From the Heart...

Donor Honor Board! And, Agape!

Because of you, HHI reached the full potential of our matching grant from The Greenbaum Foundation!  WOW!  And thank you so, so much!  We are honored by your commitment, encouraged by your  faith, humbled by your generosity for our work in the world.

To The Greenbaum Foundation – Thank you!  Your generous matching grant, your early belief in a scrappy non-profit, your years of committed support in time, expertise, connections, and advocacy have ensured HHI’s dream of “nurturing children and empowering women” (and so much more) has come to life for more than 186,000 moms/dads, health workers, orphanage staff and vulnerable babies.  There is no way we can ever adequately express our appreciation in words… thank you.

And, to our incredible community of donors – your donations are creating a more nurturing, healthy, safe and supportive world for those same 186,000+ people.  Your individual gifts of funding, your volunteered time and talents, your enthusiasm, kindness and on-going commitments to HHI are inspiring!  So many of you wrote us personal notes and cards with your contributions, which we proudly display and read again and again to remind us of our shared visions for the world and gratitude for each other.

The ancient Greeks had six different words for “love”.  My personal favorite and one that best explains HHI’s mission is this:

 4. Agape, or love for everyone

“The fourth love, and perhaps the most radical, was agape or selfless love. This was a love that you extended to all people, whether family members or distant strangers. Agape was later translated into Latin as caritas, which is the origin of our word “charity.”

C.S. Lewis referred to it as “gift love,” the highest form of Christian love. But it also appears in other religious traditions, such as the idea of mettā or “universal loving kindness” in Theravāda Buddhism.”  (full story)

I have read numerous articles recently of “growing evidence that agape is in a dangerous decline in many countries. Empathy levels in the U.S. have declined sharply over the past 40 years, with the steepest fall occurring in the past decade.”  I am not sure what to make of this, because of you, our community, we swim in agape everyday.  I witness your capacity to not only care about others, but to actively work to better the lives of others you will never meet.  Again, “thank you” seems to fall far short in expressing our appreciation.

Our Gratitude to:

The Greenbaum Foundation


So Hum Foundation

David Pyle & Sarah Newhall

Hayden Hamilton

Sara B. Cooper

Don & Roberta Peterson

Melissa Bloom


Covenant Presbyterian Church

Gary & Patricia Arrington

Tom & Janet O’Reilly

Dennis & Deborah Engers

Gun Denhart

The Easton Koehler Family Fund

Schwab Charitable Trust, Anonymous

Oregon Community Fund


Kristin Oberholtzer   l George C. Apatachioae  l Kirk & Anne Peterson  l Eli & Madeleine Lamb Family Foundation   l Marie & Matthew Ballance  l Vivekanand Tiwari   l  Daniel Sheil l Dick & Patricia Streeter  l Mark Hashizume  l Wendy Kelly   l Leslie & Ethan Meekwohl   l Imke Oster  l Antonietta Pagliuca  l The Shimpi Family   l Jenny Donohue  l Christopher  Elgin l Inez Merida  l Joshua & Kellie Peirce  l   Jim & Karen Nolan  l Barbara Gord   l Alan & Margery Braverman   l Carley Phillips  l Amy Kasznel   l James & Virginia Foreman   l Mortimer & Elizabeth Bauer   l Joyce & Rex Cassel   l Ruth Nelson  l Gail & Wayne Taylor  l Joan Bove   l Charles & Diana Ladner   l Matt Heim   l Lloyd & Lee Perry   l Allyn & Ann Plambeck   l Stacy Sempier    l Gina Umble   l Ariadne Decker   l   Julie Livingston & Jon Manning   l Tanya Kramer   l Molly Fonner    l Sally Scholz & Thomas Morris   l Mike Hamilton    l  Barbara & John Woodcock  l Kunal Mehra   l Lisa Lucas  l Khari Gates  l Laura Peterson   l Susan Crandlemire   l Donna Vogt   l Hollie & Eric Allen  l Carl Knudson l   Robert & Paula Hamilton   l Rob & Mary Kweit   l Jessica O’Connell   l Lynette Aytch   l Elizabeth Tillman   l Barry & Lois Wiggins   l Tom & Charlotte Matthews   l Kimberly Sordyl   l  Kevin C. Traynor, Sr. Family Foundation   l Marina Simoes   l Betty McDonald l Schoening   l Carley Phillips  l Paul & Ruth DeLomba   l  Carole & Thomas Campbell   l Carol Timmreck   l  Frank Lofgren  l Tammy Zinsmeister   l Joseph & Lorrain Hackenbracht   l  John & Kathryn Wiley  l Andrew Stifler   l Therese Morrissey l Christa Sprinkle    l George & Erica Bach   l  Marjorie Crosby   l Estela Bernal   l Christy Collado   l Andrea Brook   l Martine van den Berg   l Liz Jenks   l Dave Riveness    l Michael Smolens    l  David Goodall   l  Patricia McGarr    l  Barb & Ted Widmayer   l April Harris   l Karen Vrilakas   l Ivan Farber   l Christine Chaille   l Debra Slover   l Cheryl Sallee   l  Kay Koplovitz   l Ciel Sander   l Levi Query   l Alissa Keny-Guyer   l  Aaron Jenkins   l  Shauna Mohr   l  Judith Scheid   l  Carole Magnusson    l    Kyle Stevens

