Hands Extended Across Reaching Together

The HISTORY of H.E.A.R.T. "continued"

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Breakfast was the catalyst for the growth of H.E.A.R.T. Organization, Inc.   For 38 years, this signature continues to gather the community and promote the need for social harmony by servicing those less fortunate.  The Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company of Albany, Georgia continues to be the corporate sponsor. 

On February 14, 2000, members of H.E.A.R.T. met and re-established its Mission and Vision.  The organization’s name was officially changed to H.E.A.R.T. Organization, Inc.  Elected officers were Anne Johnson Byrd, President; Rev. Rick Bready, Vice-President and Vince Marshall, Secretary.

From 2000-2005, the nation was being ravaged by tornadoes and hurricanes, with many evacuees relocating to the Southwest Georgia region. Local corporations and businesses sought to assist by providing merchandise for distribution to the evacuees.  Most of these businesses required the assisting organizations be non-profit organizations and 501(c) (3) certified.  H.E.A.R.T. received its non-profit status in January 2006.  Elected officers were Anne Johnson Byrd, President; Otis George, Vice-president; Milton Hall, Chief Financial Officer; and Juanita Brown, Secretary.  Board of Directors:  Mary Thomas, Lula Porter, Ruby Hayes, Robert Lewis, Gloria Garner, Eva Graham, Martha Corhen and Vince Marshall.

In November 2009, the organization broadened its vision to promote a healthier community by improving the activity and mobility in children.  Since that time, over 5,000 pair of new athletic shoes have been purchased and presented to Elementary-aged children with our "Shoes from the HEART" initiative. Physical inactivity of children has shown to be a serious cause of obesity.  H.E.A.R.T. has partnered with local elementary schools to provide athletic footwear for the 82% of children who face economic exclusion, homelessness, lack of access to play areas, mental and physical disability, as well as, lack of parental involvement. For some children in our area, an adequate pair of shoes determines whether they participate in physical education, after-school athletic programs or become the victim of mocking episodes. Our "Shoes from the HEART" initiative focus on physical Education and athletic programs such as basketball, football, soccer, tennis and cheer-leading help promote leadership, discipline, good citizenship, and good sportsmanship. Sports are used as a platform to transmit a message to fight obesity.  We also want to help advance education, combat juvenile delinquency and improve the personal development of a child (self-esteem, perseverance, empowerment, etc.).

 

 


In 2010, The MLK Community Mass Choir was organized under the capable direction of Bishop J. Nathan Paige.  This 75-piece group consists of Pastors, Business Leaders, Students, Ministers of Music, Church Choir Members, Recording Artists and Musicians from across the State of Georgia.


While the MLK Breakfast has been a vehicle for people from all walks of life to come together in an effort to unite the community in honor of Dr. King, it only represents a small portion of HEART’s mission.  For over 38 years, the organization has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for low-income, distressed and/or underprivileged residents in Southwest Georgia.  The financial and in-kind assistance provided is made a reality through personal dedication and donations, as well as, contributions from the general public, civic organizations, local businesses, and churches.  Some of the causes include: 


● Responding to natural or man-made disasters and other emergencies requiring humanitarian relief. 


● Providing assistance to low-income and underprivileged youth (K-5th Grade), which includes buying and distributing school supplies, school uniforms; purchasing and distributing shoes and clothing; and participating in school programs (School-based Health Care Council Board, After-school Mentoring Program {5th Grade Girls}, Career Days, Read Across America, Motivational Speaking, etc.).

● Partnering with local schools in our "Mentorship" initiative to provide assistance to those in need; advance education; and combat juvenile delinquency.

● Providing assistance to our "Eldercare" initiative to low-income and elderly citizens with such things as food, clothing, shelter, medicine; purchasing air conditioners for the needy; helping build Habitat for Humanity homes; helping rebuild homes after natural or man-made disasters such as the floods of 1994 and 1998 in Albany, GA; cleanup after the  tornadoes in 2000 in Camilla, GA; donations to the American Red Cross for the 2004 Tsunamis victims; donations to the Katrina Hurricane survivors in 2005; financial and in-kind donations to numerous fire victims, Salvation Army, Albany Rescue Mission, 2009 Haiti Relief, 2010 City-wide Back-to-School Youth Summit Director, 2012 Snapshots of Success Back-to-School Youth Summit, etc., 2015 summer enrichment program and 2017 tornadoes in Albany, GA.

H.E.A.R.T. Organization, Inc. is a volunteer organization, and the following individuals have worked unselfishly as major volunteers over the years:  Bishop J. Nathan Paige, Ann Weathers, Wayne Pollock, Geraldine Hudley, Tammye Jones, Brenda Blackshear, Beverly Thomas, Zandria Thomas, Jeanette Johnson, Dr. Kenya Lemon, Allison Kelly, Wilbert Moore, Barbara Marshall, Martha Corhen, Robert Lewis and Gloria J. Johnson, website administrator and desktop program designer.