MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ: On February 12, 2020, at 8:15am, the Third Annual Hearts of Hope breakfast was held at the Ocean Place Hilton in Long Branch, NJ. This year was unique in that four local charities joined forces to better serve youth in our community with behavioral health programs. The four organizations were: Collier Youth Services, The YMCA of Greater Monmouth County, Family Promise of Monmouth County, HFCF and Family and Children Services.
There was a buffet for nearly 200 guests to enjoy their breakfast, while listening to inspirational speakers.
The event left many guests saying the same thing, "Wow, the speakers were amazing..." Margo Vallone of Holmdel commented, "I'm a supporter of Collier and this was my first Hearts of Hope Breakfast, so I did not really know what to expect. It was truly inspiring and I'm going to encourage all my friends to come next year. The speakers were excellent! It's great to be a part of helping youth in our community."
The Executive Director of Collier Youth Services, Sr. Debi Drago gave the invocation. Russel Gartz, Director of External Services for Collier Youth Services, brought the nonprofit organizations together to collaborate on the event and he emceed the program. Gartz wore his signature red blazer, a tradition for the Hearts of Hope Breakfast. A lot of fun was had with the speakers donning Gartz's red blazer...
You can listen to a few of the inspirational speakers in the following videos. a dynamic speech was delivered by Laurie Goganzer, President & CEO at YMCA of Greater Monmouth County who commented, "I truly believe that coming together only makes us stronger together, makes our community stronger... Together, we can reach and serve more people... We know that partnerships, collaborations and the spirit of coming together is the best way to get things done to change the world and make it a better place."
VIDEO: Laurie Goganzer, President and CEO at YMCA of Greater Monmouth:
A call to action: Business woman and philanthropist Carol Stillwell is one of the community's most generous charitable contributors. She also gives very generously of her time with a great commitment to show up and serve. Carol spoke about taking action to make a change to serve others. She challenged everyone in the room to create their own legacy of service and commitment and to take the first step today ....We all have something to give. We each have unique talents to serve..." Carol also spoke about the ways that both Riverview Medical Center and HMH Meridian Health Foundation's Giving Heals has inspired her to give more of her time and resources and how truly good it makes her feel.
VIDEO: Listen to the motivational words of Carol Stillwell:
Do you have the audacity to serve? Keynote speaker for the morning's event was: Christine Carter-Love, Executive Director Family Promise. Love's speech was engaging and powerful. Love generously shared her personal story of triumph over adversity, a truly inspiring talk.
VIDEO. Listen to the powerful words of Christine Carter-Love as she tells her story:
Samantha White, Director of Volunteer Services for Family and Children's Services spoke next, commenting that FCS is the oldest private nonprofit in Monmouth County and is 111 years old! You can hear part of White's speech below:
VIDEO: Samantha White, FCS:
CoFounder of Hope for Children Foundation, NJ, Eric Hinds delivered a poignant speech, opening with self-deprecating humor, taken from a baseball analogy he made about following such an impressive line-up of speakers. You can hear Hinds' inspiring talk below.
VIDEO: CoFounder of Hope for Children Foundation, NJ, Eric Hinds:
The event ran smoothly and was over quickly but guests lingered not wanting to leave. Jackie Tobacco, owner of Peace, Love and Horses in Middletown commented, "This was really unbelievable. It was like going to a conference, hearing from one excellent speaker after the other, yet it was condensed into such a brief period of time which was perfect from a time management perspective, but we all wanted to keep talking with each other. What a great event, can't wait until the next one!"
Last year's Hearts for Hope Keynote speaker and CoFounder of Hope for Children Foundation, NJ, Marybeth Walz Pritzlaff has been uniting charities for the last 17 years. She commented, "The positive energy in the room today is palpable. It's all about helping people during our lifetime here, and when you have organizations with strong altruistic leadership, like the four nonprofits here today, your ability to help others is unstoppable. This short breakfast is already connecting dots and new relationships are forming that will lead to helping more people, and that's what it's all about." You can listen to Marybeth's amazing speech from last year's Hearts of Hope Luncheon HERE.
Four of the nonprofit organizations that joined together for the event; FCS, HFCF, YMCA and Collier Youth Services all in their own ways provide resources, funding and programs to better serve families in our community.