Monday, May 24, 2010

Mended Little Hearts Convention

Before I share about the MLH Convention, I guess I should share some info on how we are associated with them.

Hearts of Hope has been trying to become non-profit for some time now. We have tried to do it a number of different ways and it just wasn't working out. Imagine my excitement when I found Mended Little Hearts online! They are a national group with chapters all over the country. Their mission is to provode hope and support to children, families and caregivers impacted by congenital heart defects in order to extend and improve quality of life. They provide national support, training and many resources and materials to group leaders. And they provide each group with a tax ID number and file and pay for state paperwork. It is perfect for us!

So, we decided to charter with them and I actually brought our paperwork with me to convention this weekend. This year's convention was held in Bloomington, Minnesota. All of the training and information was so helpful! I found the discussions on new group development,
fundraising and visitor training to be the most helpful. I am excited to partner with Mended Hearts groups in my area as well.

This weekend was a great learning opportunity, but also a great time to meet and network with many other heart moms and dads who are leaders in their groups. I was able to make some new friends in different parts of the country who understand what it's like to try and run a group and take care of your family. More than once during the convention I realized that everyone in the room had at least one heart child. And that each of them represented many more families from their hometown. There were some difficult topics covered, including bereavement and guiding your teen and young adult with CHD. Overall, it was a great experience and I am so glad to be considered a member of Mended Little Hearts. I am looking forward to convention next year!

My hotel room--it was very nice, though I didn't spend much time in it.

While most of the weekend was consumed with planned activities, I did have a little bit of time to visit the Mall of America.

Me and Woody at the Lego store

"Hearty" and some of the CA leaders

Lisa, me and Amanda-my new friends from the Fresno chapter

Jen, Amy, Jim, me and Jen--my new friends from NY

Amanda and me-my new friend from FL

Saturday night we had a sports theme, with karaoke. We had a great time!

And, I got to meet Megan and Elijah on my visit. Megan was so sweet and offered to pick me up from the airport on Friday and drive me to Medtronic, which proved to be a longer drive than either of us anticipated! Then she picked me up from the hotel on Sunday and we visited the MOA before she and Elijah dropped me off at the airport. Elijah is such a sweet boy, I loved listening to him say "Hi" to me again and again. Thank you so much Megan! It was great to meet you in person!


Amber said...

I'm SO jealous! Not only because you got to "hang" with Megan...but because Megan got to squeeze you! were half way to my should have kept going. ;0)

Frizzy and Bird said...

Wow! What an amazing trip and experience. If I know you at all you won the hearts of many and made huge strides toward accomplishing your goals last weekend. Hugs and thanks for you and all you do.

The Portas said...

I LOVED meeting you and I am so glad you had such a positive experience at the MLH convention. It was wonderful to be able to chat with you and hang out with you a bit. Next time I must meet those beautiful little ones!

Lindsay said...

I'm amazed at you. You have shown once again your selfless side in wanting to help families so much. That is so awesome what you are doing for the support group. I still don't know how you do ALL that you do!

Amy, Steve, Molly, Paige and Garrett said...

Further proof to me how God redeems all pains and trials for good... if we let Him. And I'm so happy to watch you let Him.

Stefenie said...

Hi! I found your blog through Adventures of a Funky Heart.

My three year old son was born with five CHDs: D-TGA, DORV, VSD, Pulmonary Stenosis and a Right Aortic Arch. He too has endured three open heart surgeries already and has a conduit from his RV to PA.

I agree with your comment on Steve's latest blog post that our children should not be taught to ever be ashamed of their scars. I always take off my son's shirt at the pools and have actually met other heart moms that way. Our children should be proud of the things that they have overcome. Those are badges of courage and honor that they wear on their chest.

I have a blog if you want to stop by

Kacie said...

that's awesome andrea! so glad you found that group and that your group will be able to be a chapter of theirs - perfect!

Hazel Nut said...

Those are some great pictures! My camera decided not to work that weekend, so annoying!

I had such a great time that weekend, I wish it could have been longer. I can not wait until next years convention, we have been planning it already, lol.

Mended Little Hearts of Charlottesville