January/February 2019 Edition

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The holiday season seems long ago as our Chapter leaders are already busy scheduling events and making plans for the new year. In mid-December Hearts of Hope reached and surpassed the coveted 100,000 hearts distributed mark and no one is looking back, only to the future.




to the latest edition of the Messenger, the Hearts of Hope Online Newsletter, our way of communicating with our support base, volunteers and partners.  We plan to publish regularly throughout the year on the latest news, progress and stories of hope and kindness.


Chapters gearing up with monthly events

On January 8th, the Stratford Chapter held a Paint with A Purpose event for the Quilts of Valor Foundation.  This organization donates beautiful handmade quilts  to service members and veterans impacted by war with these comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.  Scheduled on February 12 Stratford volunteers will paint hearts to be distributed to their choice of recipients on Random Act of Kindness Day on February 17.  On March 12, A Paint with A Purpose Event is scheduled to support Postal Workers Appreciation Day.  All Stratford Chapter events are held at the Riverside Bistro on the second Tuesday of each month from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

The Newtown Chapter kicked off its first event of the year recently when a Paint with A Purpose honored Gold Star Mothers, Inc. on January 9th. The organization is comprised of Mothers who have lost a son or daughter serving in the military. The group is committed to serving veterans and their families.  Scheduled on February 13 Newtown volunteers will paint Hearts of Hope for DEBRA of America Epidermolysis Bullosa and on March 13 for Alzheimer Awareness.  All Newtown Chapter events are held at the Newtown United Methodist Church on the second Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.

The Saint Joseph's University Chapter kicked off their new semester's events on January 22 with a valentines themed painting party! Participants kept their hearts to give to someone special and are planning Paint with A Purpose events with specific charities through May. Their enthusiasm is contagious and you can see their schedule of events on their new Chapter page right here on our website.

All Hearts of Hope events are open to the public and a $5 per heart donation is encouraged to help cover our costs. Everyone is invited including kids and friends.

Touching someone's heart for a mere second can touch their soul for a lifetime.

Leadership Spotlight on College Sophomore Anna Zalepa


"I knew this was going to be extraordinary."

This month's Leadership Spotlight feature is on Anna Zalepa, a sophomore at Saint Joseph's University, who after struggling to find a college identity in her freshman year, started a Hearts of Hope Club and found both reward and happiness by

doing so.

"My freshman year at Saint Joseph's University was one of the most challenging and exciting years of my life. I entered college hopeful for the future, because college was going to be the “best time of my life.”  But my freshman year did not go as planned. As classes began, and the reality of college set in, I was overwhelmed with the material and workload. I was a freshman experiencing the stress of any other biology major, not sure how to manage time or how to succeed and maintain a level head. Over time, I stopped doing everything that made me happy and inspired me and I lost interest in everything I previously liked to do.

During winter break, my mother told me about Hearts of Hope, a charitable organization that she had read about in a local newspaper. Though I had no prior experience as a leader of an organization, the idea of creating a Hearts of Hope chapter at St. Joe's would give me a “purpose” and a way to be creative.  I also loved the possibility of reaching out to those in need of hope.  I was in desperate need of hope myself.

I emailed Judy Pedersen about starting my own Hearts of Hope chapter. After talking with her, I was amazed how I felt. She told me about many of the individuals she and Hearts of Hope have supported through the years. After listening to Judy's passion for this organization I knew I was about to be involved in something extraordinary.

Last year, our Saint Joseph's Hearts of Hope Chapter created and delivered hearts with caring messages of sympathy and hope to the survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.  Additionally, we delivered hearts to the family and friends of a fellow


Hearts of Hope Founder and Executive Director Judy Pedersen has just announced that Connie Lester has accepted an invitation to join our Board of Directors effective immediately. Connie recently moved to South Carolina forcing her to leave her President's role of the Stratford Chapter. She has been nothing short of a driving force in the Hearts of Hope organization for the last three years and we look forward to seeing her in this expanded leadership role.

Donna Stone, an active and valuable Board Member for several years has decided to leave the Board starting in early January. Donna's service and efforts to expand the Hearts of Hope Foundation will be terribly missed but we wish her all the best in the future.

The demand for Hearts of Hope from all over the country through our numerous partnerships is keeping everyone extremely busy in order to fill orders. As always we encourage our followers and supporters to step forward to expand their roles to assist us.

Watch for more program announcements and fundraising campaigns soon as we plan to make 2019 one of the greatest years yet in our Mission of Hope.

Big plans for 2019 as Hearts of Hope surpasses 100,000 Hearts delivered

and kicks off new events for the year

Saint Joseph's student who died tragically and suddenly. More recently, we created and sent hearts to children who are undergoing treatment for cancer or infectious diseases at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

I can honestly say that I would not be the same person without Hearts of Hope. I have grown tremendously as an individual and have connected with so many other inspiring members that I would not have met otherwise. Every meeting I am reminded of how lucky I am to have started this club. I get to see other freshman at our chapter events, who may also be lost at the start of their college experience, just as I once was. And I see them connecting with other members. Hearts of Hope keeps me grounded and reminds me that giving to others is one of the true forms of happiness. It is a tremendous feeling and is unexplainably rewarding." ~ Anna Zalepa, Chapter President, Saint Joseph's University Hearts of Hope Chapter

“To find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” —Mahatma Gandhi

Saint Joseph's University sophomore Anna Zalepa

Connie Lester

One of the extraordinary handmade quilts created for veterans by the Quilts of Valor Foundation.

Volunteers enjoying themselves at the Quilts of Valor Paint with A Purpose event.


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© 2019 Hearts of Hope Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.  Our Federal Tax Exempt Number is EIN 20-3666775