One Heart Source

Rating: 4.84 stars   129 reviews


PO Box 24293 Los Angeles CA 90024 USA


One Heart Source (OHS) is an entrepreneurial non-profit organization that designs and catalyzes education programs that empower vulnerable people and communities with choice and opportunity. The organization’s model of international mentorship connects university students, professionals, families, and retirees to vulnerable youth and communities across cultural, social, and economic boundaries. With its partner communities in Jamaica, South Africa, and Tanzania, the OHS International Collective provides holistic care and academic excellence as a means of ending the vicious cycle of generational poverty. Our mission is to build environments within marginalized populations that promote a comprehensive approach to eliminating the gap between those who have access to bettering their lives and those who do not.

Target demographics:

low income communities and vulnerable youth worldwide.

Geographic areas served:

Tanzania, South Africa and Jamaica


One heart source (ohs) was founded in 2008 on the belief that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Ohs programs strive, through international collaboration and development, to build environments within marginalized populations that promote a comprehensive approach to eliminating the gap between those who have access to bettering their lives and those who do not. The mantra of one heart source is 'uplift with humanity', and, as of 2014, ohs has three main branches of uplift programs: children's welfare and education in tanzania, education in south africa, and the global ohs collective. In 2014, one heart source programs in tanzania were focused on providing high quality education and care to vulnerable children. Uplift was focused within two main sectors: children's welfare - namely the ohs children's welfare network in arusha, tanzania - and education, particularly academic mentorship programs in zanzibar, tanzania. The ohs children's welfare network is committed to promoting the well-being, growth, and development of vulnerable, abandoned, and orphaned children in arusha, tanzania. In 2008, unaids estimated that there were nearly 2. 4 million orphaned children in tanzania, at least 1 million of whom were orphaned as a result of hiv/aids. Children orphaned due to hiv/aids are often 'double orphans' (they lose both biological parents), and the prospective life opportunity for an orphaned child in tanzania is bleak. The number of institutions capable of caring for these children is grossly outnumbered by the number of children in need, and these institutions are often strapped for resources. This perpetuates socioeconomic inequality and hiv/aids vulnerability, causing the cycle to repeat itself. In light of this harrowing reality, the vulnerability of these children cannot be overstated, and there is an urgent moral imperative to provide them with viable life solutions beyond simply survival. In order to provide a just response to this crisis, one heart source established the ohs children's welfare center in 2008 to serve the dual purpose of both providing a home for children, and being a stepping-stone to a long-term, positive solution for each child. By 2013, the center had evolved into a fully mobile network that designs and implements sustainable life paths for each enrolled child, based on their available comprehensive web of care and academic opportunities. Ohs works closely with social workers and the child's surviving family members to carefully research the family history and available network of care for every child at one heart source. Re-integration into the child's biological family is considered to be in the best interest of the child whenever possible, through capacity building and careful trials and monitoring, as it creates a long-term, non-institutional solution for the child. In this capacity, the ohs center serves as the adaptive bridge to a long-term positive solution for each child, providing all-encompassing material and human resources to support the overall well-being of each child. The children's individual life paths are carefully monitored by ohs social workers and caregivers in order to ensure that they receive the support they need to grow, learn, and become contributing members of their communities. This support includes but is not limited to: education - full scholarship to attend top local private schools; health - access to high quality medical and dental care; nutrition - healthy, nutritious food and clean water; joy - entertainment, excursions, and play; and generally maximizing life opportunity. Overall, the goal of one heart source is to offer each child it serves a fair life by improving the quality of daily nutritional value, academic and social learning, personal care and attention, opportunity, choice, and freedom. One heart source is constantly refining its organizational model and methodology in order to meet the anticipated needs of the children under its care to ensure that they have the brightest, most vibrant futures possible. Programs in tanzania also included volunteer-led education programs in zanzibar aimed at providing intensive instruction on life skills, english, and mathematics to communities in rural areas. 