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Volunteers at Georgetown share their experiences with the student-ran publication, The Corp. The original article can be viewed on their website Here.

Teach a Child, Change Your Life

Finding something you truly believe in doesn’t come around every day.

OHS Gaby

Photo by Gaby Weigel

For a group of us at Georgetown, we find this sense of purpose through working with a grassroots, non-profit organization called One Heart Source (OHS).

One Heart Source aims to empower the lives of children and their communities through education and community development. We believe in a “child first” society, where every child, no matter where they are born, is given the tools they need to become leaders in their communities.

OHS hand

Photo by Gaby Weigel

One Heart Source offers 1-4 week volunteer programs in South Africa designed for young people to be a part of creating this social change. We are looking for volunteers who embody our motto of “Intellect, Leadership & Service” and have a genuine desire to be a part of a movement toward a more equal, conscious, and compassionate world.

The opportunities that OHS offers is best told by former volunteers. These are their stories.

Claire Lang (2014) | Zanzibar 2013

As Georgetown students, we are so fortunate. We have amazing teachers who challenge us, mentor us, and care about our success both in and out of the classroom.

OHS-Claire

Such an education is both an amazing opportunity and a gift–one that I could give to my students in Zanzibar, Tanzania. It was amazing to see the students grow and learn during the six weeks I was living in the village. Even after school had ended, they wanted to keep learning. We would gather in my living room at night by flashlight, and play their favorite game (Simon says) and I would share stories about my home.

I went to Zanzibar, Tanzania as a teacher, but I left as a student of a new culture, a student of family and community. It was the most amazing, life-changing summer ever.

Molly Morrison (2016) | Zanzibar 2013

As if being thousands of miles away from home, surrounded by a new culture, a new language, and new everything wasn’t overwhelming enough — on day two, I was given the assignment of teaching math to 50 fourth graders.

OHS Molly

At first, I was full of doubt, thinking that I definitely wasn’t qualified for such a huge undertaking. But it was times like the following that affirmed that I was exactlywhere I was meant to be. “Ready? Go!”

The rows of children screamed, cheering on their teammates as two students scribbled the answers to math problems on the board. The room went silent and points were tallied. Team Paka (cat) had eight correct answers, but Team Kuku (chicken) scored a perfect 12. The children erupted in cheers unable to contain their excitement, with smiles stretching check to cheek and high-fiving everyone in reach.

When the class finally quieted down, a lone hand shot up into the air. “Zaidi mwalimu.” More teacher.

Erin Collins (2013) | South Africa 2013

When I met Olwethu, I was surprised to learn that she did not yet know her alphabet. Listening to the other fourth grade students in the room reading books and spelling words, I realized how behind Olwethu was in school.

As I tried to teach her the alphabet, she frequently became quickly frustrated and wanted to give up. So, it was time to get creative and approach reading from a different angle. Olwethu loved using her fingers to do math problems, so I decided we would do the same to learn her letters. Together, we made paper letters, tapped them to our fingers, and tapped them on the table as we worked to sound out words.

As this became easier, we created colorful word lists of all the words she had successfully sounded out and read on her own. Each day, we read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, so she could practice her alphabet and read along with me.

I watched as reading quickly went from something she struggled with and hated to one of her favorite parts of our lesson. During my home visit to her house, we brought along Chicka Chicka Boom Boom for Olwethu to read to her mom. She read the book almost completely on her own. At the end, I looked up to see tears in her mom’s eyes.

She told me she had assumed Olwethu would never be able to read. I was so proud of Olwethu that I felt my own tears forming. Olwethu taught me so much about patience, perseverance, and determination. She never gave up and proved how far that attitude towards life can take you.

Laura DeGiorgis (2016) | Zanzibar 2013

Taking time away from my busy life to serve a community in Tanzania was so far the best decision I have made.

Laura OHS

Living in an environment so different from home taught me so much; the lifestyle that many people in Africa lead is refreshingly peaceful and simple. Living amongst people who have so little yet are so warm and loving is an experience everyone should have.

It was truly an honor to be able to give back to them for all they had taught me. Sharing my knowledge and tutoring in their schools were the least I could do. It was a mutual exchange: I taught them how to count, spell and read, and they taught me how to love and live in a community.

Courtney Hodge (2014) | South Africa

The most valuable part of my experience with One Heart Source was the community.

Courtney OHS

I became so close with the girls I tutored, as well as many other kids that I worked with or saw in passing that I feel like I’ve known from for a long time. One Friday, a few other volunteers and I had the opportunity to go hear the President of South Africa speak in the nearby township.

What really struck me about that day was walking back to school after the speech and having all these kids run up to me and hug me, kids that were not even in our program and who I had only worked with a few times in the classroom.

