The Press Room
Below is a sampling of the media coverage the Heart Gallery has received since its inception in 2005.
To schedule a media interview with a member of the Heart Gallery team, please email Janina Scheytt Hecht, or call her at (908) 334-2474.
View our media fact sheet
View our press releases
"Najlah Feanny Hicks, president and co-founder of The Heart Gallery of New Jersey, says, 'You've gotta have respect for children who say, 'No matter what my parents did to me, no matter who deserted me ... I still believe that somebody wants me,' and I believe that these children are wanted.'"
Click here to watch the video clip (3:47).
08.12.05 - "The purpose behind the project, called the Heart Gallery, is to help find families for them by using professional photographers to personalize them -- to bring out the spirit and individuality that are all too often invisible in the typical shots that accompany the children's files once they have entered the foster care system."
Click here to watch the video clip (9:21).
06.01.06 - "In cities throughout America, art galleries and public spaces have mounted stunning exhibitions taken by some of the world's most famous photographers. The photographers work for free, using their talents to bring out qualities that otherwise might have gone undiscovered in children who are in foster care, hoping to be adopted by a family."
Click here to watch the video clip (11:04).
View a gallery of success stories on the ABC website
View a gallery of kids who need homes on the ABC website
"The hope is that these photographs will inspire people to consider adoption."
Click here to watch the video clip (5:49).
"'There's going to be this picture on the wall and this family is going to walk by,' said Feanny. 'There's going to be something that speaks to them, that's going to make them walk by again and turn around and walk by again and really look and see the inner beauty of this child.'"
Click here to watch the video clip (4:16).
"Nearly one hundred thirty thousand children in the U.S. public welfare system are waiting to be adopted. Most are eight years old, or even older. Now though, there is a new strategy to get them a home."
Click here to watch the video clip (4:24).
"I'm just waiting for the perfect home. I just, just keep waiting for the perfect one at the right time. Maybe when I get older, I might take a foster kid and adopt them so if I'm not going to get helped, I'm going to help someone else. So any way I win."
Click here to watch the shorter segment from CNN American Morning (3:32).
Click here to watch the longer segment from CNN Daybreak (3:54).
"This program is 'picture perfect.' It pairs foster kids with award-winning photographers. The plan is to put the faces of foster children out there, so potential parents will notice."
Click here to watch video clip (3:27).
08.18.07 - "They flashed their smiles, and at times, showed a serious side. They’re teenagers in foster care, hoping their portrait is seen by someone who can give them a permanent home."
Click here to watch the video clip (1:43).
"And now one group, comprised mainly of professional photographers, that group is making an impact by taking compelling photos of children hoping to be adopted. And the pictures are speaking louder than words."
Click here to watch the video clip (7:26).
03.28.05 - "This spring, Hiram's portrait will join those of more than 300 other New Jersey foster children at an exhibit titled Heart Gallery of New Jersey. If all goes well, adults who visit the exhibit (or view the photos online at www.heartgallerynj.com) will be moved to adopt."
"'They're photographing the children with the same dignity and respect that they would give to big stars and CEOs,' notes Feanny. 'They're bringing the same lights and assistants, the same backdrops.' One boy, she recalls, said to his social worker, 'I feel like a movie star.'"
"New Jersey has become the latest state to recruit renowned photographers to take pictures of foster children available for adoption. Known as a Heart Gallery, the idea is to get the pictures out into the world with the hope that a loving family will respond."
"The Heart Gallery features portraits of hope that touch the heart."
"Organizers of Heart Galleries around the country are trying to raise awareness in some creative ways. New Jersey will include a picture of every child who's eligible for adoption - more than 300 - in its exhibit this spring."
05.24.05 - "After months of photo shoots and interviews, the Heart Gallery of New Jersey is preparing to launch its exhibit June 12 at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. The exhibit will feature framed photographs and brief biographies of more than 300 children -- from infants up to age 18 -- in the state's foster care system."
06.13.05 - "On Saturday, an invitation-only crowd of 1,250 people that included acting Gov. Richard J. Codey weathered a thunderstorm and a 30-minute delay caused by lane shutdowns on the New Jersey Turnpike and Route 78 to attend the Heart Gallery's grand opening."
