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Heart-to-Heart offers pathways to healing by helping people reclaim their innate capacity for compassion. Our transformative education in mindfulness and empathetic communication provides a vital toolkit of inner resources that empowers individuals, families, and communities—in particular those affected by incarceration—to break patterns of addiction, alienation, and violence and make choices that lead to thriving futures.


Helping People find Pathways to healing

Heart to Heart weekend retreat at Pendle Hill

Heart to Heart traces its roots to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where two Catholic sisters created Comienzos (“beginnings” in Spanish) in 1988, after several years of researching best practices in educational, therapeutic programs in U.S. jails and prisons. Their program was designed to bring dignity and lasting freedom to incarcerated men and women at Albuquerque Metropolitan Detention Center.

Stephen Michael Tumolo joined this effort in 1998, and after 10 years as a teacher and leader, brought the Comienzos model of transformative education home with him to Southern New Jersey. With the help of like-minded people, he founded “Heart-to-Heart: Comienzos East” in 2010. The newly-formed organization began offering classes at Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey, and was soon recognized for its significant impact, garnering the attention of NBC News and commendation by the New Jersey legislature.

Heart to Heart now teaches weekly classes at two additional locations (the Camden County Correctional Facility and the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia). We have also expanded to offer a free weekly practice group, a monthly community workshop series, and a yearly weekend retreat. Our fee-based classes and workshops are available to any individuals and groups seeking to make change on a personal, organizational, or structural level.

Heart to Heart class at Bayside State Prison