HARRISBURG , Pa., Nov. 22 -- A photo exhibit featuring thepersonal stories of Pennsylvania children who are waiting to be adopted arrived in State College today as part of a statewide tour.
The Pennsylvania Heart Gallery, which features portraits and biographies of 50 children from 17 counties throughout the state, will be on display at the Nittany Mall until Dec. 19 . The gallery includes the portraits of two children from Blair and Somerset counties who are among the more than 3,000 Pennsylvania children waiting to be adopted.
"There are thousands of children in Pennsylvania whose greatest wish is tobecome a part of a loving, nurturing family," said Department of Public Welfare Secretary Estelle B. Richman. "It is my sincere hope that the compelling images and stories of the Heart Gallery will inspire families allacross Pennsylvania to welcome these children into their homes."
The Pennsylvania Heart Gallery is intended to raise awareness of the manychildren who are without permanent homes and to encourage Pennsylvanians to adopt them. Photographers from across the state donated their services to create portraits that spotlight each child in a unique and personal way. Each photo is accompanied by a detailed profile of the featured child, including information about his or her interests, personality and dreams for the future.Visit //www.adoptpakids.org to view all of the portraits and profiles.
During its statewide tour, the exhibit has visited locations in Harrisburg , Altoona, Pittsburgh , York, Erie, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre,with more stops planned. As each child is adopted, a special sticker is placedon his or her portrait and since the exhibit's launch, 17 children have had stickers placed on their portraits. When the exhibit has completed its travels, the portrait will be given to the adoptive family as a keepsake.
Across the United States , more than 500,000 children are living in fostercare. There are an estimated 20,000 children living in foster care in Pennsylvania and more than 3,400 children are waiting to be adopted.
"Every child in Pennsylvania deserves to have a place they can call home,"added Secretary Richman. "We cannot let these children down. Their future is our legacy."
The Pennsylvania Heart Gallery was developed by the Statewide Adoption andPermanency Network, which operates under contract with the Department of Public Welfare.
The Heart Gallery concept was developed in 2001 in New Mexico . The first National Heart Gallery exhibit opened in Washington, D.C. in November 2005.
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