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Using the power of photos for good

Finding foster homes for New York City’s older children is far more difficult than finding placement for younger children or babies.
In an effort to tackle this problem and show potential foster parents that older children can be just as desirable as little ones, foster care agencies are tapping into the power of visuals by displaying photos of these children at public places.
On Thursday, August 14, a collection of such photos featuring about 80 kids was displayed on the first floor of the Macy’s wing at Queens Center Mall, located at 90-15 Queens Boulevard.
The photos will stay there until mid-September, said Laurie Sherman Graff, executive director of Heart Gallery NYC, the organization that photographed the children and displayed the pictures. Heart Gallery NYC is a not-for-profit that works with foster care agencies on raising awareness about children that need adoption.
“If you look at that kid [in the photo], it reaches out to you,” Graff said.
The idea is to shatter myths: “People sometimes are fearful of taking a teenager in their home; they’re afraid they won’t be able to control them,” Graff explained.
If somebody is interested in a particular child after seeing their photo in the mall, Heart Gallery NYC can refer them to Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York, an organization providing adoption and other services, where the prospective parents can receive parental training.
“We are hoping to recruit at least 200 foster parents,” said Tanisha Washington, director of home finding and intake at Little Flower.
The Heart Gallery collection travels to different popular city locations such as Penn Station and Grand Central Station.
This method works because over the past year Heart Gallery has referred hundreds of prospective parents to different foster care agencies for parenthood training, Graff explained.

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