Integrated Health Services

Safe Passage founder, Hanley Denning, had an uncanny ability to connect with community members by listening to their stories and learning their needs.

When Hanley learned of a need, she felt called to meet it

Today, Safe Passage's Integrated Health Services Team meets the needs of children and families in our programs, making a direct impact on the entire Guatemala City dump community.

Integrated Health Services closely monitors student wellness because we know that having physically and mentally healthy children means that we have students who are ready to learn.

Integrated Health Services encompasses our on-site health clinic, and our social services, which include the social work team, the psychology department, and the Family Nurturing Program.

Students in Safe Passage programs eat nourishing meals and snacks and have access to medical care through the Safe Passage infirmary. When more advanced care is required, our social workers accompany students and families to local health centers for treatment.

E she exclaims excited to tell us how many letters she can spot across the room. SMALL CROP

Health and Wellness

Ada Reso Health Teacher Ada

Safe Passage health education focuses on prevention

Safe Passage students and families are particularly vulnerable to a variety of health complications that can hold back their educational progress—and their lives.

Our health education program aims to empower each student with the knowledge and skills needed to make independent, healthy decisions and to advocate for their own well-being.

We nourish, heal, and empower students and families through:

Safe Passage partners with Shared Beat to be on the front lines of community healthcare in the Guatemala City dump community, supporting and promoting the well-being of our families. Students see Shared Beat providers twice each year—once for their annual student physical and again for a follow-up appointment to monitor chronic health issues. Friends and family know they are welcome to attend Shared Beat clinics for consultations about their own healthcare needs.

The year-round, on-site Safe Passage Wellness Center and Infirmary provide primary care, preventative health screenings, and specialist or urgent care referrals whenever needed. Safe Passage dispenses vitamins and prescribed medications free of charge to students, as well as providing life-saving and life-enhancing treatments that are unimaginable luxuries for most families in the Guatemala City dump community.

Our youngest students learn healthy habits right in the classroom, with focuses on hand washing, nutrition, exercise and dental hygiene. Discussions around healthy relationships, social values, and positive self-image are also important pieces of Safe Passage’s Health Education.

Adolescents and young adults receive tailored education on a variety of topics including; gender stereotypes, pregnancy, substance abuse, peer influence and nonviolent conflict management. 

Safe Passage offers health-related workshops for adults as well, through regular parent meetings, adult education, and Creamos. We emphasize topics that students are learning in school and provide ideas for how parents can continue to reinforce healthy choices and routines and prioritize self-care at home.

Safe Passage’s Health Education encourages healthy behaviors, increases health literacy and promotes community wellness at all ages throughout the Guatemala City dump community. 

Students can focus on learning when they have full stomachs – we make sure that all students eat balanced meals and healthy snacks each day to help treat and prevent cases of malnourishment. For some students, the meals that they receive at Safe Passage are their only full meals of the day.

Social Services

social workers new
Meet a couple of our Community Social Workers

What We Provide

“My favorite thing about the Family Nurturing Program is that it's proactive--addressing issues at the heart of family and social dynamics--so, problems are solved before they increase." —Pablo Callejas, Director of Integrated Health Services

On-site social workers are stationed at each school, available to respond to parent and student questions or concerns. Integrated Health Services also extends our care into the student’s community. Through home visits, our trained social workers provide outreach to children and families in Safe Passage programs.

Social workers also visit the public schools where Safe Passage students in grades 10 through 12 spend the standard Guatemalan 4-hour school day. By following their academic and social progress at home, school, and in the community, we can create a comprehensive assessment of each student—and gain a better understanding of the best ways to support each student in our reinforcement program (Oportunidades). 

The parents of Safe Passage students are a critical link between our program and the community, and Safe Passage social workers also help parents navigate the new student enrollment process as well.

The psychology department, consisting of four psychologists, has two areas: clinical and educational. The clinical area focuses on emotional issues and the educational area focuses on any disabilities students might have.

Students have access to individual therapy sessions, as well as group health classes, where they are given age-appropriate advice on their changing bodies, dealing with peer pressure, and making positive health choices.

Safe Passage psychologists work in tandem with our social workers to provide a holistic approach, evaluation and care to students. Together they also assess potential students’ social, familial, and psychological needs during the enrollment process.

The Family Nurturing Program (Crianza con Cariño) is a program designed to teach families about healthy relationships, parenting skills, and nonviolent communication. The program meets on Saturdays for a period of 14 sessions, twice a year.

All members of the family are invited to the program and are split into groups by age, where they engage in learning activities. Families are evaluated three times throughout the program, and at the end, receive a diploma.

Join our Community

When you make a donation, join a Support Team, sponsor a child, organize an event or volunteer in Guatemala, you help a top rated school empower people and change lives in one of the poorest places on earth.


Join our Recurring Giving Program

Join our recurring giving program and help us maintain consistent support for our students.

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Your gift gives hope, education, and opportunity to our students and their families

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Join a Support Team in Guatemala

Spend one week of service learning at our program in Guatemala

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Contribute your time and experience in our U.S. office or program site in Guatemala

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Contact Us

We invite you to reach out to our U.S. office in New Gloucester, Maine and our program site in Guatemala City


49 Farm View Dr
Raymond Hall, Suite 302
New Gloucester, ME 04260

9am - 5pm (EST)

TEL (207) 846-1188
FAX (207) 926-8244


6a. Avenida 11-95 Zona 7
Colonia Landivar, Ciudad de Guatemala

8am - 5pm (GMT)

TEL (502) 2440-4388