Building on Commitment & Love

In the tiny tribal village of Khetrapal, in rural Odisha, India, HHI helps make a dream come true.   Since 2007, our partner NGO, Viswa Yuva Kendra, has been supporting the operation of a small crèche center.  This is a safe space where the community’s young children can stay during the day to while their parents are working in nearby fields.  The crèche center also offers the opportunity for basic teaching of pre-school skills for the children and gives the parents peace in knowing their children are safe and being cared for.


This village is purely tribal, representing one of the lowest castes in India, which still carries with it many limitations, stigma and remains synonymous with poverty .  All of the families of Khetrapa live in only 40 houses.  All the villagers are daily laborers, working in fields and on lands that they will never own. When they go to the field their children are spend all day in the crèche center, which is currently made out of straw, bamboo and a tarp. Every year this center is damaged by monsoon rains and wind.  And every year the villagers repair or rebuild it.  But, during the rainy season, no one can use the center, as the floor turns to mud and a steady stream of rain courses over the area.

Viswa Yuva Kendra, and the villagers wanted to do better and they are willing to work for it.  Seeing what the village was currently using, and their commitment to it, we felt compelled to lend our support.  They proposed to HHI that with a modest amount of funding, the villages parents could buy the basic building materials needed to build a simple, but sturdy building that could offer a safe and protected space for their children.

The construction will start in December 2013 and be finished by the end of January 2014. The villagers will contribute labor to the construction of the center.

Daily activities at the crèche are led by two teachers.  Every day includes prayers, keeping the children clean, teaching basic numbers and counting, singing action songs, playing games, storytelling, and dancing. In total there are 18 children 1 – 3 years old and 10 children 3 – 5 years old, benefiting from this small center every day.

Investing in children in their earliest years is the best investment communities can make, and given that this tiny community has already shown such love and commitment to their children, we are honored to help support their efforts in building a real building!  We cannot wait to see it!


Outstanding Outcomes in Uganda

USAID recently evaluated HHI’s impact in Uganda, and we can hardly believe the incredible results they found!

In 2010, HHI began collaborating in the post-conflict zone of northern Uganda as the “innovation” in a USAID Child Survival project, led by Medical Teams Int’l.  It was our first chance to really try to integrate HHI’s early childhood caregiver trainings into a large scale health initiative, and it was our first project in Africa.  Now after years of listening, learning, training and supporting, we have some incredible results to share with you.

More than 15,000 mothers, fathers and health workers participated in HHI’s early childhood development trainings. They care for 30,000+ young children.

Outcome highlights include:

  • Cognitive stimulation from parent to child increased from 30% – 76% (doubled!)
  • Linguistic stimulation increased from 23% – 64% (tripled!)
  • Showing affection during feeding (responsive feeding is important to preventing malnutrition) increased from 54% – 91%

And these finding showed sustainability 1½ years AFTER we were there!


