Our focus lies in empowerment.

As a Christian nonprofit, Hearts in Action is focused on building up young people and adults in the Peten with a sense of purpose and identity. Whether through formal schooling, better health care, nutritious meals, creative experiences or greater opportunities for development and employment, HIA is engaged in showing the love of Jesus and a future with hope to our children and our communities.



The Jungle School is providing a quality education to hundreds of students, pre kindergarten through high school. We currently offer training in various careers including early childhood education, eco-tourism and finances. TJS employs over 25 teachers and staff. Our school is very rural, surrounded by jungle, cattle farms and small villages. This area of Guatemala has had limited opportunities for formal education and economic development, but that's where HIA is a catalyst for change and is bringing innovation and skills for new careers. With your help we can make an even greater difference in young lives promoting education.


and ecology

HIA and The Jungle School are teaching about the importance of caring for the environment and our interconnectedness with nature.  Resonating throughout the beautiful 650 acre reserve is our moto, breathe, experience, and preserve the jungle! HIA is boosting awareness of the biodiversity through organic farming, school gardens, bird watching, aquaponics and environmental education. Conservation efforts are helping clean the communities and all grades are recycling. We are actively reforesting and restoring landscapes, practicing permaculture and planting sustainable forests.


Launching enterprises

Itza Wood, a daring new design company and social enterprise is changing the atmosphere and infusing Hearts In Action with an entrepreneurial culture. Our goal is to inspire and educate as we create new start ups.  These businesses make jobs and being employed is a game changer in this rural area. Many people migrate illegally to find a better life but with work they can stay in their villages. These jobs actually help to curb the border crisis. Plans are in the works for more eco-tourism and a honeybee business. These projects inspire our students to believe in their dreams. New businesses in these communities represent progress.

We believe in change. And our process is rooted in listening to the people around us, focusing on using appreciative inquiry as a model that seeks to engage communities in self-determined change.

Education can break the cycle of generational poverty throughout the world.

Children are the best ground to sow seeds for righteousness, change and a brighter future.

Sustainability comes from building each individual’s capacity to address their own needs and working together as a community toward creative solutions.

Partnering with governments, communities, local organizations, and the private sector leads to success.

Values-driven education offers a solid base for individual and community growth and development. Integrity above all!

Conservation and caring for our environment is crucial to life and health in our communities.

Our values keep us aligned.

Encourage love for our Creator and His creation.

Take care of what surrounds you.

Leave a place better than you found it.

Operate under a pioneering and creative mindset.

We’ve accomplished so much.

Hearts in Action (HIA) is a 501(C)3 non profit, founded in 1987 by Mario and Suzanne Babarczy in Massachusetts. The organization began with local efforts educating children, then grew to larger meetings and international seminars on every continent. Initially we taught children and youth for ten years in schools, camps and churches throughout New England before moving to Guatemala. In 1993 we pioneered works and taught extensively in public schools, villages, orphanages, hospitals and youth jails. In 1996 the Guatemalan government asked us to develop new educational programs targeted at children and youth, focused on crime prevention, stopping sexual abuse of children and values training for schools. These programs went nationwide and continue to have a positive impact on the countries and the lives of the people involved.

Since 1993, we have worked in hundreds of schools, trained thousands of teachers, and educated over 3 million children and youth in 5 countries through our programs and curriculum.

In 1998, the founders traveled to the least reached, poorest department of Guatemala, the Peten. They experienced so much need among the local people and they felt compelled to respond. They purchased an abandoned orphanage in a remote village and the organization moved north to the jungle, far off the beaten trail. The founders had a sense that this overgrown, desolate property was made for a new stage of development. Today, the property houses The Jungle School, the HIA Nature Reserve and numerous micro business start ups. Fresh opportunities for impact from this secluded campus enliven the entire community! 

Since that time, through strategic partnerships, our organization has formed bases in Peru, Mexico, and Colombia. Our global focus continues to be on children and youth. We are giving them love and a values based education highlighting ecological themes for healthy community development in this rural area. New employment opportunities are breaking the grips of poverty. In addition, we host leadership trainings and promote children’s wellbeing and nutrition. Our base is bustling with new projects related to children, business, forestry and education.

There is still much left to do.

Understanding that change takes time and partnership, we are heavily invested in our local community and want to work together to create a brighter tomorrow that offers jobs, values based education that goes beyond the classroom, and conservation efforts that leave this planet better than the way we found it.