En Route


Dear Readers,

The air is crisp, Fall is ending, and the holidays are approaching. It is a time of gathering with friends and family and reflecting upon the past year. Here at Greenheart International, we are celebrating the last days of our 30th anniversary year. 2015 has been a year of stellar accomplishments and growth. Our programs have expanded, bringing the number of alumni to over 100,000 and our participants have logged 43,961 volunteer hours, which is an increase of 188% from the previous year. Our fundraising allowed for more Camp Greenheart scholarships, increasing the number of campers by 44%. We have also made sustainable partnerships with KIND, Whole Foods, and the Pachamama Alliance. 

In 2016, we look forward to infusing our mission throughout the organization and all of our programs, establishing strong, global leaders throughout the world.  

Be thankful for the past year as you cozy up with a warm blanket and read the new issue of En Route.


Scarves, hats, gloves, sweaters, bags—these are the items created by Greenheart Shop’s featured artistan of the month, Krochet Kids. Krochet Kids is a non-profit lifestyle brand empowering more than 185 women to rise above poverty in countries such as Uganda and Peru. Every item created is hand-signed by the person who made it.

Celebrate Krochet Kids by buying your winter knitwear items from the Greenheart Shop, which carries only eco-friendly, locally produced, or fair trade products. Visit the Greenheart Shop online or in Old Town at 1714 N. Wells St., Chicago.


The following is an interview with Eric Hominick, Senior Marketing Specialist at Whole Foods Market, Midwest Support Office.

Greenheart International and Whole Foods Market have established a community partnership through our shared interest in promoting healthy lifestyles and environmental education to Chicago youth.

Since 2014, Whole Foods Market has supported Greenheart by donating food to our annual fundraiser and the Camp Greenheart healthy cookout. Greenheart was selected as the October 2015 recipient for Whole Foods Market’s “5% Community Outreach Day” in three Chicago stores.

This incredible crowd-funding initiative raised $14,195 for Camp Greenheart which will provide scholarships for 28 campers in 2016!

We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Whole Foods Market and look forward to strengthening our partnership in the future.

What is Whole Foods Market’s mission?

Whole Foods Market is a uniquely mission-driven company built on a passion for natural and organic foods and where supporting our local and global communities are hugely important to us. At the heart of Whole Foods Market’s philosophy is our Core Values. They are what drive us to embrace our responsibility to create a world where all people, communities, and our planet can flourish…all the while, celebrating the sheer love and joy of food.

What other Chicago organizations does Whole Foods Market support?

Whole Foods Market is proud to support an array of organizations through our “5% Days,” where five percent of that day’s net sales are donated to area nonprofit or educational organizations. In the past, some of the organizations we’ve partnered include Lakeview Pantry, Newberry Library, and Bright Promises Foundation.

Another way we give back to the communities we serve is through our “One Dime at a Time” program. This program rewards customers who bring their own bags for shopping. At the register, they have the option to receive a 10-cent bag refund as cash back off their receipt or they can choose to donate it to that month’s selected charity organization. We’ve had the honor to work with great organizations such as Alliance for the Great Lakes, Greater Chicago Food Depository, and Literacy Chicago.

What drew Whole Foods Market to Greenheart International’s Camp Greenheart? What stands out about our organization?

Like Whole Foods Market, Camp Greenheart has a strong passion for teaching healthy eating habits and the importance of fresh, nutritious, whole foods grown with sustainable practices. This dedication to improving children’s nutrition and connecting them to where their food comes from aligns with our passion and Core Values.

How do you feel Camp Greenheart is impacting Chicago youth?

We are proud to support Camp Greenheart and all Greenheart has done for the youth in our Chicago-area communities. We must all work together to help provide the best future for our youth today and future generations, and Camp Greenheart is a valuable champion in the community.


The fall and winter seasons are a transition into cozy sweaters, hot mugs of tea and moments of introspection. It’s also a time of chapped lips and dry skin. Luckily, there is a DIY answer to keep your skin soft and nourished despite the changing weather.

This homemade whipped lotion only has a handful of ingredients and is simple to make. You’ll never go back to store-bought stuff again!

Here’s what you need for your DIY Lavender Hand and Body Cream:

• ½ Cup Shea Butter
• ¼ Cup Coconut Oil
• ¼ Cup Jojoba or almond oil
• 10–20 drops of lavender essential oil (Remember, essential oils are strong and go a long way. Don’t overdue it!)

Let’s get started!

1. Using a Pyrex or heat-resistant glass container, add your Shea butter and coconut oil.

2. Set your Pyrex inside a larger pot on your stove filled with just enough water to create a double-broiler to melt your butter without coming in contact with the water. As your water in the larger pot boils, your ingredients in your Pyrex bowl will begin to melt without burning.

3. Keep stirring the mixture. Once the Shea butter and coconut oil are completely liquefied, remove from the heat and mix in your Jojoba or almond oil and finally, the lavender essential oil.

4. Stick your Pyrex bowl in the fridge to cool for about 30-45 minutes. The trick to getting a whipped lotion texture is allowing the mixture to start solidifying without becoming too hard.

5. When you see the mixture is starting to harden, it’s time to whip it. Using a blender on low speed, whip your mixture in the Pyrex until you have the consistency of a thick cream-cheese frosting.

Voila! Your lotion is complete. Spoon into a wide-mouth jar and you are on your way to nourished skin through the winter months.


