Get Involved with Heartizens

January 29, 2024
Jen talking to an interested student at the Heartizens table.

Jen talking to an interested student at the Heartizens table.

Stephen Hopps

Are you interested in working with children? Do you love art and creative play? Let me tell you how SSU students could combine those two interests and make a lasting impact on young people - by building self-esteem, instilling confidence and compassion, and connecting them with their creative self-expression. 

I had the opportunity to stop by the Heartizens table outside of the SSU Student Center; I was fascinated, if not absolutely intrigued, by the name of the organization -- Hearitzens. So I asked Jendala Utsch, the program’s President, what this was all about. She spoke passionately about the mission of her art-based, creative learning program: “Hearitzens is about empowering kids creativity, their resiliency and honing in on their social skills, all infused with the arts and all project based following California's Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) standards.”

Jen and I at the Heartizens table.

She explained that the name of the organization, “Heartizens,” means citizens of the heart with Spanish words such as “corazon,” which means heart. She also mentioned the word citizens is what gives the name Heartizens its -”izens” at the end. 

Not only is Jen’s program local to Sonoma County making it an easy opportunity for students, but she seems like an amazing person to work with and is excited to offer SSU students opportunities to get involved in the community. Heartizens is currently looking for volunteers and interns that can help with several areas of this new and growing nonprofit! Opportunities range from social media, blogging, event planning, fundraising, grant writing and general nonprofit administration.

One major Heartizens project is working with the continuation school at Healdsburg High School where the city has given them a grant to adopt a stop. This form of public art is where the high school continuation students can leave their mark on their community by designing an extravagant looking stop sign. It empowers their education and how they think about the place they live in. 

Jen and Heartizens would love to collaborate with SSU students to empower kids by giving them a sense of purpose and belonging, as well as giving them a platform to explore their creative potential as they tap into their imagination and hone their own innate curiosity. Whether it be art, music, dance or other types of exploration, Heartizens will help young children learn to process their own emotions and become better communicators. 

Heartizens is an SSUEngage approved community partner, meaning that students can have internships and service-learning opportunities with this organization. If you would like to learn more about Heartizens and what they have to offer, check out their website or email them about your interest in their internships for Spring 2024.