Each year, HEART is blessed to have volunteer missions staff who come from the USA and volunteer for a minimum of three months in Kenya. Past mission staff include health professionals, police officers, construction consultants, pastors, pre-professional students, and overall, people who love serving!

Because HEART wishes to keep funds within Kenya, HEART does not pay its mission staff and requires a minimum monthly charge of $500 for lodging, meals, and transport.

If you are interested in joining as mission staff, please contact Betsy Gunther.

Mission Staff

Alice-Litton-150x150Alice Litton, RN/PHN Spring 2015

I am Alice Litton, by age a senior and an RN/PHN (Registered Nurse/Public Health Nurse). I retired from Public Health in Nevada County in 2008 and then went to nursing school at California State University at Chico. After graduating and passing my national nursing boards and recovering from a total knee replacement, I headed to Kenya to volunteer for HEART, six months of the year. I have been volunteering for two years now. I first participated with HEART in 2006 when my son, Jeff, and I joined a HEART team. I have worked with HEART since that time. I have also worked in Uganda through a church, which sponsors an orphanage there. My passion with HEART has been to work with the WEEP ladies and to advocate for their medical care. It has been challenging to say the least. I love these ladies and want nothing more than to help them get healthy and to succeed in their businesses and taking care of their children. They are beautiful women who have been dealt an unfair hand in life. They are very appreciative of any help and give nothing but love and blessings in return. It is a gift for me to be able to help them.


Ellen-Bowman-150x150Ellen Bowman Spring 2015

Ellen was raised in Pittsburgh, PA and developed an early passion for nutrition and health. In 2001, Ellen joined the newly created External Relations organization and recently retired as Director of Global External Relations for P&G’s OTC Health Care, Pharmaceuticals, Oral Care, Feminine Care and Pet Care businesses. While in this role, Ellen had the opportunity to lead several of P&G’s social responsibility programs, working with global non-profits, government agencies and in-country organizations throughout Africa. Within the local community, Ellen also led P&G’s strategy to inspire innovation leaders through integrated STEM education.

Since retiring from P&G, Ellen’s philanthropy leadership continues with priority on eliminating global poverty through education of vulnerable women and girls in the poorest and most marginalized communities. Her hands-on work includes health and nutrition education, keeping girls in school, and micro financing entrepreneurial women with HIV/AIDS.


Lisa-Van-Sistine-150x150Lisa Van Sistine Summer 2015

Since Lisa’s first trip with HEART in 2007, she has played the role of team member, team leader, intern, intern coordinator and staff member. As highly as she values all of these positions, her greatest honor has been to be a “best lady” (or maid-of-honor) in a Kenyan wedding. The WEEP ladies have been her greatest inspiration and she loves to talk about the miracle that is their lives. On her most recent trip she was part of opening the very first alumni center which will serve as place for the ladies to work together, sell their items and tell their stories.


image1Emily Verhagen Summer 2015

I can remember sitting in elementary school being so perplexed by this place called Africa. Being too young to realize it then, but now believing that was God putting this place in my heart as a place I would grow to love and call my second home. I have served a few different non profit organizations in Africa but have found my place at HEART.  Seeing the women of WEEP grow into what God has designed for them is a miracle before my eyes and I am so blessed to be a part of their lives! This year I will make my third trip to Heart and can not wait to see what God has for me while I am there! Continuing to Learn and grow deeper in my love for Christ and His people. I am willing to serve wherever I am needed!


LMT_2600 Web - CopyCarla Heinecke, M.Ed. Summer-Winter 2015

Carla Heinecke is a retired, public school teacher with a Master’s degree in Education and credentials in elementary and special education, and a dual language endorsement. She is fluent in English and Spanish and lived in Central America for many years. Carla is also an accomplished musician and songwriter, having written over forty songs and poems. She resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she enjoys spending time with her children and grandchildren. Carla also spends five months every year in Nairobi, Kenya, where she helps empower widows and orphans survive and thrive beyond the HIV-Aids pandemic. She is currently writing a series of 13 historical fiction children books.  This is Carla‘s sixth trip to Kenya, sometimes volunteering for 5 months at a time.


7-3-13 Ngong House 7 FridaPhillip Magee, Physical Therapist Fall 2015

Phillip Magee has been a Physical Therapist for almost 9 years. In 2010, he began to have many serendipitous encounters with Kenyans living in the United States. An interest in Kenya grew as he tried to learn Swahili and Kenyan culture from the individuals he met. In 2012, he learned about HEART through his father Michael Magee, a friend of the Winklers when they lived in Southern California, and the desire to go Kenya led to an internship for HEART in July 2013.

While interning for HEART in 2013, he was able to travel the southwest quarter of Kenya seeking opportunities to see how his skills as a physical therapist could be utilized to improve the quality of life in those he encountered. The biggest highlight was teaching exercises to one WEEP participant that was having difficulty with balance and walking. In 2 weeks times, he was able to instruct and progress the exercises needed to improve her safety and reduce her risk for falling. This led to the development of his internship project: a 5 level progressive exercises program for women enrolled in WEEP, ranging from the time they may be bed bound to the time they have developed their business.

It is Phillip’s primary goal to implement and instruct these exercise programs to as many WEEP centers as possible so that each center has women that can teach the current and future WEEP participants to independently perform the exercises for optimal health.