Our focus lies in empowerment.

As a 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, creative experiences or greater opportunities for development and employment, HIA is engaged showing children and the community love and a future with hope.



through The Jungle School, which trains over 400 students, pre kinder through highschool. TJS employs over 25 teachers and 30 full time staff members in a rural setting in the heart of the jungle where there are very limited opportunities for formal education.


and ecology

through The Ranch, a 650 acre property that boosts biodiversity, organic farming, bird watching, aquaponics, permaculture, restoration forests and conservation efforts, including waste management, sustainable forestry, environmental training to locals and recycling.


Launching enterprises

like Itza Wood, a carpentry and social enterprise, as well as eco-tourism startups, a gourmet food line, an educational toy company and a honeybee business are just some of the exciting projects bringing new economic incentive and change to the community of San Andres. Our goal is to inspire and help our community create the change they want to see in the Peten through an entrepreneurial mindset and belief in their dreams.

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 community growth and development.

Conservation and maintenance of our environment is crucial to life and healthy community development.

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 in public schools, villages, orphanages and youth jails. In 1996 we were asked by the Guatemalan government to develop 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, most remote department of Guatemala, the Peten. They experienced so much need among the local people that 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. Mario & Suzanne both had a sense that this overgrown, desolate property was made for a new time 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 ecological education for rural communities in poverty stricken areas and employment opportunities for the underprivileged. In addition, we host leadership trainings and promote children’s healthcare and nutrition. Our base is bustling with new projects related to forestry, agronomy, business and education.

There’s so 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.