One Heart Source
Rating: 4.76 stars 66 reviews
Location: PO Box 24293 Los Angeles CA 90024 USA
Geographic areas served: Tanzania and South Africa
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There aren't enough words in the English dictionary that could help me describe my experience in Hout Bay. For two weeks, I stepped outside of myself and my normal comfort zone to help serve underpriviledged students that provided me with the most comfortable position and rewarding experience I've ever seen. Coming from a background of mentoring and tutoring on a regular basis helped me to form an idea of what my experience would be like, but little did I know that I would want to give so much of myself for my OHS and GIFTED Community family FOREVER. I've grown such a mental strength and an emotional endurance to seek progression for any and everyone. OHS has given me a purpose and a reason to do what makes me happy, serve others. I am looking forward to continuing my journey with OHS and helping our students in every way possible.
The short two weeks I was privileged enough to spend in Hout Bay with the OHS family introduced me to a newfound purpose. The compassion demonstrated by the leadership results in a group of volunteers who become committed to the mission, connected to one another, and conscientious of their position while they strive towards communal uplift. It was the most difficult, most rewarding and most purposeful two weeks I've had in my young life.
This past summer, in the quaint South African area of Hout Bay, I began my adventure to change the world, or at least a small community, through the One Heart Source Organization. While I knew this experience would be unique, I had no idea how it would change my life and my choices. The program includes working with primary school children from the Cape Town Township Imizamo Yethu. On the first day the group leaders wanted to introduce us to the area we would be serving. As I roamed Imizamo Yethu, a cascading myriad of emotions overwhelmed me. I was reminded of the long journey that had brought me to this point. Flashes of the summers I spent in Puerto Rico and staying in family members' shacks not much bigger than the shacks I witnessed, doing homework by candle light when my family couldn't afford the bills, and people that told me I would never have the opportunities I humbly worked to obtain
During the next two weeks of the program I met three girls and my students: Wamanda, Meta, and Zanelle. Three girls, much like myself, that wanted to practice medicine and heal the people in their community. Facing more adversity than I could imagine, I realized the rigor of their journeys will be far greater than my own. While I only spent my summers in tin-roof homes, did candle-light homework as an inconvenient moment of struggle, and had several teachers snicker at thought of my medical ambitions, this was their everyday reality. I couldn't help but see myself in each of them. Therefore, I attempted to teach them as much as I could about the diseases plaguing their community and achieving your dreams despite the obstacles. Only by meeting Meta, Wamanda, and Zanelle did I realize medicine is not the only way to give hope. A healthy community is created by more than just medicine. It takes equal opportunities, unique innovation, and activities that spark enthusiasm to care for each other. I have unknowingly been obtaining the skills to heal a community from the inside. I no longer want to treat the symptoms and become part of an imperfect system. I want to fix that system. This organization provides you the tools to make a the difference you strive to create. Whether it is only for a two week program or the Fellowship route, you will provide hope. Even if you don't make the change you want to see in the world, you will help kindle change within a small community and ignite passion in yourself.
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Summer 2014 2-week Volunteer :) I could not recommend this incredible organization enough! I was very nervous about traveling abroad by myself, and the people were so amazing at helping to organize my travels and making me feel so comfortable. Once in Africa, I quickly realized just how passionate everyone in this program is. I made life-long friends and memories. The children I mentored and taught will forever hold a very special place in my heart. As cliche as it may sound, these kids taught me as much as I taught them. I would suggest participating in at least 4-weeks. I am still so happy I at least did two weeks. However, the weeks went by wayyyy too fast. I would have loved much more time to bond with my kids and get to be a big part of the education. LOVE LOVE LOVE ONE HEART SOURCE!
Volunteered with OHS Summer of 2014 primarily looking for an adventure. I soon found that I was working with a very passionate organization dedicated to educating the township of Imizamo Yethu and its youth.
The experience I got far exceeded what I was expecting. I met people from around the country that became fast friends.
An amazing organization where you are not only empowering children but also it also encouraged to think outside of the box. You are exposed to different cultures and issues all around the world. You are able to see how our small choices have a bigger impact on the world. A very humbling and experience, like none I have ever had before.
The mission of OHS is to empower children through education. The students they reach out to are often living in very difficult circumstances, and it is very obvious to see the need that they have to 1. a better education, and 2. the lack of any other adequate help provided by their society. Thus, the work OHS does is essential.
I found the work very gratifying as well as relevant. I did not think at any point this was a "feel good" organization- where people can just go back and say "I volunteered in AFRICA!" No. This was serious work with real education agendas. But it was not only the education that was important for the students, but also the connection to their teachers (us, the volunteers). Often at their homes, stability is not a common element- so having someone at school who is there for them makes them WANT to come to school, even when they don't feel like it.
My experience with them has changed my entire perspective on so many issues, especially the cycle of poverty that can trap groups of people, not just in countries like South Africa where there are townships, but even in the US- something I had never thought about before. Honestly, I can say OHS will make you reevaluate many things, but it will open up something deep in your soul- a kind of happy, empathetic connection to humanity you may not have known was there; at least it did for me, and I am forever thankful
The experience in One Heart Source has affected me in ways I did not foresee. Ever since I was a child, I have always wanted to be a teacher. A Chinese proverb says, “Education is using one’s life to influence the other’s”, which is also the reason why I choose to join a 4-weeks volunteer program with One Heart Source in Cape Town, South Africa. It presents me with the wonderful opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of children while also influencing myself.
I believe a good teacher passes on to their student not only knowledge and skills, but also positive moral values. It is the reason why a whole person’s development takes a significant role on the development of a child’s health, and this is the short-term goal I wanted to achieve with my students throughout the program. I believe children deserve a happy childhood in their early years and to have equal opportunities in education, status, and most importantly, life. However, there are still a large amount of children living in fear of violence and insecurity of a safe life. They are unable to enjoy the most basic needs as a human - to be beloved by another, which highly affects the mental growth of a child. Therefore, I came here with the goal of giving my knowledge, love, and care to my students while also trying my best to make a large change through small steps over time.
If you have the same thought like me, please don't hesitate to join us as part of the One Heart Source family! Apply now! Together we can change lives!
My 4-week volunteer experience with One Heart Source in Cape Town, South Africa this past summer was an incredible, fulfilling, and eye-opening experience. Volunteers form such a close, special bond with their students that by the end of the program, it is incredibly hard to say goodbye. My students taught me patience, gratitude, diligence, and compassion, and I certainly learned just as much from them as they did from me. Not only do volunteers engage closely with students at Moravian Primary School, but the directors of OHS also offer various tours and educational outings in order for us to understand the history of South Africa and the context in which our students are living. I walked away with enhanced knowledge about apartheid, HIV/AIDS, living conditions in townships, and social inequity in modern South Africa. My experience with One Heart Source has motivated me to pursue non-profit and public health work in the future, and I am inspired to continue participating in volunteer programs. I also made some amazing friends in my volunteer group that I still communicate with frequently and miss dearly. I highly recommend volunteering with OHS; it is a challenging, rewarding opportunity that causes you to realize that you CAN make a huge difference in the lives of very special, vulnerable children. Never underestimate your potential as a volunteer! These students need you as their mentors and will appreciate your help more than you can imagine.
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One Heart Source has forever changed my life for the best! The staff is amazing, the excursions were immeasurably beneficial to my growth, and the students were a pleasure to work with. I really appreciated the balance between working at the school and learning about the greater context through trips and meetings. I struggled at times but I always felt supported. I can honestly say I would do it all over again if I could!