That moment cemented for me how much of an impact you can have by doing something as small as reading with a child for a few minutes or helping them with a math problem.

Gabriela Weigel (2014) | Tanzania 2011 / Zanzibar 2012 / South Africa 2013

I first volunteered with OHS the summer after my freshman year. I received an email alerting me to the opportunity, and something in me sparked.

Yes, I was driven to apply due to my fundamental belief in equality of education. Yes, I was driven by an intrigue of living in another country. But mostly, I was driven by desire to engage with people who could teach me much more than what I experienced in a classroom.

Gaby OHS

I did not anticipate that this decision would change the way I see myself as participant in this world, nor that I would return to teach in Africa every summer since. But after three summers of volunteering with OHS in Tanzania and South Africa, I honestly cannot imagine what my college experience would have been like if I had not had the perspective and inspiration that OHS has given me. I have found more meaning, purpose, joy and understanding when working in Africa than in any other aspect of my life.

I am forever grateful for the students I’ve taught, the communities I’ve been a part of and the invaluable lessons I have learned from my time with One Heart Source.

Lina’s Story

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Dec 162013
 

Happy Holidays!

As the year comes to a close, we would like to thank you for making our work possible. Your support helps the OHS mentorship programs provide students in Tanzania and South Africa with the resources they need to empower themselves and their communities.

This holiday season we are celebrating the gift of reading, and would like to invite you to give whatever you can so that we can do whatever it takes to provide children with the priceless ability to read. Please let the story of one of our students speak for itself:

2014-holiday-donatation-card-top

Lina is a 3rd Grade student at Moravian Primary School in Cape Town, South Africa, who lives in a two-room metal shack with her parents and younger brothers. When OHS volunteers first began working with Lina in our Reading & Literacy Mentorship program, she only recognized half of the alphabet and tested at a pre-Kindergarten reading level. She told our mentors that she loved to read, and spent the next three months proving that this was true by advancing 7 reading levels within our program. Through her hard work and partnership with OHS mentors, Lina was just one level shy of a 2nd grade reading level at the end of the three months, placing her in the top 13% of her class.

Lina’s story is a testament to our students’ drive to pursue education and empower themselves despite the incredible barriers they face.

a2014-holiday-donatation-card-lina

Lina is just one of twenty-five 3rd graders that participated in One Heart Source’s mentorship program in Cape Town this last year. After three months of mentorship, these twenty-five students vastly improved on their reading levels. The following pie charts show the before and after reading grade levels of the mentorship students​.

As the pie charts illustrate, substantial progress was made over three months. One of our mentorship students reached a 3rd grade reading level, becoming the only 3rd grade student at the entire school (185 3rd graders) to be at grade level in reading.

One Heart Source volunteers used the Developmental Reading Assessment®, 2nd Edition (DRA2), to determine the students’ reading levels and to measure their progress. The DRA levels are each organized into grade levels, producing the data in the pie graphs above. The following bar graph shows the grade level data broken down into the DRA levels, illustrating that even if students did not move up an entire grade level, every OHS mentorship student improved at least one DRA level.

 

All of the progress occurred after three months of students being enrolled in the OHS mentorship program at Moravian Primary School. Imagine what students can achieve after one year! Please join us this holiday season in bringing the gift of reading to more students in Cape Town by donating.

You can donate by clicking here or by clicking on the “Donate Here” button above in Lina’s photo. Thank you.

 

On October 19, 2013, over 200 people joined the cast of Sons of Anarchy at the 2nd Annual Hogs for Heart event at Mo’s Fine Food in Burbank, CA. The evening was held in support of One Heart Source’s education programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Friends, fans, and family experienced a once in a lifetime opportunity where they were able to mingle with the cast and bid on unique autographed items while contributing to programs that will improve the lives of some of Africa’s most vulnerable children.

The event was hosted by Kim Coates (Tig) and his daughter, Kyla Coates, who is the Education Programs Manager of One Heart Source.  Cast members who attended included: Charlie Hunnam (Jax), Ron Perlman (Clay), Maggie Siff (Tara), Jimmy Smits (Nero), Mark Boone Jr. (Bobby), Tommy Flanagan (Chibs), Theo Rossi (Juice), Dayton Callie (Unser), Emilio Rivera (Alveraz), David Labrava (Happy), Chris Reed (Filthy Phil), Michael Ornstein (Chucky), Niko Nicotera (Ratboy), and Peter Weller (Charles).