Earlier this year, Greenheart’s CEO, Laura Rose, had a “remarkably synchronistic encounter” with global activist,Lynne Twist, whose work she had been following since seeing her speak at a conference in 2011. As a result, Greenheart invited Lynne Twist to share the wisdom of her foundation, Pachamama Alliance with Greenheart staff members.

The Pachamama Alliance—empowered by their partnership with indigenous people—is dedicated to bringing forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet by weaving together indigenous and modern worldviews to inspire and galvanize the human family to generate a critical mass of conscious commitment to a thriving, just and sustainable way of life on Earth.

A partnership with Pachamama is a step to Greenheart’s deeper commitment to the empowerment of others and to the sustainability of our planet.

Jenelle, in the middle, with two other Greenheart Club participants


We are excited to announce that the Greenheart Club is expanding to better address the needs of our 100,000 alumni around the world. In celebration of leveraging the power of our outstanding alumni, we want to spotlight one of our amazing former participants. Jenelle Solomon is a Summer Work & Travel Alumna from Jamaica who has truly demonstrated global leadership through her engagement in both her host and home community.

Jenelle is a five-time Work & Travel participant from Jamaica and was the recipient of the prestigiousAmbassador Scholarship during the summer of 2015. This summer, Jenelle was placed at Indiana Beach Amusement Park and harnessed her experience to serve as a leader in her community. Jenelle led a group of 15 international exchange students in a Greenheart Service Project to help build out a new nature park in neighboring Monticello, IN. Jenelle established a connection with the Monticello Parks & Recreation Department to organize an afternoon of removing weeds and debris to help establish Altherr Nature Park, a new community park designed to engage the local community in learning about Indiana’s native flora and fauna. Jenelle and the other participants were able to learn about the history and plans for the park and enjoyed learning about their personal impact on the development of this project.

Not only did Jenelle demonstrate leadership and commitment to service during her program, but she continues to illustrate traits of global leadership in her daily life in Jamaica. As a student at the University of Technology Jamaica, Jenelle serves as the Vice President of the African Cultural Renaissance Movement, where she leads the club of over 300 members in outreach activities and volunteer projects. She is also involved in volunteering with a local hospital and helps teach 4th grade at a nearby primary school.

Jenelle’s deep understanding and application of volunteerism as a form of global leadership is best demonstrated in her own words:

“Volunteerism can be thought of as an expression of the degree of moral and civic unity of a society. It is a way to give back to the community, for some it is their everyday life and for others it is just something that they want to do. Some people naturally have a strong desire to help others and this is their motivation towards volunteerism, others use it is a window of opportunity to help another.”


Nationwide: Did you know that November is Diabetes Awareness Month? The American Diabetes Association has a number of ways for volunteers to get involved, from fundraising to the Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes, there are ways for everyone to engage.

Chicago: Wednesday Dec. 16th 6:00-7:00PM Play BINGO with seniors at Carline Hedger Apartments in Edgewater! To sign up and for more information, please visit Chicago Cares.

Greenheart staff members volunteer at Common Pantry in Chicago

Ota with his host family on Christmas


Jillian Sims, High School Programs Compliance and Operations Manager, writes about Ota and his experiences on our CCI Greenheart blog. The following is an excerpt:

The moment that Ota felt he belonged in the U.S. was on the way to a local tennis meet in Cody, Wyoming on his team bus.

“We drove through the mountains. It was the most beautiful drive in my life. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, no wind, a new asphalt road – just a perfect day. We were talking and laughing. It was an awesome feeling. The nature around us made it a special moment and I truly felt like I was part of the US. I felt like I was part of this beauty….It might sound weird, but I could live just for that moment. It is impossible to describe how perfect of a moment it was.”

With a statement like that, it seems clear that Ota, high school exchange student from the Czech Republic, just might be having a great exchange year and is grateful to have been the recipient of this year’s Roger White Scholarship. Truly, too, it seems that there couldn’t be a more appreciative or deserving student for the scholarship. “I was very happy when I found out about it because to become an exchange student was my dream for eight years,” Ota says, recalling finding out about the award. “If I did not get the scholarship, I would not probably be here…. It gave me the opportunity to experience American culture, learn English, and make new friends.”

Ota and host dad and brother in Bighorn Mountains

At the Chicago office, where CCI Greenheart has its national headquarters, we were pleased to meet Ota while he was visiting with family friends during his spring break. With a smile beaming from ear to ear, he told us of his experience as an exchange student, what it is like adjusting to a new culture and family, and of his adventures so far. One thing in particular he spoke about was the experience of being placed with younger host parents and a six year old host brother. With an ever present smile as he spoke about them, he expressed how the family’s love of sarcasm helped him not only to feel comfortable, but forced him to be quicker with this English.

Asking his host mother Cadence about the challenge of being younger hosts, she agreed with Ota and said “I think, like Ota said, that it has actually made the experience a little easier. We feel comfortable talking to him about our daily lives and I feel that he is comfortable when it comes to opening up to us. We all have some really great conversations and he fits right in with us. He understands our sense of humor and can jump right in and joke around right alongside of us. We all get along very well, we have not really experienced any major challenges when it comes to our home life. Ota is very respectful of us and our rules… I feel like we were really lucky to be able to bring Ota into our family.”

Click here to read the rest of Ota’s story.

Ota and Braelyn playing with Christmas toys

December 1st is Giving Tuesday. Join the nonprofit movement following Thanksgiving by making a donation to Greenheart’s scholarship funds. With your help we can keep giving individuals like Ota experiences for which to be thankful! www.greenheart.info/donate #GreenheartGives