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Lena Pope Home Celebrates Third Annual Heart Gallery

Creative Portraits of Children in Foster Care Waiting to Be Adopted to Be Showcased at Worthington National Bank in Downtown Fort Worth During Main Street Arts Festival

Fort Worth, Texas – April 4, 2007 -- Lena Pope Home, the Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) and Worthington National Bank are partnering to sponsor the third annual Heart Gallery of North Texas. This artistic showcase of children in foster care waiting for adoption will be on display from Tuesday, April 17 through Sunday, April 22 at Worthington National Bank, located at 500 Main Street, at the corner of 4th and Main Street in Sundance Square.

During the Main Street Arts Festival, children in Lena Pope Home’s foster care will be displayed on canvas and open to the public on Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., on Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the downtown Worthington National Bank. The portraits reflect the uniqueness of each child waiting for their “forever home.” The Heart Gallery provides a photographic journey into the essence of the children’s hearts, all who are anxiously waiting and looking for families to nurture, love and care for them.

“Worthington National Bank is committed to the children of our community and excited about the opportunity to help them find their ‘forever homes’ through this unique art display,” says Greg Morse, CEO of Worthington National Bank.

Lena Pope Home’s Heart Gallery was the first of its kind in Texas. Since then, nine other Heart Galleries have opened statewide, and 2007’s Heart Gallery of North Texas marks the first year for a statewide exhibition. In honor of National Foster Care Month, a Heart Gallery will also be showcased in Austin at the State Capital April 27 - May 4. Today, over 80 Heart Galleries thrive in 42 states. The first Heart Gallery originated in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to provide a unique way to raise community awareness of the need for adoptive homes for children in foster care.

To create the Heart Gallery portraits, each foster child was photographed at the Lena Pope Home in Fort Worth by professional photographers Marilyn Sammons and Brian Hutson. “The success of the Heart Gallery exhibits have been rewarding to all of us involved in this project,” said Sammons, photographer and Lena Pope Home development & community relations director. “The Heart Gallery continues to increase public interest in our community’s foster care/adoption needs.”

The goal of The Lena Pope Home Heart Gallery is to inspire willing people to take on roles in these and other children’s lives as friends, foster parents, adoptive parents, companions, mentors, employers or contributors. “Most children in foster care stay for more than two years, and the older they get the less likely it becomes that they will find permanent homes. . . forever, real families,” said Ted Blevins, Lena Pope Home executive director. “Whether you are interested in adopting, fostering or helping children, the Heart Gallery is a special way to help the Dallas/Fort Worth community connect with the children.”

Some children waiting for an adoptive home have expressed their own thoughts below:

Twelve-year-old Debbie’s eyes light up whenever “adoption” is mentioned: “How soon will I have my family?” she asks whenever adoption is discussed. Debbie has been waiting for an adoptive family for over two years.

Kyle is 10 years old and hoping for a forever family: “If I could just be adopted, then I’d have a real family,” he says. Kyle was responsible for caring for his younger siblings before entering foster care. He is relieved that his brother and sister are with a loving family “who won’t hurt them.”

“I want to be adopted with my brother and sister,” 11-year-old Lori tells her caseworker. Lori is worried that no one will adopt the three siblings as a group. “I need to stay with my brother and sister because they’re little, and they need their big sister.”

Bonnie, age 9, bounces into the room with a big smile on her face. “Do you have someone to adopt me? Will I have my own room when I get adopted?” she asks. She has been waiting for an adoptive home for over three years, but remains hopeful.

Lena Pope Home is committed to creating a future of hope for children and families through an effective continuum of behavioral healthcare services to strengthen families and develop resilient children. For more information about Lena Pope Home, visit www.lenapopehome.org , or call 1-877-WE-FOSTER. For more information about Worthington National Bank, visit www.worthingtonbank.org , or call 1-817-303-1200.

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Media Contacts:
Kelly Kirkendoll Shafer
JODesign for Worthington National Bank
817.236.6075 or 817.235.3391
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Marilyn Sammons
Lena Pope Home
817.255.2606
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WNB to Host Second Annual Lena Pope Home Heart Gallery 4_12_06.pdf