On the website of Heart Gallery of Tampa, there are individual pictures of cute, smiling, nicely dressed kids like you would see at the mall, playing soccer in the park or being dropped off by parents at school. Except, beneath each picture is one of these three labels: “Found a Family,” “Potentially Matched” or “Available.”
Each smiling picture and short profile represents a child hoping for a forever family:
Armani (Found a Family): “Destined for greatness.” On track for an early graduation and intends to head straight to college to become an OB/GYN doctor.
Aries (Potentially Matched): “My smile lights up a room.” Loves to play outside, ride his bike, dreams of going to Disney World and hopes to wake up with super powers and be able to fly.
Anna (Available): “I like spiders!” She dreams of ice skating outdoors and climbing mountains, though her ideal day would be at Disney World dressed up as Queen Elsa from Frozen.
Elijah (Available): “I’m a math whiz!” He loves everything from video games to sports to chorus and excels in math. He dreams of going to Florida State University.
These and all the other children have one thing in common: they are hoping for forever homes. Heart Gallery of Tampa was created to find forever families for Tampa’s foster children who have experienced abandonment, abuse and neglect. Many carry everything they own in a green plastic bag.
Recently, Heart Gallery of Tampa expressed gratitude for Riverview’s local hairdressers who donated time and talents helping 18 foster children get back-to-school haircuts. With the uncertainties surrounding this school year, the haircuts provided some sense of normalcy for these local foster kids.
Heart Gallery of Tampa is also grateful for financial donations: $1,000 will sponsor a child for one year, $500 will sponsor a child for six months, $300 provides one birthday party, $200 provides a birthday present for one child and $100 provides school supplies for one child.
Lindsay Hermida, program director, explained that 100 children are selected for the pictorial site and the majority are older, part of a sibling group or have special needs. These children need special families to open their hearts, homes and lives to adopt them.
“The whole focus of our mission is to be out in the community to share our message…help spread the word about our kids waiting for a place to call home.”
For more information, visit www.heartgallerytampa.org or email Lindsay@HeartGalleryTampa.org.