Other highlights were:

  • Stopped corporal punishment
  • Stopped domestic violence (they worked out problems by talking instead, pointing to what they learned in HHI’s lesson on social-emotional development and non-verbal communication (baby cues)
    • We hadn’t thought to measure these outcomes, but these were repeatedly reported during evaluations.
  • Fathers increased their role in care-giving and were enjoying time with their children
  • Noticeable improvements in hygiene, nutrition, improved breastfeeding practices, and providing more frequent and responsive feeding
  • Increased love and affection between children and their parents
  • And so much more…..

Just imagine these results in the context – a population of people that have suffered from decades of conflict, displacement camps, poverty, violence, hunger, HIV+ and seemingly endless obstacles. Theyhave now seen their own power as parents/caregivers, the impact of their love, and the improved lives they are creating for their children, a generation raised on love.  Incredible!

Donate today and ensure that HHI can reach more vulnerable families in need.

Nurturing Caregiving – Preventing Disease, Addiction, Violence and More

Nurturing relationships between children and their parent(s) or caregivers can be likened to an inoculation against the negative, lifelong problems that can develop from a childhood filled with adverse experiences.  When families are grappling with disease, violence, mental health issues, poverty, and other serious adverse experiences, children are exposed to toxic levels of stress that can have lifelong negative implications for that child and their greater community. This recent Opinion piece in the New York Times does a great job explaining this.  And it describes what HHI has been doing for almost eight years, for more than 140,000 vulnerable children around the world.

HHI has a very similar approach and results, though our program is more simplistic.  I believe that the “aha moment” that they refer to for a mother they describe, that is love awakening, and once that wakes up, nothing stays the same.


Protecting Children From Toxic Stress

Imagine if scientists discovered a toxic substance that increased the risks of cancer, diabetes and heart, lung and liver disease for millions of people. Something that also increased one’s risks for smoking, drug abuse, suicide, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease, domestic violence and depression — and simultaneously reduced the chances of succeeding in school, performing well on a job and maintaining stable relationships? It would be comparable to hazards like lead paint, tobacco smoke and mercury. We would do everything in our power to contain it and keep it far away from children. Right?

Children can be shielded from the most damaging effects of stress if their parents are taught how to respond appropriately.

Well, there is such a thing, but it’s not a substance. It’s been called “toxic stress.”
However, children can be shielded from the most damaging effects of stress if their parents are taught how to respond appropriately. “One thing that is highly protective is the quality of the relationship between the parent and the child,” explains Darcy Lowell, an associate clinical professor at Yale University School of Medicine and the founder of Child First, a program based in Shelton, Conn., that has marshaled strong evidence demonstrating the ability to intervene early, at relatively low cost, to reduce the harm caused by childhood stress in extremely high-need families. “Early relationships, where adults are responsive and attentive, are able to buffer the damaging effects on the brain and body,” she says.
By developing the ability to read a child’s cues, and by being emotionally available on a daily basis, parents can provide buffers that reduce the harmful physiological effects of high stress. “I feel like I enjoy my daughter more now,” Ana Patricia said. “And she enjoys me as a mother.”
Read the whole article here .

Watch HHI on TV!

Recently HHI has been featured on NBC and Rainmakers TV.  Its been fun to share about our work, and all the incredible outcomes for babies and families around the world.  In Uganda, our work was just evaluated by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and their independent findings included:

Quantitative data collected showed a remarkable increase in key early childhood development (ECD) indicators and impressive sustainability in areas that had not had the intervention for over 18 months, a few highlights include:

  • Cognitive stimulation from parent to child increased from 30% – 76% (doubled!)
  • Linguistic stimulation increased from 23% – 64% (tripled!)
  • Showing affection during feeding (responsive feeding is important to preventing malnutrition) increased from 54% – 91%

Qualitative findings on this project were equally impressive and reported the unexpected findings of cessation of corporal punishment and domestic violence, indicators we hadn’t known to measure, but that were repeatedly reported by parents and health workers.

WOW!  Consider the impact of these changes for more than 15,000 parents and over 30,000 children all recovering from decades of trauma, violence, hunger, etc…

Just a few reasons the TV may have become so interested in HHI’s work.

See HHI’s founder/director, Laura Peterson, interviewed by Rainmaker’s TV at the Clinton Global Initiative, and then again in Portland, OR on KGW’s Live @ 7 “Talk Box”, (NBC ‘s local affiliate).

-  Watch here.