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About the project

The lead teacher, Miguel Pena, originally from El Salvador, is the first in his family to graduate from college and earn a teaching degree. He’s been teaching the Habits of Heart program for six years. In a survey of their children’s progress, parents reported that the children demonstrated an increased motivation to learn, an ability to communicate with respect,

an appreciation for the role science and the arts can play in service to others and an increased awareness of global connectedness. Parents also reported that the majority of the children had improved their abilities in reading, math, cooperation, self-restraint and responsibility for their own actions.

How we help

Tarzana kids learn to be compassionate and active global citizens. They are linked with Liberia as a “wisdom exchange partner.” Last year, Full-Circle Learning, which provides the Habit of Hearts curriculum, launched an Ebola prevention plan and it was implemented in 31 schools in Liberia before anyone knew that Ebola would break out in that country. Those communities reported that the prevention campaign helped curtail the virus more quickly than in surrounding countries.

The Tarzana kids had been practicing empathy as a habit of heart. Learning that many kids in Liberia had become orphans as a result of the Ebola outbreak, the teacher and parents launched a project called Kids United for Liberia, and helped the class to: 1) collect school supplies to send to the orphans; 2) plan and promote a public march on a Saturday and give speeches in a park a mile away; and 3) collect money from the march for orphans who needed help to pay their school fees, and buy uniforms, shoes and school supplies.

Habits of Heart Curriculum

The Habits of Heart curriculum teaches children to understand and practice habits such as courtesy, compassion, interconnectedness, self-mastery, kindness, gratitude and honesty in order that they develop upright characters and traits that will serve them and their communities throughout their lives. They learn how these habits and skills can also support the greater social goals of curing disease, preventing war, addressing poverty, advocating equity, and preserving the planet and how they, even as children, can contribute.

Service Learning

The kids have an opportunity to learn through service projects such as “Kids United” project which raised money to help orphans in Liberia. Other service learning projects have including walking trips to a nursing home and a water conservation project.

Achievements in

Served 38 kids grades K-5, 5 days per week, 10 months a year.  Demographics: Russian: 14%; Bulgarian:14%; Indian:7%; Chilean:7%; Polish: 5%; Yemeni: 17; Turkish: 3%; Persian: 9%; Tunisian: 2%; African-American: 7% Iraqi 7%; Caucasian-American: 3%;  Armenian: 5%.

Families served:  20 in Ecuador: 10 in Hait; 30 Seniors in Tarzana. 80% of parents whose first language was not English depended on this project for homework assistance.

Facilitate the transition of the program to the school's PTA in working with the school's principle and the aprents to ensure program sustainability and stability in future.

Provide programmatic support to PTA, and to ensure the effectiveness and integrity of the program.

Provide financial assistance to PTA through the year of transition as needed.

Change 38 lives!

Give $50 a month, or $500 a year, to support transition of this program to PTA. Total budget $3K.