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Texas Heart Galleries
The Heart Gallery was founded by the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) in 2001 as a way to help foster children in protective custody who are waiting for adoptive families step from the shadows into the light. Stirring portraits that reveal the children's amazing spirits and individuality have helped many of them find loving homes.
In 2002 and 2003, the CBS special "A Home for the Holidays" focused on The Heart Gallery and Camera Arts did beautiful articles about it for three years, resulting in the spread of the project to several other cities and states. CYFD offered technical support to help these new groups, which took off in their own amazing directions with the project.
By January 2005, when Rosemary Zibart's touching Parade magazine article about the Heart Gallery came out, several hundred children in the "Heart Gallery" cities or states had already found homes through the project.
Since then, thanks to the hard work of hundreds of volunteers around the country and the generosity of many individuals and organizations, the Heart Gallery has grown exponentially, expanding to dozens of states and cities. Heart Galleries have been featured in People, the NY Times, The Christian Science Monitor,and on MSNBC, CNN, ABC World News Tonight, and the Today Show. In April, Parade did a follow-up article on the impact of their first article and USA Weekend will be coming out with an article about the project soon.
More importantly, interest in adopting foster children was raised to an amazing level around the country: New Jersey's Heart Gallery brought an 800% increase in inquiries, for example.
On November 1, 2005, Union Station will be the site of the opening reception of the first National Heart Gallery exhibit. Portraits of waiting children from around the country will be featured, and speakers will include "success story" families. The event is presented by the Children's Bureau, Adoption Exchange, and the Ad Council, who are all part of the Collaboration to Adopt US Kids (see adoptuskids.org). The portraits will be on display for two weeks. This special exhibit will help get the message out about the 118,000 waiting children in the US. During that time, the Russell Senate Building Gallery will also house 50 Heart Gallery portraits, together with information on adoption.
Kudos to all the Heart Gallery planners, photographers, and other adoption advocates across the country. You are as amazing as the children whose dreams you are empowering.
By Diane Granito-founder/Statewide Special Events Coordinator, New Mexico Children, Youth & Families Department
Visit the Heart Gallery of America Inc.
Texas has embraced the Heart Gallery project. Many community volunteers and child placing agency partners
have come forward to assist DFPS to promote adoption and promote
the adoption of individual children.
The professional portraits taken of the children are very special memories for both the children and the volunteers. The "Heart Gallery" portraits are exhibited at local galleries or other prominent places in the community. Photographs in the Heart Galleries are for viewing only and may not be downloaded, used, or published without the express permission of DFPS and the photographers who took them.
- Volunteer Opportunities -
- Framers for the portraits
- Caterers for the events
- Beauticians to help organize beauty & barber shop "hair days" prior to the photo shoots.
- Designers for brochure, invitation and other print material design
- Volunteers to transport portraits to the different venues.
- Volunteers to assist in setup and tear-down of the portrait displays.
- Volunteers for the special events and fundraiser's
- Volunteers to help with creating Life Books-These serve as a scrap book/photo albums that allow children to retain memories of their lives with their foster parents, foster siblings, etc
- Portrait display venues to host the Heart Gallery portraits. This can be your agency, bank, church, museum, business, library, airport, City Hall, government agency or State Capital.
- Other activities as needed.
Please email the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange to volunteer. Send us your name and address. We will email you your area's contact information for your local Heart Gallery or who you can coordinate with to start a Heart Gallery in your area. Thank you!