Mission and Goals
What is heart to heart's mission?
Heart to Heart exists to support a new generation in becoming leaders who recognize the importance of building an inclusive society, and who have the skills and motivation needed to make it a reality.
What is the program's "End Goal"?
Heart to Heart does not have a singular "end goal" with respect to a political solution to the conflict. Rather, we believe that the best thing we can do is equip our youth with the critical thinking and problem-solving skills necessary to navigate an ever-changing context and the motivation and passion to continue working for change together. With that in mind, we educate on the basis of, and toward the values of mutual recognition, understanding and respect, compassion, empathy, and the appreciation of difference and diversity. We believe that the tools of active listening and non-violent communication are essential for navigating difficult conversations and that it is only by having those conversations that authentic and mutually acceptable solutions to conflict will emerge.
What about normalization?
We believe that all young people, regardless of their background, deserve the opportunity to gain valuable skills and become empowered leaders. We acknowledge that the situation where our participants come from is neither normal nor acceptable - we wouldn't exist if it were. Because of this reality, our work to educate and provide our participants with the skills and tools needed to build a just, fair, and inclusive society is necessary.
Founders and Partners
Who founded Heart to Heart?
Heart to Heart was founded in 2011 as a partnership between Givat Haviva and Hashomer Hatzair - Camp Shomria Canada. Both of these organizations continue to provide a platform and partnership to support the current work of Heart to Heart which is led independently by Heart to Heart's staff and volunteer leadership.
Who makes Heart to Heart happen on a daily basis?
Day to day operations are managed by our dedicated staff team comprised of Palestinian and Jewish staff members located in both Israel and Canada. Heart to Heart is made possible by a dedicated team of volunteers, and committed program alumni and parents.
Our goal is to have parity in representation within our team because we believe it is essential to model the type of joint leadership we are working to create, and that the best decisions are made when diverse perspectives have a seat at the table. We recognize that we aren't there yet and are actively working toward this goal.
How is the program funded?
Heart to Heart is funded primarily by individual donors through personal gifts or family foundations. As of 2018, we have partnered with the New Israel Fund of Canada to support our ever-expanding alumni programming. Our two parent organizations also support local programming, primarily through in-kind support. Heart to Heart does not receive any direct funding from the governments of Israel or Canada. We are able to accept gifts and provide charitable receipts to American supporters through the Givat Haviva Educational Foundation in New York.
Participants are responsible for covering their flights to Canada. All other costs are supported through our fundraising efforts. We strive to make our programs as accessible as possible by reducing financial barriers through scholarships when needed.
How is Heart to Heart Governed?
Most governance responsibilities are executed by the Heart to Heart Fundraising and Community Building Committee (HHC) in Canada. The HHC is responsible for all matters of concern relating to raising funds for Heart to Heart both by holding special events, soliciting gifts, and making people aware of Heart to Heart’s mission and objectives. The committee also has a “value-added” function by providing strategic vision, leading and strengthening Heart to Heart through the establishment and monitoring of programs, goals, principles, policies and priorities. Please contact us if you have further questions or are interested in getting involved.
The alumni community, both its vision and programming, is primarily governed and led by the Alumni Leaders Forum, which is exactly what it sounds like. Dedicated alumni from all cohorts meet regularly with our year-round staff to discuss the future direction for the community, programming priorities, and community engagement and activism.
Heart to Heart falls under the fiduciary responsibility of Givat Haviva and Hashomer Hatzair - Camp Shomria Canada's boards of directors.
Is Heart to Heart a registered charity?
Although Heart to Heart is not its own registered charity, it operates under the umbrella of our Canadian parent organization, Hashomer Hatzair - Camp Shomria Canada. All eligible donations made to Heart to Heart in Canada receive a charitable tax receipt issued by our Canadian parent organization. For more information on making a donation in Israel or the USA, please contact us for instructions.
Who can become a Heart to Heart Participant?
Heart to Heart summer camp participants are youth who have just completed Grade 9 and who have participated in Givat Haviva's Children Teaching Children (CTC) program. Eligible youth will be invited to apply by their CTC facilitators and teachers. Applicants will submit a written essay and participate in an interview held in their first language and in English. Selected candidates will be youth who demonstrate curiosity and openness, interest in the themes of the program, leadership qualities, and the capacity to navigate an experience abroad in English. Participants are expected to commit to ongoing alumni programming following summer camp throughout the next school year.
