As the founder and director of Heightened Hearts, I have had the privilege of operating our foundation from our home office here in Miami, Florida. Much of the good work that we do takes place locally – however, as someone who came to Florida from the Ukraine, I know how deeply the people of my home country are in need of help as well. Luckily, friends of Heightened Hearts from around the world have stepped in, and we have been able to move forward and grow our ability to help others in this area.
I’m excited to announce that we have opened our second headquarters in the Poltavskiy region in Ukraine, where I am originally from. With the support of real estate donations by my family that resides in this area, we will be able to more effectively help the people there with their needs. The new Ukraine Center has already started a craft program for children and grow to offer a variety of programs, including:
- An after-school activity center where children can have a safe and supportive place to learn and grow
- A spiritual program for youth and adults
- A “Healing with Art” program
- Computer classes
- Speech impediment services
- And much more!
Most importantly, this center will allow us to reach out to the surrounding areas and help impoverished communities to rebuild by serving as a home base for our organization and as a retreat for people to come together under a common cause and help one another.
One of the most exciting features of this new center is the way in which it can support the Heightened Hearts Philanthro-Travel Program. We see more and more that when people take a vacation, they don’t just want to relax and see the sites – they also want to learn about the communities they are visiting and do something to leave a positive impact on people. This gives rise to the “voluntourism” movement, where people combine sightseeing and volunteering to ensure they are giving back in a meaningful way.
One of the biggest benefits of Philanthro-Travel and voluntourism are the resources provided by those who participate – the funds, time, and energy of these volunteers gives us the ability to make a needed project happen that would otherwise be impossible, such as building a home, purchasing materials for a library, or remodeling a home for accessibility. Additionally, volunteers get the opportunity to interact with local people and experience the meaningful, life-changing moments that can only occur when one gives back to those in need.
We’ve designed our facility in the Ukraine to ensure that travelers who wish to support Heightened Hearts by participating in Philanthro-Travel have their needs met. We encourage you join us – we will ensure that you have a beautiful experience learning about the Ukrainian culture, traditions, and way of life. Your support will allow us not to serve just the areas around our current centers, but will also help us to build similar relief centers in other parts of the world and continue to grow in our mission to serve others.