About HEART

Vision

H.E.A.R.T. Organization, Inc. envisions a community where all individuals and families reach their full potential through education and healthy life styles.

Mission

Our aim is to continuously provide services that improve the lives of economically and socially challenged individuals and families in Southwest Georgia.

Goals

In 2011, H.E.A.R.T. Organization, initiated a seven year program designed to achieve the following by 2018.

Influence healthy life styles through improved activity and mobility in children by supplying athletic foot ware.

Help to improve school attendance.

Encourage high self esteem through education by hosting Youth Summits, Leadership Workshops, Cultural Awareness Events and Life Skills Training.

With community support, implement Shoes from the HEART in our other services counties: Baker,Calhoun, Clay, Colquitt, Early, Grady, Lee, Miller, Mitchell, Randolph, Terrell and Worth.


Our Values

Our values are what bind us together as a corporation:  Integrity, Trust, Ownership, Commitment, and Perseverance.
These values, combined with focus on the community, our people, and our services, are what make HEART unique.

Our Principles

Our principles are enduring expressions of our values; they guide how we think and act.  Love for our community is the foundation of our success.  We depend on the community, and the community depends on us. 

Historical Info

In 1980, a group of concerned employees of The Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company of Albany, Georgia combined their efforts to keeping the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. alive by recognizing the need for this great country and community to come together in true fellowship and love.  They organized H.E.A.R.T. (Hands Extended Across Reaching Together) to assist those who are in underprivileged and low income situations within the community. 

H.E.A.R.T. held its first Commemorative Breakfast at Shoney’s East Restaurant in Albany, Georgia in 1980.  Due to an increase in the number of people desiring to attend the breakfast, Albany State (College) University was chosen as the new site and remained so through 1988.  Interest in the annual service increased within the Albany community to the point where an even larger and more appropriate place was needed to accommodate the Service.  In 1989, the Service and Commemorative Breakfast were moved to the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Family Center with continued sponsorship of the P&G Family. The Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company of Albany, Georgia became the Corporate Sponsor of the MLK Commemorative Breakfast in 1989 and continues to be its sole sponsor.  In 1999, the Services were moved into the Sanctuary of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, with the Breakfast being held in the Church’s Family Center.  Again, this move was due to an overwhelming growth in attendance.

H.E.A.R.T. original members included:  Pervis Bearden, Clint Melton, Lula Porter, Mary Thomas, Johnnie Armstrong, Rick Bready, Cynthia Singleton Douglas, Willie “Bucky” Washington, Willie Richardson, Carolyn Steps, and Clint Lewis. 

Although the Breakfast began with a small group of concerned employees of Procter & Gamble in 1980, it has since catapulted to occupying one of the largest facilities in Albany, Georgia (Mt. Zion Baptist Church) and commanding its own 75-member MLK Community Mass Choir.  It is attended and supported by local and state leaders, civic organizations, businesses and residents throughout the Southwest Georgia area. They see this event as an opportunity to commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while supporting an organization that has proven to be fiducially responsible in helping those in need.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Breakfast was the catalyst for the growth of H.E.A.R.T. Organization, Inc.   For 34 years, this signature continues to gather the community and promote the need for social harmony by servicing those less fortunate.  The Procter & Gamble Paper Products Company of Albany, Georgia continues to be the corporate sponsor. 

On February 14, 2000, members of H.E.A.R.T. met and re-established its Mission and Vision.  The organization’s name was officially changed to H.E.A.R.T. Organization, Inc.  Elected officers were Anne Johnson Byrd, President; Rev. Rick Bready, Vice-President and Vince Marshall, Secretary. 

From 2000-2005, the nation was being ravaged by tornadoes and hurricanes, with many evacuees relocating to the Southwest Georgia region. Local corporations and businesses sought to assist by providing merchandise for distribution to the evacuees.  Most of these businesses required the assisting organizations be non-profit organizations and 501(c) (3) certified.  H.E.A.R.T. received its non-profit status in January 2006.  Elected officers were Anne Johnson Byrd, President; Otis George, Vice-president; Milton Hall, Chief Financial Officer; and Juanita Brown, Secretary.  Board of Directors:  Mary Thomas, Lula Porter, Ruby Hayes, Robert Lewis, Gloria Garner, Eva Graham, Martha Corhen and Vince Marshall.

In November 2009, the organization broadened its vision to promote a healthier community by improving the activity and mobility in children.  Since that time, over 2,300 pair of new athletic shoes have been purchased and presented to Elementary-aged children with our Shoes from the HEART initiative. Physical inactivity of children has shown to be a serious cause of obesity.  H.E.A.R.T. has partnered with local elementary schools to provide athletic footwear for the 82% of children who face economic exclusion, homelessness, lack of access to play areas, mental and physical disability, as well as, lack of parental involvement. For some children in our area, an adequate pair of shoes determines whether they participate in physical education, after-school athletic programs or become the victim of mocking episodes. Physical Education and athletic programs such as basketball, football, soccer, tennis and cheer-leading help promote leadership, discipline, good citizenship, and good sportsmanship. Sports are used as a platform to transmit a message to fight obesity.  We also want to help advance education, combat juvenile delinquency and improve the personal development of a child (self-esteem, perseverance, empowerment, etc.)

In 2010, The MLK Community Mass Choir was organized under the capable direction of Bishop J. Nathan Paige.  This 75-piece group consists of Pastors, Business Leaders, Students, Ministers of Music, Church Choir Members, Recording Artists and Musicians from across the State of Georgia.


While the MLK Breakfast has been a vehicle for people from all walks of life to come together in an effort to unite the community in honor of Dr. King, it only represents a small portion of HEART’s mission.  For over 30 years, the organization has worked tirelessly to improve the quality of life for low-income, distressed and/or underprivileged residents in Southwest Georgia.  The financial and in-kind assistance provided is made a reality through personal dedication and donations, as well as, contributions from the general public, civic organizations, local businesses, and churches.  Some of the causes include:

● Responding to natural or man-made disasters and other emergencies requiring humanitarian relief.

● Providing assistance to low-income and underprivileged youth (K-5th Grade), which includes buying and distributing school supplies, school uniforms; purchasing and distributing shoes and clothing; and participating in school programs (School-based Health Care Council Board, After-school Mentoring Program {5th Grade Girls}, Career Days, Read Across America, Motivational Speaking, etc.)

● Partnering with local schools to provide assistance to those in need; advance education; and combat juvenile delinquency.

● Providing assistance to low-income and elderly citizens with such things as food, clothing, shelter, medicine; purchasing air conditioners for the needy; helping build Habitat for Humanity homes; helping rebuild homes after natural or man-made disasters such as the floods of 1994 and 1998 in Albany, GA;  cleanup after the  tornados in 2000 in Camilla, GA; donations to the American Red Cross for the 2004 Tsunamis victims; donations to the Katrina Hurricane survivors in 2005; financial and in-kind donations to numerous fire victims, Salvation Army, Albany Rescue Mission, 2009 Haiti Relief, 2010 City-wide Back-to-School Youth Summit Director, 2012 Snapshots of Success Back-to-School Youth Summit, etc.

H.E.A.R.T. Organization, Inc. is a volunteer organization, and the following individuals have worked unselfishly as major volunteers over the years:  Bishop J. Nathan Paige, Ann Weathers, Wayne Pollock, Geraldine Hudley, Tammye Jones, Rosalind Martin, Brenda Blackshear, Beverly Thomas, Zandria Thomas, Jeanette Johnson, Dr. Kenya Lemon, Allison Kelly, Geneva Fields, and Kenneth Florence.

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