Where do Heart to Heart Participants come from?
All Heart to Heart participants are citizens of the State of Israel living in Wadi Ara, also known as the Northern Triangle around Kfar Qara, Umm al-Fahm, and Baqa al-Gharbiyee. This area is characterized by the geographic proximity of many Arab and Jewish communities, towns, kibbutzim, and moshavim. Despite the geographic proximity of these communities, there is a high degree of social segregation as a result of systemic separation, language barriers, fear, mistrust, and a general culture of habitual non-interaction. Heart to Heart aims to transform this reality and takes advantage of the opportunities presented by working with youth who live five to twenty-five minutes away from one another.
Why doesn't Heart to Heart work with youth from the west bank and gaza?
Although our participants are co-citizens, they do not experience that citizenship uniformly or equally. Heart to Heart is dedicated to creating an equitable, truly democratic and inclusive society for all citizens of Israel.
We also believe that working toward Palestinian self-determination on a national scale, and ending the occupation is a central part of achieving our larger goal of all people in the region living with peace, security, dignity and liberation. Communities living under occupation and blockade have different needs that require different solutions. We admire and commend many of the organizations that are working towards these various solutions and with these communities, and consider Heart to Heart to be one initiative in this network. We are an active participant in ALLMEP (Alliance for Middle East Peace) forums and look for opportunities to connect and collaborate with other organizations who work on both sides of the Green Line and in Gaza.
Involving participants from the West Bank and Gaza is beyond the scope of the Heart to Heart program, which works within time, resource and political limitations. In addition, by involving youth who are geographically close to one another and who share citizenship, we believe that there is a greater opportunity for a small program, such as Heart to Heart, to make a lasting impact.
How are parents and families involved?
Heart to Heart engages the whole family in formal and informal ways. Parents develop a sense of community through pre-camp parent meetings, daily communication while their teens are abroad, and ongoing parent and family gatherings after the youth return home. Siblings and cousins often attend family programming as well. Camp is such a powerful experience that participants can't help but talk about it when they get home so families often report that dinner table conversation becomes focused on Heart to Heart and the values of the program long after camp ends.
Why is summer camp held in canada?
Givat Haviva runs many programs based in their campus in Israel as well as in participating schools and communities. In these spaces they challenge participants to question their identities and worldviews, but this work is made more difficult by the fact that participants return home to their families and friends each day, and are immediately surrounded by the ‘status quo’ once again. Holding the program far away from their everyday lives provides participants with the space they need to develop their relationships and opinions independent of their home environment, and to fully process the programming in which they are participating.
For most of our participants, Heart to Heart is the first time they have traveled so far from home, and certainly the first trip they have taken without their families. Experiencing this new adventure together is an important step in solidifying the sense of community and trust within the group, and helps participants to form a unique group identity.
Furthermore, Canada itself has a lot to offer in the way of content. Programming includes a visit to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, as well as discussions about bilingualism and the history and present day realities of Canada’s First Nations communities. These topics all offer valuable opportunities for participants to explore issues of democracy, multiculturalism, diaspora communities, discrimination and inclusion from new perspectives, and make connections to these aspects of their own society.
what happens when participants go home after camp?
Each cohort's transition home and reintegration into their communities is unique and to some degree influenced by the current political climate. Nevertheless, we have found that each of our cohorts goes home with a high degree of motivation and enthusiasm to continue their journey, often talking non-stop about their time at camp to the joy and irritation of their families and friends, and organizing social gatherings in their homes and at local cafes, movie theatres, malls, etc. In addition to an intensive academic year of cohort-based alumni programming, following their summer at camp, participants also become part of a larger community of Heart to Heart alumni. Learn more about alumni programming in the alumni section of our What We Do page.
in what language does the program operate?
Heart to Heart's summer camp program is officially run in English and that is the dominant language at camp. Although they are encouraged to speak in English, participants are always invited to express themselves in the language of their choice and are encouraged to act as translators for one another. Our summer staff includes English, Arabic, and Hebrew speakers in order to support participants through out the summer.
Have a question you don't see listed here? Contact us and ask!