When asked to choose a charity to donate the nearly $1,000 raised during this year’s Homecoming Week, Brunswick High School student Daniel Williams chose an organization close to his heart.
Williams, who currently holds the title of Brunswick High homecoming king, selected Heart Gallery of Georgia, an organization that advocates for children in the foster care system, as this year’s beneficiary.
Balancing a hat bearing the Heart Gallery logo on top of his Homecoming crown, Williams presented the founder of Heart Gallery of Georgia with a check for $940 on Wednesday.
The Heart Gallery of Georgia is a multimedia exhibit that aims to help connect foster children in Georgia with families looking to adopt.
“The ones that we service are usually those that have waited over five years, are part of larger sibling groups that we’re trying to keep together or are older kids,” said Ally Christianson, founder and director of the Heart Gallery of Georgia. “So that’s why it’s so great that kids this age are helping and supporting them. Because they’re high school kids just like them.”
The organization uses the power of photography and videography to advocate for Georgia’s children in the foster system.
Williams said he chose Heart Gallery of Georgia because his mother had personal experience living in an adoption home.
“My mom, she’s familiar with the Heart Gallery. She’s told me a lot about it,” Williams said.
Over the five days of homecoming week, all nine homecoming king contestants carried mason jars around school and asked their fellow students to donate.
At the end of the week, they’d raised $940, to be donated to a charity of the eventual king’s choosing.
“I told everyone that it’s just for the kids, not for us,” Williams said.
The Heart Gallery of America is a collaboration of more than 120 Heart Galleries across the United States.
Each year, children are nominated to be featured in the exhibit, and they are invited to a Day of Hope program, where they take part in therapeutic, recreational activities.
At the event, professional multimedia teams volunteer to take photos and videos to add to the galleries, which are displayed online at www.heartgalleryofga.org.
“It’s a much needed resource,” Christianson said. “This is a problem that a lot of people don’t really know exists in the state of Georgia.”
The money donated by Brunswick High will sponsor galleries for six children, Christianson said.
“I was really just honored and especially touched that it was teenagers that were interested in investing in the life of their peers,” she said.