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Creating Hope

To the Editor:

At Hearts of Hope, our mission is simple: creating and distributing beautiful handmade clay hearts with messages of hope to people in need. Since its inception in 2005, more than 38,000 keepsake hearts have been made and delivered to individuals nationwide. This includes patients facing cancer and other life-limiting illnesses, men and women serving in the military, and communities who have experienced unspeakable tragedy. Each heart is tied with ribbon, accompanied by a hand-written card with a simple message of caring and compassion. The allure of Hearts of Hope is the ability to pay it forward, the chance to say “I have been there,” “I stand with you,” or “You are in my heart even if we never meet face to face.” It is exactly what inspired us to paint hearts for others after so many hearts were sent to us here in Newtown after 12/14/12.

 There is magic in the painting as painters young and old, with no experience to advanced degrees in art and graphic design, find solace and therapy, a chance to find ways to express unspoken feelings of grief and sorrow. Yet, there is also magic on the receiving end, when someone finds or receives a Heart of Hope, it strikes a chord that resonates deep within. These gifts remind us that humanity is good, that people truly care. Coding on the greeting cards that accompany the hearts allow the recipient to send a thank you note through the Hearts of Hope website. Often times these notes express a joy that the heart came at a time of great need, the perfect gift at the perfect time.

Based in Cooperstown, NY, Hearts of Hope formed its very first chapter last month in no greater place to exemplify kindness, compassion, and love- right here in our beloved Newtown. Each month we host a painting party and identify a location or group where Hearts of Hope, made right here in Newtown, will be delivered.  Since Hearts of Hope were first sent to Newtown, we've paid it forward and sent hearts to Boston, Oklahoma, and Arizona.  The hearts painted at our August event will be delivered to patients at Connecticut Children's Medical Center and Yale Children's Hospital in September for Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.

Looking ahead to September, we will be painting Hearts of Hope to send to military personnel. While we feel compelled to pay it forward to other communities, our leadership team also feels it is of utmost importance to continue to support those within our own community; in particular the brave men and women who serve in all branches of our military. If you know of anyone from Newtown or Sandy Hook currently serving in the military, either here or abroad, please email me at k.mattera@ourheartsofhope.org so that we can send Hearts of Hope to them for Veterans Day this November to thank them for their service to our country.

Thank you, Newtown for helping us in “creating hope...one heart at a time!”

Kristen Mattera

4 Saw Mill Road, Newtown                                 August 19, 2013

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