07.29.05 - "Last year, the Division of Youth and Family Services received 81 such inquiries [from families considering adoption] in the month of June. This year, it got 460 requests from June 1 through 24, and two-thirds of those were people who said they were calling because they had seen a child in the Heart Gallery."
08.28.05 - "Ten weeks after the debut of a photographic exhibit promoting adoption from New Jersey's foster care system, 75 of the state's hardest-to-place children have found prospective adoptive homes, according to state officials and the coordinator of the exhibit."
12.19.05 - "Hicks was looking for sponsors for a holiday party and she wrote the Giants asking if they would donate something to the event. Allison Stangeby, the Giants' director of community relations, wanted to do more...Stangeby called Feanny Hicks. The Giants would love to donate something to the party -- everything."
12.22.05 - "Four children already are living with families that will adopt them, while 17 other kids have been matched with adoptive parents and will move in with them by next month, Feanny Hicks said. An additional four children have potential matches, she said."
12.26.05 - "Master is trapped in New Jersey's child welfare system. The state Division of Youth and Family Services is under siege for failing to make even basic changes to protect the 11,500 children in its care. At any given time, some 2,000 of these children are available for adoption."
06.28.06 - "Master Moore doesn't believe in fairy tale endings...[b]ut last week, sitting with his new parents in their cozy home in Newark -- a home with family photographs on every table and every wall -- Master said he figures he has finally come as close to happily-ever-after as it gets."
07.27.07 - "For 16-year-old Ollie, the past is a blur. Since becoming a ward of the state 12 years ago, he's moved from foster home to foster home, family to family, group home to group home. Because of his age, his chances for adoption are, statistically speaking, grim. The Heart Gallery of New Jersey and state welfare officials aim to forge a brighter future -- and new hope -- for scores of children like Ollie."
12.23.07 - "[I]n early 2005 someone asked him to participate in The Heart Gallery of New Jersey, a traveling photographic exhibit of adoptable children in the state's care. Master was told someone might see his photograph, read his story and want to adopt him.
He shrugged. 'Sure, why not?' he said."
01.14.08 - "What if you found the 100 children who've been in New Jersey's foster care system the longest, had top photographers take their portraits, and posted their pictures and stories in galleries and museums around the state?"
03.02.08 - "Brown, 42, is a design engineer for New Jersey Natural Gas Co. in Wall and has worked for the company for nearly 20 years. Although she 'knew, obviously, that there were kids out there for adoption,' she was moved to act, she said, after learning about the Heart Gallery of New Jersey in 2005, when she saw an exhibit set up at her company offices."
"The number of children in [DYFS's] care who are legally free to be adopted has decreased to a historic low of 1,295 children, according to the department, a 44 percent decrease from two years ago. Now it is highlighting 100 of its longest-waiting children, including Rashon, through its Heart Gallery project."
04.13.05 - "Little 5-year-old Tyree is busy hanging from monkey bars in a Bergen County park but he finally flashes a terrific smile. A lot is riding on that smile. That's because Tyree is a foster child searching for an adoptive home and there's a good chance prospective parents will see his photo and want to take the child home. Tyree would love that."
04.06.07 - "Kayaeisha, who had been in the care of the state and had lived in more than a dozen shelter, foster and group homes, was officially adopted by James and Madeline Shaw of Maywood...[t]he Shaws had heard of Kayaeisha more than 18 months ago. They were told to look at a picture of her displayed on a Web site run by the Heart Gallery of New Jersey."
05.22.08 - "A portrait gallery featuring foster children needing permanent homes won the top prize at the annual Russ Berrie Awards for Making a Difference. Najlah Feanny Hicks of Clifton took home $50,000 on Wednesday as the ceremony recognized 19 New Jerseyans who have done extraordinary good deeds."
05.30.08 - "Photographer Najlah Feanny Hicks turned her art into a tool for social change. Through Hicks' organizing efforts, dozens of other photographers were mobilized. They took a break from the world of commercial and news photography to create attractive portraits of New Jersey foster kids for newspaper and gallery display."
