Open Hearts at Oceana is fast becoming one of the jewels of New York City fundraising events.
Open Hearts at Oceana raised over $32,000 for the support of young adults who are aging out of foster care. This will allow Hearts to Homes to expand services to another foster care agency! Stay tuned to our social media for an announcement about this new partnership. We thank everyone who supported this event for making it such a tremendous success.
Chris &Rick Trizano
Diane & John Vezza
Liz & Bill Kelly
Open Hearts at Oceana
RSVP by Friday, January 10, 2020
Online ticket sales are now closed.
No physical ticket is necessary. The names of all ticket purchasers will be available at the door for check-in. $50 of each ticket purchased is tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
The Grand Salon at Oceana
120 W 49th St (between 6th and 7th)
New York City
Chris & Rick Trizano
Diane & John Vezza
Liz & Bill Kelly
Sponsorship and underwriting opportunities are now closed. We thank the Gold and Silver sponsors, listed here, for their support. If you’d like to be a Hearts to Homes sponsor for an upcoming event, please email us!
Raffle and auction donations are now closed. We congratulate our winners and thank them for their support. We also thank those who donated raffle and auction items. Because of your support, we will be able to furnish more apartments for youth in need.
Hearts to Homes Furnishings 51 Lindbergh Place Yonkers, NY 10707
Gifts of Stock
Hearts to Homes is able to accept gifts of stock.
Please call Mary Theresa McCombe at 914-400-7193 for assistance in making such a transfer.
CORPORATE MATCHING GIFTS
Does your employer offer a matching gift program?
Please let us know if we can help you with any paperwork so that your gift to Hearts to Homes can be matched.
Hearts to Homes is listed on GuideStar.
Hearts to Homes Furnishings, Inc. is a New York State registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization. TIN 32-0542426
We thank our Open Hearts at Oceana volunteers for making the evening enjoyable for all in attendance.
Speech by Jeremiah Perez-Torres, a Hearts to Homes recipient, at the Open Hearts at Oceana Event January 16, 2020
It is an honor and privilege to be speaking with you all tonight.
This honor reminds me that I’ve come a long way. I left home at a young age because I didn’t have any other choice.
By the time I was 15 years old I was entirely on my own and over the next two years I moved at least 10 times. I stayed with friends, friends of friends, and even complete strangers. By this time, I was already in the foster care system, and while I connected with great people who wanted to help me, I still did not have any sense of true stability in my life.
I never expected to live past my 18th birthday. I was hanging out with the wrong crowd. Many of my friends didn’t make it. I was trying to survive on my own with no support.
I ended up going to four different high schools. I never considered college because I couldn’t really focus on studying, and my grades suffered. During my senior year of high school, I met a guidance counselor named Anna. She looked past my rough edges and D-minus grades and told me it wasn’t too late to get an education and carve out a better future.
We talked about college, and she
encouraged me to get more involved in activities and internships to make up for
my grades and improve my chances of admission. Anna gave me the push to believe
in myself – to better myself, and I took it from there.
I set out to change my whole life.
I got my act together and finished high school. I distanced myself from the
negative people around me. Although I knew it might get lonely, it was more
important to reinvent myself.
I enrolled at the Borough of
Manhattan Community College where I sat in the front row of all my classes and
soon became an honors student. In my spare time, I got involved on campus,
including mentoring incoming freshman as a Student Success Leader. BMCC opened
its doors for me and helped prepare me for my transfer to SUNY Buffalo State
At Buffalo State College I
continued thriving and became very involved on campus. I enjoyed working with
New York State Police in several capacities such as a student mediator and an
overnight patrol officer. Through all of my effort, I was fortunate enough to
receive a state-wide award from SUNY, the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student
Excellence. Reinventing myself finally paid off, and I graduated from Buffalo
State College with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and Intelligence
After graduating, I knew what I wanted
to do and had figured out several pathways to achieve my career goals. I was
accepted into the Criminology Doctoral Program at John Jay College of Criminal
Justice, where I am now in my third year and am a doctoral candidate. The work
I am doing for my PhD centers around counter-terrorism, de-radicalization and
war. This coupled with my work for different law enforcement agencies is
helping cement my future in the global security field.
When I was 16 years old, I completed
all of the paperwork and was put on a New York City housing list with a foster
care priority level. I was finally going to get a home. I mean, I knew I had to
wait, it was a wait list after all, nevertheless, it almost 7 years later that I
was finally told they had an apartment for me.
I had no family or support that I
could rely on during this process, and while I finally got the home that was
promised to me so long ago, I needed to make it my home and furnish it. This is
when I was introduced to Hearts to Homes. I worked with a few people to fill
out a registry and set up a delivery date. This was such an exciting process,
but I was hesitant to celebrate. With so many failed promises from my foster
care experience and the 7 year apartment waiting list, I feared that this
process would amount to nothing.
Hearts to Homes was the first time
that I was promised something and it was delivered. The process was easy,
straightforward, exciting, and it happened exactly as it was promised to me. The
mission of Hearts to Homes is simple yet so powerful. I encourage you all to
look at the mission statement online but I think the most accurate part of that
statement for me, in terms of the impact it had on me, was that it alleviated
stress associated with this process and it gave me someone to depend on. I was
provided with a fulfilled promise, a comfortable living environment and a
furnished home. Even with my struggle and success throughout the years, I finally
had a home to call my own that I did not have to directly associate with
homelessness, struggle, my school or job.
It really helps to surround yourself
with positive people who believe in you like a foster parent. Or a teacher. Or
an organization like Hearts to Homes that offers an invaluable opportunity to a
city’s forgotten children.
I’ll never forget receiving all of the
items on my registry from Hearts to Homes. It had everything a home needs. Unpacking all those boxes was such as
exciting time. It relieved a lot of stress and worry and has allowed me to be
successful and not worry about having living essentials and a place to call
home. Till this day I have everything that was given to me from that registry
and still use it all! One of my favorite things is the swivel chair where I sit
to give myself a brain break and twist in circles!
I want all of you to know how much I
appreciate you being here, your kindness, and the ways in which you have helped
foster youth who have aged out of care a place to call home. I encourage you to
support Hearts to Homes so that more young adults can be helped and Hearts to
Homes can expand to more agencies! Having a home in and of itself can help
individuals who have aged out of foster care turn their lives around and
succeed despite any negative circumstances they have encountered.
Thanks to you and Hearts to Homes, we
can make our dreams of a better future a reality. Because of you, we can leap
forward a few more steps. We can set ambitious goals. We can lift ourselves up
to a better place. We can have a place to call home, mend our hearts and
succeed. Because of you, we can do this.