2014 marked the fifth consecutive year of programs in zanzibar, and one heart source continued its collaboration with local communities and their leaders. A team of international volunteers coordinated to conduct an academic mentorship program at the village primary school, providing more than 60 students with daily instruction in reading and mathematics at an average of 3:1 student-to-teacher ratio. One heart source's academic model is aimed at creating rapid progress in the subjects of english and mathematics for individual students enrolled in the program. After-school programs also incorporate a variety of arts, sports and extracurricular activities to encourage students to engage creatively and to provide a safe, constructive use of time during after-school hours. Evening classes for adults were also offered in the form of english language instruction and community health discussions. In order to ensure the relevance and effectiveness of the services we deliver, programs funding also went towards supporting our volunteer teachers to live together in homestays with local families in order to have an exchange of culture and knowledge. 2014 represented the culmination of our four-year project in zanzibar, with partnerships having been made with four different villages and educational services delivered to more than 1,000 students over the course of the project since 2010. With volunteer safety as a major consideration, increased security risk and regional instability led to the decision not to renew zanzibar programs for another four-year phase at this time. Programs in south africa were focused on the continued development of the greatness initiative for township educational development (gifted) in the cape town township of imizamo yethu. Gifted, or the 'gifted community', is a program designed to empower young people through education and break the cycle of vulnerability and injustice. The driving philosophy behind this program is our belief that it is the right of every child to have access to an excellent education that will empower opportunity, choice, and freedom. South africa is one of the most 'developed' countries in all of africa, but for centuries its people were oppressed by various governments founded on injustice and inequality. The effects of racial discrimination and apartheid remain, particularly in the education sector. Township communities post-apartheid remain almost completely racially segregated, and many students' parents were denied access to equal education under the apartheid system. Many schools suffer from a lack of resources and high student-to-teacher ratios, all of which contribute to poor academic performance. Such results reflect a bleak prospect for future academic and life opportunity for these children, thus perpetuating the cycle of inequality. The gifted community was created as a positive and hope-based reaction to this catastrophic reality. The gifted community brings together volunteers of different nations, ages, ethnicities, and faiths, to mentor south african students at the local primary school. Ohs established the inaugural gifted community in 2012, and it has grown steadily since then. Each year, a new cohort of grade 3 students is enrolled in the program. These students are selected in collaboration with teachers and often rank in the middle-bottom range of their class in reading and mathematics, though exceptions are made. Gifted students engage in mentorship throughout the week with ohs mentors in a low student-to-teacher ratio. This allows us to tailor instruction to the specific needs of each student, creating a condition in which rapid academic growth is possible. Student progress is carefully tracked with periodic assessments and communication is maintained between ohs leaders and the children's teachers and parent/guardian(s). Ohs is constantly developing an ecosystem for collaborative exchange in order to holistically provide the best learning environment possible for our students, which in 2014 included working in partnership with school administration and faculty, local ngos, and community leaders. We strive to work together with every stakeholder in our students' lives. The main goals of the gifted community are: to provide high-quality mentorship in an environment where all students have an opportunity to thrive academically, personally, and creatively despite significant socioeconomic disadvantages; to create a culture of respect for oneself, others, and one's community; to develop a web of care for students that includes teachers, families, and mentors; and to design opportunities for students and volunteers to empower each

