MONTVILLE, NJ – Montville Township Girl Scouts of all ages lent a hand to inspire some hope in the hearts of the residents at Wanaque Rehabilitation Center when the girls of Cadette Troop 4559 sponsored a “Hearts of Hope” painting event at the Senior House on Jan. 20.

First created in response to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Hearts of Hope is an organization dedicated to “creating hope, one heart at a time,” according to the organization’s website.

At that time, Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, New York, hosted a community-wide event and volunteers arrived by the hundreds to help paint 700 ceramic hearts with messages of caring, encouragement and hope. The hearts and written messages were placed in gift bags, which were driven to Manhattan and presented to those affected by the events of that day. Since then the organization’s hearts have reached more than 80,000 in hospitals, cancer centers and the military, along with communities affected by tragedies, such as Newtown, Boston, Orlando, and Charleston, according to the website.

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“From beginning to end, each heart is touched by at least ten people; they are ‘tangible prayers’ for those who need them the most,” the website states.

To that end, Lazar seventh grade Girl Scouts Keerthi Arikathota, Aleena Gill, Isabella Panico, Hari Singampalli, Madeline Tubbs and Sahana Vaidya, in conjunction with Hearts of Hope, hosted two sessions of heart painting. Girl Scouts came and painted the hearts, and wrote out messages on cards that are tucked in with the ceramic hearts. The hearts are glazed, a ribbon is laced through it so it can be hung, and the message and heart are placed in an organza bag for presenting.

The girls also wrote on pillowcases for Pine Brook resident Frankie Chioccariello, who is a cancer patient. They were also able to paint rocks to “spread joy and happiness” for the Silver Award project, called Rockin NJ, of Sarah and Elizabeth, two Cadette Girl Scouts from Troop 4395.

Giada Kessler, a Girl Scout Junior in Troop 5405 and a fifth grader at Hilldale, said she painted a blue heart with dark blue and green stripes and a rainbow heart.

“I painted the message ‘I hope I make your day colorful’ on one and ‘bee-you-tiful’ on the other,” she told TAPinto Montville. “I wanted to make the hearts and make someone’s day happy by giving them a nice valentine. I like to do crafts like drawing and coloring. I like drawing flowers and I like to color rainbows.”

Also a Girl Scout Junior, Rebecca Rosen said she painted rainbows on one of her hearts, and made her other heart purple.

“I wrote ‘never give up,’” she said. “I was looking forward to coming today because I like to paint and it’s a nice thing to do.”

For more information about Hearts of Hope, please see: https://www.ourheartsofhope.org/.

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