Karen Scheeringa-Parra is the founder and Executive Director of Hearts In Motion. She began this work shortly after she adopted her Korean daughter. A chance happening when she went to the airport to pick up the child forever expanded Karen’s horizons. She saw a group of children arriving in the United States for medical care and talked with the representative of the group there to meet them. She discovered how primitive health care is in a lot of countries, how many children go untreated for conditions that can easily be relieved or cured. After some time working with other organizations, she began her own program, Hearts In Motion, in 1990.
Karen is the biological mother of one, and the adoptive mother of eleven other children… a veritable rainbow of ethnic variety. Her children hail from Korea, Guatemala, Mexico, and the Philippine Islands, as well as the United States.
Jan has been with Hearts in Motion since it’s inception. Traveling and participating in the mission of H.IM (three mission trips every year), gives her an outlet for giving back and sharing the many blessings she and her family have been given. “Many years ago I realized that I had been given a gift, to truly enjoy my work and feel like I could make a difference in the lives of others, and Hearts In Motion is the perfect situation to do that.”
Born and raised in Freeport, MI, Jan presently resides in Panama City Beach, FL. She attended Butterworth School of Nursing in Grand Rapids MI, obtained a BSN from University of Michigan, and a MSN from the University of Texas. She presently works as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner at the Bay Medical Center in Panama City area. As a mother of four internationally adopted children, there is a special place in her heart for the children and families of the developing world.
Don Gray has been working with Hearts In Motion for nearly a dozen years. He is a great worker on construction projects and supports almost any need we have, including providing us with office space for several years. He spends vacation time working in Guatemala and can be relied on to help load containers and other work that most people would rather avoid. Don has a master’s degree from Purdue University and taught school and coached in Crown Point, IN, for twelve years. He has been a State Farm agent for more than twenty years now. He and his wife, Carol (a teacher), have two children. Their daughter is a teacher and their son is a doctor.
Marcia McGinnis is a retired Paralegal/Legal Assistant affiliated with law firms from Texas and Colorado. She has been traveling with HIM since 2001. During her travels, she has been responsible for gathering and submitting necessary paperwork for team members traveling from the Houston area, assisted/coordinated in fundraising efforts for HIM, coordinated special collections of donations for team members to take down with them to Guatemala.
During her trips, she saw a great need to bring eyeglasses to those we serve and was determined to find a way to make this happen. Since 2006 she has become our Eyeglassses Team Leader and has collected monetary donations for eyeglasses, measured prescriptions in eyeglasses and organized donated eyeglasses. She has also led vision clinics in Guatemala where she measures their vision and dispenses eyeglasses. At the clinics, an average of 50 to 75 eyeglasses are given away totaling 350 to 450 a week during a trip. Since 2006, the eyeglass team has given away an estimated 7200 pairs of reading glasses, prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses.
Marcia has been a board member since 2005 and Board Secretary since approximately 2008.
Kathy Janisch is a Registered Nurse at Moreland OB-GYN in Waukesha, Wisconsin and the Director of the Hearts In Motion Wisconsin office. She came on her first trip with HIM in 2004 to do Cervical Cancer screenings. Within the next few years we began performing Gynecological surgeries at the Zacapa Hospital. She was so moved by the people of Guatemala and the work of HIM that she wanted to help continue the vision of HIM in the states. She started doing collections of clothing, school supplies and medical equipment to send to Guatemala. For several years, groups of volunteers have been working at the Brewer’s concession stands at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to help finance the transportation of our collections to Guatemala.
In 2008, the HIM Wisconsin office helped bring the first group of Physical Therapy students from Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. This was the beginning of a wonderful relationship with HIM and Carroll University which now sends Nursing, Physical Therapy, and Education students and are planning to develop a Physician Assistant Program in Guatemala. The Wisconsin office continues to seek out and collect donations of medical equipment from hospitals and doctor’s offices.
The HIM Wisconsin office is heavily involved with organizing firefighter training throughout our state. Firefighters from Ecuador and Guatemala have been able to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.
Barbara is a Registered Nurse currently working in Neonatal Intensive Care. She has been involved with Hearts In Motion since July 2005. Since then she has participated in many trips with HIM, now going twice a year to assist with general medical clinics, eyeglass clinics and with whatever need or adventure arises. Many trips are enjoyed with extended family members. She feels very fortunate that she can help the people of Guatemala through her volunteer work with HIM. Barbara likes St. Luke’s quote: “Where much has been given, more is expected” and feels that HIM is a wonderful way to be involved. Originally from California, Barbara has three children and lives in Colorado with her husband.
Jo Ann started Dunbar Systems, Inc. with George Dunbar in 1982 which has become a leader in the Commercial Bakery Equipment Industry. She later served on DSI advisory board and to date is currently serving as Administrator.
In 2009, she started Art Cube Studios in Plainfield, IL with her daughter, Amanda, which offers workshops as well as core classes in most fields of art for all ages including independent studies and one on one learning with people with special needs.
Jo Ann has been taking mission teams to Central America for over 14 years, 12 of them with Hearts in Motion. After falling in love with HIM’s staff and vision she joined the board in 2013. She has served as a leader with the mission team at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL and is instrumental in the continued relationship it has with HIM.
Most importantly she is a mother of a blended family of 5 and a grandmother of 12.