The eleventh annual Hearts and Hands Gala will be held at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012 at Scotus Hall at Mount Alvernia on the campus of the Sisters of St. Francis, 146 Hawthorne Road in Millvale, Pa. This year’s event celebrates the work of young adults participating in the Change A Heart Franciscan Volunteer Program and those with whom they serve, as well as alumni. It will feature savory foods paired with complementary wines served by celebrity wine pourers, live and silent auctions featuring artwork created by sisters and local artists, live music, and more. Tickets are $50 and may be purchased online at www.changeaheartvolunteers.org.

Change A Heart was founded in 1999 by the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities as a way to pass on their values, increase services to the marginalized in western Pennsylvania, and inspire young men and women to serve in new and creative ways.

Change A Heart’s vision is to mentor young adults so they may develop skills to intentionally live out Gospel values of justice, peacemaking, hospitality, caring for the earth and all of creation. To do this, Change A Heart members commit to 12 months of service where they live together and are matched with a human service organization in Pittsburgh. Change A Heart members serve in fields such as healthcare, education and social services including but not limited to the areas of disaster relief, community outreach, case management and housing/shelter with children, youth, adults and seniors.

Proceeds from the event benefit the current largest group of members and those with whom they serve by providing resources such as food for shared meals together, transportation, health insurance, funds for curriculum or lesson planning at their service placement, living wage, professional development, and emotional and spiritual support through retreats and ongoing formation.

Change A Heart is the only program of its kind in southwestern Pennsylvania where members build relationships and directly engage with the most vulnerable populations in Pittsburgh. Since its inception in 1999, 53 members have served the needs of more than 61,735 vulnerable individuals through collaboration with 29 social service agencies.  “This program helped me open my eyes and my heart to be patient, flexible and compassionate in ways I didn’t think I could,” says a recent member. For more information, contact Kelly Caddy at kcaddy@sosf.org or 412.821.0861.
By: Kelly

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