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Adoption Event
The Third Annual Mecklenburg County Heart Gallery featuring professional photos of children in the foster care system ready for adoption will be August 16.

August 13, 2008 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

ART EXHIBIT SEEKS TO FIND ADOPTIVE HOMES

Charlotte, N.C. – It starts with a bright smile, the sound of bulbs flashing and photographers capturing the scene displaying the true essence of the subject. In this instance, the models are not participants in a fashion contest, rather children in foster care preparing to be a part of an upcoming art exhibit in hopes of finding adoptive homes. 

On Saturday, August 16, 2008, the 3rd Annual Mecklenburg County Heart Gallery Adoption event will exhibit professional photos of 60 children in the County's foster care system who are available for adoption. The unveiling of this year's artwork will take place at the elegant Wachovia Atrium from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Families and individuals who are interested in the adoption process are encouraged to attend. 

For more information, interested parties can visit http://yfs.charmeck.org or www.giftforachild.org or call 704-336-5437. This year's program will consist of photo exhibits, food, special guests, music and remarks from adoptive parents. Attendees are in for an awesome evening and can follow up one-on-one with an adoption specialist where they will learn more about the adoption process and success stories. 

The following special guests will be in attendance:

  • Former foster child Elizabeth Sutherland, 27, will share her story of being born on a United States Navel base in Spain and brought to this country illegally, how she later ended up in foster care, and how she has triumphed and signed a book deal.
  • Sam Bracken, author of "My Orange Duffle Bag" A Journey to Radical Change"a short, inspirational book that outlines his journey from abandonment as a young teen to triumph on the football field and in life, will share his story of growing up in poverty, a horrifically abusive, drug-filled home, and how he made it out to become the global director of product management for Franklin Covey. 

Approximately 13 local photographers participated in photo sessions throughout the community. The Heart Gallery is a nationally replicated adoption event where volunteer professional photographers take compelling pictures of children in foster care, and the results are exhibited in a gallery format so potential adoptive families can see more than a profile – they can see a budding personality. 

The Mecklenburg County Heart Gallery is sponsored by Wachovia, WSOC-TV, WAXN, Gift for a Child/Heart Gallery Southeast, Elavon Financial Services, Just Fresh Restaurants, White House Custom Color, Trizon Films, St. John Photography, Eye Dialogue, Diamond and Pearls Entertainment, and the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services. The following professional photographers from Charlotte volunteered their time and talent to create the portraits of children: Shane Baskin, Kelli Brinkley, Kimberly Cash, Michael Church, Charlie Cowins, Jeff Cravotta, Paula Fuller, Todd Hess, David Iannarelli, Emilie Knight, Madison St. Clair, Wayne St. John and Stephanie Tomey. 

About Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services Youth and Family Services

Youth & Family Services (YFS), the child protective services division of the county, is responsible for protecting children while building self-sufficient families. YFS performs protective services that are mandated by the State and Federal governments. YFS provides foster care and adoption services to children in the county's custody and works in partnerships with families, neighborhoods and communities to ensure that all children strive in safe, permanent and loving families. On a yearly basis, YFS has more than a thousand children in its foster care system. 

About Gift For A Child, Inc.

Gift for a Child Inc. is a non-profit organization focused on raising awareness and finding permanent homes for children in the foster care system. The organization works with child welfare agencies, businesses, schools and churches to bring the community closer to the reality that there are thousands of children who need help finding a family they can call their own. 




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