Integral 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 Integral Health Services meets the needs of children and families in our programs, making an impact on the entire Guatemala City dump community.

Integral Health Services closely monitors student wellness because we know how much their physical and mental health affects their educational progress.

Integral Health Services includes the social work department, the health clinic, the psychology department, and Family Nurturing.

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.

Social Work

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


Social workers also visit the public schools where Safe Passage students in grades 7 through 12 spend the standard Guatemalan 4-hour school day. By following their academic and social progress at home, school, and in the community, social workers can create a comprehensive assessment of each student—and gain a comprehensive understanding of the best ways to support each student.

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


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 students 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 Safe Passage 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.

Family Nurturing Program

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.

My favorite thing about Family Nurturing is seeing the friendships that develop between the kids, the parents, and the whole family. They develop a support system, which is so important to have.” —Shannon, Escuelita volunteer