other through human connection. The core academic goal of the gifted community is to generate measurable improvement in reading and mathematics for all enrolled students. In order to provide the most holistic mentorship possible for our students, we also emphasize the arts, critical thought, and the building of character. Accordingly, gifted community students are also offered after-school programs twice a week as well as saturday school every weekend. These programs often incorporate a variety of arts, sports and extracurricular activities to encourage students to engage creatively and to provide a safe, constructive use of time during after-school hours. Students also join their ohs mentors on field trips and other excursions within the greater cape town area in order to engage with local surroundings and encourage education beyond the physical classroom. It is our hope that the gifted community will provide a strong and loving community for the students to depend on and utilize to succeed academically and personally in their lives. We hope to see our students go to and through high school and university, gain access to the world and opportunities outside of their immediate surroundings, improve their academic performance, and embrace their role as empowered global citizens. In 2014, a global team of nearly 100 volunteers was recruited from universities all over the world, and cohorts of volunteers coordinated to run the gifted program. The gifted mentorship program is made possible entirely by the dedication of these volunteers who serve as mentors to the children. Programs funding in south africa was allocated towards providing a creative, living workspace enabling ohs volunteers to collaboratively plan and prepare the implementation of mentorship programs. Resources for this living workspace include meals, security, transportation to program activities, teaching supplies, internet connectivity, and additional resources and excursions that enabled mentors to act effectively and competently within the gifted program. Volunteers engaged in immersion opportunities throughout the cape town surrounds, networking with historians, activists, artists, and other organizations in order to better understand the historical and socioeconomic context of oppression and to empathize with the children and community whom we serve. Additional programs funding in 2014 also went towards the development of a mobile computer lab equipped with google chromebooks to enhance teacher capability and enrich learning opportunities for the students. This was paired with investments in mobile internet modems and data allowances to enable the use of online learning tools such as khan academy at the school. In addition, ohs re-invested in the developmental reading assessment (dra) as a system of measuring and tracking students' academic progress within our model. Lastly, the new health focus concept program was piloted in cape town - with the intention of offering and operating multiple programs in 2015. The intentions of the health focus program are two-fold: to focus on health-career mentorship for gifted scholars by connecting international, pre-health professionals to their aspiring counterparts in primary school, and to engage with local and global community health realities while examining potential solutions through an education-based lens focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. One heart source functions as a collective of individuals who work towards social change together as a global community. Since 2008, the transformative partnerships created by ohs programs have resulted in nearly one thousand volunteers from around the world engaging with communities in tanzania and south africa. Ohs members represent more than 20 different nationalities and have hailed from more than 100 universities. As staff, volunteers, and programs are located all over the world, international collaboration via global travel and communication services were integral to the evolution and management of our programs in 2014. At the end of the year, ohs invested in the bluejeans video collaboration platform in order to facilitate global dialogue and collaboration within the collective and our global uplift programs. The mission and vision of one heart source extends beyond the region of sub-saharan africa, as vulnerable populations continue to be marginalized globally and 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere'. The long-term goal of our programs is to connect mentors, students, and communities from many nations into an international community of people who support each other and strive for greatness in education and life. We believe educational transformation to be the first step of a large-scale social transformation towards a child-first society where equal access to excellent education is the norm. Our five-year plan includes the goal of establishing a program on every continent, with the technological infrastructure to connect the satellite locations to the local and global community seamlessly. The expansion began with the selection of jamaica as the next location in 2014.

2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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NL88's Review for One Heart Source

Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I volunteered with One Heart Source in Tanzania during the summer of 2010. It ended up being two of the most impactful months of my life. I went there to teach students about the dangers of HIV and AIDS, but after living there I realized I was doing so much more than that. I was connecting and sharing with people across the globe. I lived with a host family in a village outside of Arusha and loved every minute of it. While living in a mud hut was far different from any living situation I had ever experienced before, its humble amenities and cozy spaces quickly became home to me. After living with my host family I learned how little material things and the acquisition of wealth actually had to do with happiness. The warmth and generosity that I experienced living with people that have so little was amazing to see.
During the weekdays I was teaching at school in the grade 7 classrooms, and I could not have been more pleased with how well things went. One Heart Source had developed a great relationship with the school we worked at, which allowed us to be incredibly effective as teachers. Through One Heart Source’s close relationship with the school administrators and teachers we were able to maintain a cohesive and consistent teaching force that is able to continue year around. This also made my integration into the school much more seamless.
Volunteering with One Heart Source was an amazing experience. I learned and grew more than I ever could have imagined. For anyone who is looking to work at the grassroots level and experience life in Tanzania, this is the volunteer program for you.

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