 

 

The event raised money for One Heart Source’s education programs in sub-Saharan Africa that seek to break the cycle of vulnerability and injustice. This branch of OHS functions as volunteer-led education programs in Tanzania and South Africa designed to empower young people through education and produce rapid progress in the core subjects of reading and mathematics. OHS believes that this educational transformation will be the first step of a social transformation towards a child-first society where equal access to education is the norm.

Throughout the evening, attendees donated money towards school supplies, books, computers, food, art materials, and more that will be used in One Heart Source’s education programs throughout Africa. The event culminated in a paddle raise for a state-of-the-art mobile classroom that will allow One Heart Source educators to reach vulnerable communities, regardless of location. And the evening finished up with a live performance of an original song by Sadar and the Havenotz. In total, the event raised over $90,000 for education and empowerment efforts in Africa, surpassing 2012’s amount.

“Last year’s event was such a great success, that we were a little nervous about how this year would go,” said Kyla Coates, “But we blew last year away! We couldn’t be happier with all the support that we received – it was a beautiful night.”

 

 

Video: Marvin Malzahn/Tom Martinez, Jr./Abram Goglanian

Photos: Jeff Wallace/Leilani Ware

 

 

Over 200 people attended the first annual Hogs for Heart (HFH) benefit at Mo’s Fine Food in Burbank, CA on October 13, 2012. Fans, motorcycle enthusiasts, and good samaritans joined the cast of the hit FX television show, “Sons of Anarchy,” in support of One Heart Source (OHS).

Attendees at HFH got to mingle with the stars, bid on rare SOA silent auction items, and enjoy food and drinks, all while raising money for the children’s home run by One Heart Source in Arusha, Tanzania.

Cast members who attended included: Kim Coates (Tig), Charlie Hunnam (Jax), Ron Perlman (Clay), Katey Sagal (Gemma), Mark Boone Jr (Bobby), Ryan Hurst (Opie), Tommy Flanagan (Chibs), Theo Rossi (Juice), Dayton Callie (Unser), Emilio Rivera (Alveraz), David Labrava (Happy), Chris Reed (Filthy Phil), Michael Ornstein (Chucky) and Michael Beach (T.O. Cross).

The fundraiser was the brainchild of Kim Coates and his wife after they visited their daughter Kyla in Tanzania, who is working as the Educational Programs Manager of OHS and was living at the OHS children’s home. Coates said he fell in love with the 11 children who currently live at the home and decided to get involved by organizing a fundraiser. As a result, all 11 children who permanently live at the home received academic and medical sponsors for 2013 and all the proceeds from the auction items went directly to the children’s home and the extended family it supports.

“The event was beautiful, emotional, and a success- the passion was palpable throughout the night,” Kyla Coates said. “Can’t wait until next year!”

 

Video: Marvin Malzahn/Tom Martinez, Jr.

Photos: Chris Ellis/Chase Smith

 

     Volunteers in the Cape Town B program had the opportunity to visit Denis Goldberg, a native South African who was one of the leading white activist during the struggle against apartheid.  He helped create the College of Democrats and allied the organization with the African National Congress, and later became a technical officer for Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK).

     He was arrested in 1963, along with seven other comrades, including Nelson Mandela and Water Sisulu and sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 after the famous Rivonia Trial.  Goldberg was released in 1985, after 22 years in prison and became a spokesperson for the ANC; he represented the organization at the Anti- Apartheid Committee of the United Nations.

     Goldberg invited OHS volunteers to his home in Hout Bay, where he shared stories and lessons from years of battling injustice.  When asked if he had any advice for young activists, Goldberg reclined back in his chair, paused and said, “Never be patronizing, respect is what’s important.  [Respect] its a way of relating to people.  People should relate on a level of conscious equality.”

      Additional quotes from the evening:

“Freedom doesn’t fall from trees. Freedom is something people struggle for.”

“Once you understand prejudice you can’t accept it.  How can you let prejudice undermine your view of people?”

“I can’t accept injustice anywhere, just because my parents were this, that, or the other.”

“We can’t go on talking about the struggle, we have to do something else.”

“There’s nothing soft in prison.”

“He (Mandela) was a leader amongst other great leaders.”

“I grew up in a country where religion was a part of oppression.”

“Once people can read and write you can’t stop them from thinking.”

“If we could fight racism around the world, why would we tolerate it in South Africa?”

“Respect is the lubrication of society, you must respect everyone.”

 

     Kim Coates, star of the F/X series “Sons of Anarchy”, won the celebrity pole position at the Long Beach Celebrity Grand Prix for the 36th annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race.  Mr. Coates selected One Heart Source as the beneficiary of the $15,000 donation from People Magazine awarded in conjunction with the 15th annual People Pole Award.  The donation will be used to fund Phase 1 of establishing a mobile educational unit in our Arusha location. Thank you, Kim!

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