Karen Scheeringa-Parra - Founder
Karen Scheeringa-Parra is a woman of faith, of passion for the disadvantaged, and a woman of seemingly unlimited energy. She is the mother of twelve children, eleven of whom were adopted from the Philippines, Korea, Mexico, Guatemala, and the United States. In 1982, while picking up her adopted daughter from Korea, Karen met the director of an organization which specialized in providing needed surgeries for children from all over the world, and immediately became involved as a volunteer in that work. She did so as part of her personal desire to follow Jesus Christ in loving service to others.
I was born in Southern California, and presently live in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I have traveled with Hearts in Motion since 2001. I came with the open heart of a volunteer, ready to do what was asked. I eventually started adding multiple trips a year and created the eyeglasses vision team in 2006. I have lost count on the number of trips I have made with Hearts in Motion but would estimate over 30. I have been on the Board of Directors since 2005.
Why has the vision program become my passion project? I was a premature baby, and developed crossed eyes when I was about 18 months old. After surgery at about 3 years of age, I said, “Mommy, you don’t have two heads!” I have worn eyeglasses ever since, improving my vision. And I have learned the difference good health and vision care can make.
At the Hearts in Motion clinics. I have met adults who never learned to read solely because of poor vision and their family didn’t have the resources for an optometrist or eyeglasses. We have seen truck drivers who needed eyeglasses to see on the roadways! Children often need just a little help to see their teacher at the blackboard or maybe some challenges in reading their schoolbooks.
It is recognized in the U.S. that a large part of the prison population are persons who also didn’t have eyeglasses when they were needed. Perhaps they developed the self-preservation tactic of acting out and getting in trouble for poor behavior rather than having to demonstrate they couldn’t see, fearing they would be seen as stupid, but they just couldn’t see to read their textbooks or what the teacher was doing on the blackboard.
Training to give our simple vision tests came from Lions Club and Visual Compassion, nonprofit organizations that empower interested mission team volunteers. Anyone can learn our methods. Although we aren’t medical professionals, we are improving the daily lives of those men, women and children we see at the Hearts in Motion clinics.
Kathy Janisch is a Registered Nurse now retired from 21 years at Moreland OB-GYN and 14 years in L&D at Waukesha Memorial in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She is the Director of the Hearts In Motion Wisconsin office in addition to being on the Board of Directors of HIM.
I am a recently retired pharmacist. For 37 years I ran three clinic pharmacies for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare in Racine, Wisconsin. I have been married to my wife, Molly, for 40 years and have three daughters. I am a new grandpa and love every minute of it. I went on my first trip to Guatemala with Hearts In Motion for my 50th birthday. I have since been on nine more trips to Guatemala with Hearts In Motion and 1 trip to Kenya with another organization. While on one of my trips to Guatemala I road in a pickup truck with Martin and lived to tell about it. For fun I like to play golf and play with my grandson.
Joff Morales currently works for a public utility company based in San Diego, California as a regulatory analyst. Joff has 10 years’ experience working in public accounting and internal auditing for various Fortune 500 companies. Joff was born in Swaziland and lived in Zimbabwe till he was 16 where he moved to the United States. Joff’s first involvement with Hearts in Motion was in 2015 on an OBGYN trip with his then girlfriend and now wife Laura who has been involved with Hearts in Motion for many years. Joff hope’s to build on Hearts in Motion reach in San Diego.
Jamie started volunteering with Hearts In Motion as a third year Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) student in 2011 with Arcadia University. Since then, she has been traveling to Guatemala annually with Hearts In Motion. In that time, she has led several third year DPT students at Arcadia University alongside practicing physical therapists in providing pro-bono services to the people of Guatemala. During these trips, Jamie has planned and assisted in the coordination of not only providing direct patient care but also teaching opportunities to local physical therapists in the Zacapa region. As a member of the board, Jamie hope to continue to assist in the growth of the physical therapy services, including education, in Guatemala. Jamie currently works full-time at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and lives in Delaware. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, especially her son Carter, who she hopes to bring to Guatemala very soon.
Alyssa Jerdon Brett
Alyssa started volunteering with Hearts in Motion as a translator in 2007 when she was a sophomore at Arcadia University. Since then, she has been traveling to Guatemala yearly with Hearts in Motion and has been on close to 20 trips. In that time, she has had the opportunity to translate for every program run by Hearts in Motion. In 2014, she co-founded along with Hearts in Motion the Music in Motion program which is dedicated in loving memory of her brother, Ian. Over the years, Alyssa has not only volunteered but has organized many fundraisers to benefit Hearts in Motion. She also has brought groups of volunteers on trips to work on construction projects and with the Music in Motion program.
Alyssa currently resides with her husband, daughter and two dogs outside of Philadelphia. She is a former high school Spanish teacher and now works from home as a freelance translator. She is also director of the Music in Motion program.
2210 US 41
Schererville, Indiana 46375
Barrio La Barca
Guatemala, Central America