're very, very welcome. Please, listeners, joining us next week for our show Be A BetterWorldian By Being Who You Are with Sheva Carr, CEO of Fyera Foundation and Director of HeartMaths HeartMastery Program. We have an excellent lineup of guests coming up in the coming weeks, and if you know an unsung or BetterWorldian who would make a great guest, please send us an e-mail at radio@betterworldians.com. Wed like to thank everyone today for joining us. You can join the BetterWorldian Community at betterworldians.com. Until next time, everybody, please be a BetterWorldian.