Have a Heart

If you’ve recently wandered through Penn Station, or the Atlantic Terminal, Malls, or the Borough President’s Offices in New York, chances are you will have seen rows of large-scale portraits of kids. These are the Heart Galleries: an initiative from well-respected non-profit Heart Gallery project: an important, high profile project to raise awareness of the plight of foster children in desperate need of permanent families. The Heart Gallery NYC works with a roster of both established and up-and-coming photographers, and includes work by artists such as Martin Schoeller, Howard Schatz, Antoine Verglas and others.

With over 100 chapters nationwide, Heart Gallery has garnered extensive positive media attention and has been featured on ABCNEWS 20/20, The View, CNN, Today Show, in publications such as People Magazine, Parade Magazine, NY Times and many others. This media outreach has helped accomplish their mission, and thousands of children have been adopted as a direct result of Heart Gallery exhibitions.

However, there is still much work to be done. Heart Gallery knows that each year “hundreds of youth ‘age out’ of the foster care system with very few resources to help them transition into economically independent adulthood.”

Sadly, many of these youth end up homeless. Not surprisingly, 26% of the shelter population in NYC are graduates of foster care. So,

this year, Heart Gallery NYC will expand their mission and utilize the high profile visibility of the Heart Gallery to launch the important initiative, Through the Eyes of the Homeless. A generous network of celebrity, notable and emerging photographers will donate their time and talents to mentor up to 40 individuals, who have found themselves in the unfortunate circumstance of becoming homeless.

The participants will be encouraged to photograph New York City as they see it…living on the streets.

Their goals will be to:

  • dignify and empower homeless individuals through photography
  • raise awareness of the vast numbers of homeless and send a powerful message about street outreach needs and the lack of truly affordable housing here in NYC
  • raise awareness that not every homeless person is mentally challenged and/or to be feared, but that many individuals may have become homeless simply due to unfortunate circumstances, a situation that could potentially happen to any of us.

As of April 2015, there are nearly 580,000 homeless people in the United States! An alarming study found that record numbers of single adults in shelters will grow by a whopping 59% in five years in New York City alone, if additional support for this vulnerable, often forgotten population is not forthcoming.

High profile Heart Gallery NYC exhibits are seen by millions, raising awareness of our causes and acknowledging the generous support of our sponsors and supporters.

If you want to make a difference in the lives of these forgotten and often misunderstood individuals (the project is currently looking for a camera sponsor), you can start by checking out the project website at:

http://heartgallerynyc.org/HomelessProject2015.aspx

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The final date for the exhibit will be during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week – November 14- 22, 2015.

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