Big Brothers Big Sister supporters wear hearts on sleeves

Published 1:18 am Monday, March 3, 2014

Area residents turned out in force at the Upstairs Art Space Friday, Feb. 14, wearing their hearts on their sleeves. And it wasn’t just because it was Valentine’s Day.

They were eagerly placing what they hoped would be winning bids on more than 100 hand-crafted hearts at the culmination of the third annual Have A HeART For Big Brothers Big Sisters fundraiser.

“Over 70 artists contributed hearts for sale in support of this year’s effort,” said Polk BBBS Coordinator Karen Dacey, who added she could not be more pleased with the turnout, especially in light of the snowy weather leading up to it.

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A packed room of visitors browsed the art and munched on heaping tray of hors d’oeuvres and desserts donated and carefully prepared by Big Sister Sue Anderson with much help from Little Sister Nathalie.

Marsha Van Hecke, one of this year’s successful bidders, was thrilled with the price, quality and symbolism of the heart she won.

It was handcrafted by Phyllis Peterson and entitled “Swinging on a Star.”

“We are giving it as a wedding present to our son and his fiancé,” Van Hecke said. “We’ve bid on several hearts over the years, but are especially thrilled because this particular one is so appropriate for a wedding gift, with two empty swings waiting to be occupied under a starry sky.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national non-profit organization that matches children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally-supported, mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better.

With Dacey at the helm, BBBS has been active in Polk County for 11 years and has provided the benefit of a one-to-one mentoring relationship to more than 300 children, with some matches still lasting after ten years.

These programs are made possible through the service of numerous local volunteers, generous supporters and strategic grants from the Polk County Community Foundations and others.

“Why not visit our webpage at and learn what this nationwide non-profit does in our area and regionally,” Dacey suggests. “There are many ways to volunteer in addition to signing up to be a Big Brother or Big Sister.”

For more information, call BBBS at 828-859-9230.


-article submitted by 

Reen Smith