- The Heart Touch Project is approved by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) as a continuing education Approved Provider.
We are also approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing and by the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) as a continuing education provider.
Our next Children’s Program Training is scheduled for March 6-9, 2015. Massage for Pediatric Patients prepares volunteers to provide massage and caring touch to babies and children at our partner hospitals and hospice.
The training examines the unique challenges and opportunities that come with working with children in a hospital or hospice setting. Because children are at various levels of development, participants will explore what this means for the massage therapist.
In addition, the training provides an introduction to the essentials for working in a medical environment and to the types of equipment that volunteers may encounter. Additional considerations include issues of pain, volunteer boundaries, and dealing with terminal illnesses.
On Sunday morning participants will meet at a local children’s hospital to tour their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Rehabilitation Services Department.
For more information or to register, please contact the Heart Touch Office at 310-391-2558 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 2013. I have successfully, willingly, and openly completed a 3-day training on the method of Heart Touch. I have learned to connect to individuals, specifically gravely ill patients, on a deeper and a more existential level. I started my first position as a professional social worker for a hospice agency about a year and a half ago. I am thrilled, excited, anxious, and “green”, as many of my colleagues have lovingly labeled me. I am so proud of myself and also so curious to see where this road may lead me. I feel that my life’s purpose has been answered in my official acceptance of the title of, “Hospice Medical Social Worker”, but yet… I’m still in awe. Awe of the gravity and universal importance that the role, the title, the calling brings. It’s easy, oh so very easy, to be carried away in logistics and routine. However, it’s times like today that I remember the importance, the honor, and the blessing it is to do this holy work.
Rewind: I am currently a 25-year-old Korean American female living in Los Angeles. I have driven through K-12 education on the very common Asian-American notion that one must ace school and gather as many credits to fill one’s resume to be successful in life. In a sense, it is a sad but somewhat reliable truth that many immigrant Asians have passed onto their children in the quest of the American dream. However, I fell “short” of that quest when I decided to throw away the “logical” and “safe” options of pursing the paths of highly “successful” careers such as physician, lawyer, engineer, pharmacist,“anything-rooted-in-math/science-jobs” and chose psychology for my BA in undergrad. Initially, this was a slap on the cheek for my parents, but I just felt that understanding the human mind was a calling. It was more than attending the lectures, learning about Freudian slips and classical conditioning based on rewards and punishments. It was, instead, learning about how society transformed and molded people in every day life, maybe, even without the person’s knowing.
As my 4th year in undergrad drew closer, I figured, “hey Al. Let’s just get this over with. Let’s figure out where to get our next degree and dive into work so that school will never again loom over our consciousness.” In that process, I was exposed to the field of social work. Unlike common misinterpretation, social work turned out to be more than the Department of Child and Family Services that “snatches” kids away from abusive parents (it kills me now to even admit that, that was my preconceived notion of social work) or magical government workers that gathered money for the poor (still a myth I try to debunk to patients, families, and colleagues alike). Instead, I found a framework to look at society that aligned exactly with my personal beliefs.
As I navigated through volunteer work, academia, and personal experiences, I was drawn to the hospice philosophy by the literal and general adherence to the very essence of my understanding of others: the biopsychosocial/spiritual perspective. Eventually, as stated in the beginning, I landed myself an amazing gift and honor of being a hospice social worker. As a hospice social worker, I accompanied patients, families, and even colleagues through thoughts, conversations, and experiences of life. Yes, hospice is a philosophy that focuses on pain/symptom management for individuals at the end of life: however, I found that the key word in that definition is not “end” but LIFE”
Very soon after I was welcomed into the hospice team, I was exposed to the idea of Heart Touch for patients receive hospice serivces: compassionate touch. Light massage and gentle touch, were the most common catch phrases I heard when people talked about HeartTouch. Light massage: I love getting pampered, but don’t get me wrong, not everyone likes that and I don’t feel “called” to pamper my patients in that manner. Gentle touch: I have been doing that to my friends and families without labeling it for as long as I can remember, so why do I need to be trained for that? Why should I dedicate an entire weekend to learning about that?!
3 days with the Heart Touch Project. No: 2.5 days. That’s all I ask you to give. Just try it. If you are working in the medical field, if you are working in a counseling/therapeutic position, if you are working with children or older adults, if you are working with animals, if you are in a romantic relationship, if you are in contact with your parents or ailing family members, if you are interacting hands-on with people, if you are a teacher… the list goes on! If you are interacting with humans, this training is for you.
Furthermore, if you are forgetting about who you are, if you are looking for a deeper meaning to life, if you want to give your time to a greater cause but don’t know how, if you want some time for reflection and meaning-making, and so much more…. This training is also for you.
Last but definitely not least, if you are a person that in any way is interested in patient care or hospice care, professionally or on a volunteer basis, please please please. I urge you, please. Sacrifice a weekend to this training. You will not be let down.
We will be more MINDFUL by the practice and lens of Heart Touch. Please be open to accept this invitation and CHALLENGE yourself to learn, experience, and provide this one avenue of love to others. Thank you!
2014 saw high numbers of participants in our Heart Touch Method, Pediatric Massage, and Advanced Heart Touch Method trainings. All of the happy faces see here completed the coursework and many are currently volunteering in hospitals and hospices throughout the area.
Each year The Heart Touch Project hosts one or more International Outreach Projects where Heart Touch volunteers bring compassionate and healing touch to children and adults in hospitals, hospices, and orphanages. Marisa Abrahams jumped at the opportunity and immediately began fundraising to cover the costs of this life changing trip. Marisa is quickly closing in on her goal. With the trip just five short weeks away, we caught up with Marisa to learn a little about her fundraising journey.
What attracted you to Heart Touch’s international program?
I was extremely touched when I watch a brief video on Heart Touch volunteers providing compassionate touch therapy to orphans in Cambodia. I immediately felt a connection and desire to be part of this amazing opportunity. I believe Heart Touch is a beautiful example of how language barriers between different cultures do not matter because love and compassion have no language.
What was the biggest challenge you faced in fundraising?
The biggest challenge I faced was stepping out of my comfort zone and asking for donations. I have never raised money before and I typically have a difficult time asking for help so this was a new experience. With each letter I wrote to friends and strangers, I was reminded how passionate I was about fulfilling my desire to volunteer in Cambodia, which essentially made asking for donations easier along the way because I was driven to reach my goal.
What was something unexpected that’s happened during your fundraising journey?
When I first began promoting my donation site I reached out to members of the Cambodian community in Long Beach, CA. I received many messages from Khmer Americans who were thanking me for going to the country where their parents and relatives were born. I did not expect to receive so many heartfelt messages thanking me for helping their culture. I ended up meeting someone very special who is Cambodian. His parents are survivors of the Cambodian genocide. I have been fortunate enough to sit down face to face with his parents and hear first hand about their experience of leaving the country they love and never turning back. I am even more passionate about going to help in Cambodia now that I have this special connection.
How does it feel to be so close to your goal?
I feel very excited to have raised all of the funds I have. I am humbled by the generosity and love behind each person who chose to give a piece of their hearts to support my journey.
What are you most grateful for as you get closer to heading to Cambodia?
I am most grateful for the love and support I have received from those who have not only donated but put in the effort to inform others about my cause. I am also grateful for The Heart Touch Project allowing me to fulfill my dream of traveling internationally to help provide compassion, love, and healing to those who have an illness, disease, or simply need a little TLC.