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Heart Of The Storm



EVENT DATE: Feb 15, 2014


A number of years ago I discovered a unique organization called “Heart Of The Storm” (HOTS), run by a wonderful family that has made it their mission to empower young people—especially those who are socio-economically challenged— to get more in-touch with their own humanity through voyaging as a small co-ed group upon their 52’ foot wood ketch. The program provides the time, space, and the enriching activities of voyaging to help youth unplug from the stresses of society and the over-saturation of generally negative information. It also provides a safe venue for intimate discussions of life’s challenges, and personal disclosures. The experimental program aims to build self-esteem through self-referal versus object-referal experiential learning activities, and fostering safe ‘bridges’ for deeper intra-personal sharing.

Last fall the family set sail from Maine with the goal of bringing their program to the native island children of the Abacos, Bahamas. I followed their three month journey, and was greatly impressed with the challenges they faced and overcame, not the least of which was the successful replacement of the vessel’s substantial diesel engine accomplished entirely by family themselves en route.

As a documentary filmmaker I'm excited to explore a project combining one of their Youth sailing programs in an area subject to an adjacent unfolding socio-economic human drama (the Haitian displacement and fire tragedy that has recently taken place in the Abacos), juxtaposed by the phenomenal beauty of the region’s paradisiacal natural and manmade island environment. I will be very interested to hear the thoughts of young people regarding this growing tension in the area, and exploring—in their minds and words—possible solutions. I have reached out to the Founders of HOTS, Nielsen Van Duijn and Christina Montano, and we have reached an agreement to collaborate on this project. I will be joining them on their vessel February 15th to begin filming We are now looking for resources to support this HOTS program and film project to compliment and get more people excited about HOTS. There should be more programs like this in the world and I personally see HOTS as an amazing module for change in young people’s lives.

If this interests you we are looking to raise up to five to thousand dollars to produce a short documentary of the HOTS journey into the Abacos, and their work and interaction with the adults and island children. We have a small film crew, who have done PBS-level documentary work; and will depart from Stuart, Florida February 15th, 2014. Film will juxtapose the program’s healing actions and the hopeful effects upon the participants, the beauty of the islands, the luxury of foreigners visiting the area for pleasure, with the local Haitian tragedy, especially as it effects their children. Film will also touch upon the original Haiti natural disaster, and the corruption surrounding the disappearance of billions of dollars of relief funds.

Your Contributions Have Helped HOTS So Much!

HEART OF THE STORM graciously acknowledges the substantial support received from the Blue Hill community and beyond in the form of cash contributions and volunteer hours. HOTS has already produced several films about our voyages, and makes it a point to extend special thanks to all of our supporters in the film credits.

We've all been working hard on HOTS!

As is often the case with grassroots start-ups, founders Christina Montano and Nielsen van Duijn continue to provide substantial private funding for the operational costs of HOTS, and contributed more than half of the actual costs of running programs in Maine waters in 2012 and 2013. Passionate as they are about the ocean, and helping young people develop a greater sense of themselves, the van Duijns have put in hundreds of hours creating and operating the HOTS programs for local youth.

We can't do it without Your Support!

Your generous support, be it large or small, makes a tremendous difference--sometimes the critical difference--in Helping HOTS to achieve its Winter 2014 goal of voyaging with a significant number of socio-economically-diverse kids from the Bahamas, and Blue Hill, Maine. And whether you can provide financial support or not, perhaps you would be willing to tell your friends and family about HOTS. There are so many ways to help! Thank you!

Contribuation Rewards:

  • $25 - $50:  Get your name in the credits
  • $75 - $100 Get a HOTS T-Shirt
  • $200 - $500 Go sailing around Maine's Islands with the HOTS Team plus all of the above!
  • $1000 get an Associates Producers Credit in the Film.
  • $3,000 - $5,000 Get an Executive Producer Credit and a Private Family Sailing trip on Aliento.


Film Budget: 

Travel expenses: $3500

~ For crew 

~ Film crew  

~ Accommodation 


Miscellaneous: $2000

~ Film equipment

~ Rentals

~ Insurance

~ Fees


You can view and learn more of our affliates Heart Of The Storm by visiting them:



Dylan Howard
Caterpillar Hill Initiative

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All Contributions are Tax Deductible!



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