You must unlearn what you have been programmed to believe since birth. That software no longer serves you if you want to live in a world where all things are possible.
— Jacqueline Purcell

There are many reasons to tackle mental health issues, trauma, violence, isolation, and disconnection in our society. How we treat others in our culture illustrates our level of consciousness, and more importantly, our capacity for empathy. If we don’t take action to raise our communities’ emotional and social intelligence, violence, separation, and suffering will likely only continue to permeate. When we make true connections with one another, we thrive. When we work together to creatively solve problems, we collectively build our resiliency. In doing so, we effect long-term positive change amidst our culture, societal conditions, perspectives, and belief systems.

The idea for True Connection was birthed in 2009 when two best friends from Detroit, MI developed a two-week healing arts program to educate orphaned youth in Sierra Leone, Africa. A team of volunteers introduced mind-body connection practices and provided skills to help them navigate life’s traumas and challenges.

True Connection 501c3 was founded in 2012. Leaders in education, mental health, and wellness came together to serve youth in after school and community programs throughout LA, Compton, and Watts. Volunteers served The Children’s Institute; YMCA; The Mar Vista Family Center; The Salvation Army; Grand View Elementary; and The Mauli Ola Foundation, and they collaborated with the Boxberry School in Oxford, Maine. They also trained teachers in Honduras with the help of the Humanity & Hope United Foundation to serve three schools in rural communities.

At the end of 2015, True Connection joined the SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) movement in education. Our new signature HiEQ curriculum is in schools and institutions across the country. True Connection continues to equip kids with the necessary tools to manage long-term traumatic stress symptoms and balance emotional regulation. HiEQ not only helps prevent mental health issues, violence, and isolation, but also empowers students to set clear goals, which instill a sense of purpose. The ultimate aim of HiEQ is to facilitate emotional and mental growth in youth, helping them gain greater awareness about their emotions, so that they can creatively and empathetically solve problems, within themselves, their families, communities, and the world.


Student at The All As One Orphanage during our Healing Arts Program in Freetown, Sierra Leone circa 2011.