Messages of hope and support to those in need will continue to come from Cooperstown thanks to the efforts of two local residents.
Judy Pedersen, the founder and executive director of the nonprofit group Hearts of Hope, will be moving from Cooperstown this week along with her husband. The organization is a nationwide group of volunteers organized to create and distribute hearts with messages of hope, according to its website.
But a Cooperstown chapter has been established by Pedersen’s neighbors, Deb Dolan, and her 16-year-old daughter, Emmy.
Emmy began helping the organization about two years ago, organizing the Leo Club of junior Lions Club volunteers to decorating clay hearts and add inspirational messages, Dolan said. Emmy was not available for comment at deadline Tuesday.
Dolan said in addition to being a worthwhile cause, Hearts of Hope has helped her daughter grow.
“People are looking for ways to help others,” she said. “This provides a perfect opportunity.”
Dolan said the new chapter — the organization’s sixth — is looking for volunteers for painting parties to get the work done. They will start with small groups and rely on word of mouth and social media to spread the word.
Pedersen, through her work as a social worker, said she saw the impact of the clay hearts, both for those who receive them as well as those who make them.
Knowing there will be a (Cooperstown) chapter is “indescribable,” she said.
“It’s been wonderful to see Emmy blossom,” and gather volunteers in her leadership role. She is also “one of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met.” The two are “an awesome mother-daughter team.”
More information on the group is available on its Facebook page at Hearts of Hope of Cooperstown, NY, or by email to the main organization at info@ourheartsof hope.org.