04.01.05 - "The goal is to replace the grainy snapshots taken by the state Division of Youth and Family Services with photographs that show prospective adoptive parents the children's true personalities. Photographs feature them in a variety of activities, such as jumping on a trampoline, wiggling a hula hoop, or climbing on a fire truck."
07.17.05 - "With the help of Najlah Feanny Hicks, the program's president and cofounder, and 150 photographers and picture editors, every child in New Jersey who was in foster care and up for adoption was able to be a part of Heart Gallery."
"'We are so thrilled that the Summit community has chosen to host our exhibit, and we hope they will get to know the children and possibly take action to see if adoption might be right for them,' said President Najah Feanny Hicks, a noted photographer in her own right."
"Briggs, who didn't have children of her own, said she saw so many kids that needed homes that it just seemed like the right thing to do. She had helped her sister out with her six kids, including a set of triplets. That convinced her even more that she was ready to be a mom." (.pdf, 68k)
"Miller, a New York City-based freelance photographer, made the picture at the request of Najlah Feanny, cofounder of New Jersey's Heart Gallery, an organization seeking to help foster kids find homes by having renowned photographers make portraits of them."
"Photojournalist Najlah Feanny Hicks is the force behind New Jersey's gallery, having rounded up pros including The New Yorker's Martin Schoeller and Magnum's David Alan Harvey to take photographs of New Jersey's youths up for adoption."
03.31.05 - "The photo community is rallying around the Heart Gallery, a non-profit organization set up to help New Jersey orphans find homes. The premise is simple: photographers take pictures of the kids in their own style, and the exposure from an ensuing photo exhibition results in kids getting adopted."
"When I heard that the Heart Gallery was launching its newest project, '100 Waiting Children,'...we decided we could provide the space and facilities to help them with this project. It was a great day."
"'The actual exhibit travels six months out of the year,' says Janina Hecht, of the Heart Gallery. 'We are now planning our photo shoots for the 2007 exhibit. In 2007, we will be focusing on the children who have been in the foster care system the longest and need our attention the most. Most of them are teenagers or need to be adopted with their siblings. Our goal is prevent any child from aging out of the system, and never finding a permanent family.'"
Media Fact Sheet
FACTS ABOUT THE HEART GALLERY OF NEW JERSEY, INC.
The Heart Gallery of New Jersey, Inc. (HGNJ) is a unique not-for-profit corporation dedicated to raising awareness about local foster children who are available for adoption. Through the volunteer efforts of some of the country's most prestigious photographers, portraits are taken that help capture the individuality and spirit of each foster child. These photographs are then shared via the web and through gallery exhibits in the hope that potential families will be moved to inquire about adoption.
- In 2005, the Heart Gallery set the ambitious goal of taking portraits of 346 New Jersey foster children who were considered to be "hard to adopt" because of age, special needs or because they needed to be adopted with siblings. Within six months of the initial exhibit, the Heart Gallery web site received 23 million hits, garnered world wide press and generated thousands of inquiries at DYFS. To date, 97 of these children have been adopted. Another 34 children will have their adoptions finalized in the coming months and more adoptions will follow.
- In 2007, HGNJ will help draw attention to "100 Waiting Children." These children have lived in the foster care system for the longest period of time - many for most of their lives - and are hoping to be adopted before they "age out" of foster care and are left with no support system of any kind.
- More than 150 photographers and photo editors whose work has graced the covers and front pages of countless magazines and newspapers have donated their time and talents to the Heart Gallery. They include some of the world's finest phtotojournalists and portrait photographers, Pulitzer Prize and World Press winners, freelance and staff photographers.
- All the children featured in the Heart Gallery participated with the permission of the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), the state agency responsible for their care. The photographers involved follow guidelines set by DYFS and the Heart Gallery and meet with caseworkers responsible for the children chosen to be in the gallery.
- The Heart Gallery of New Jersey, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation incorporated in New Jersey on March 4, 2005 and registered in New Jersey as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
- The first public exhibit of the Heart Gallery portraits took place in June 2005 at the Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, N.J.
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June 16th, 2007
July 28th, 2005
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April 27, 2005
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