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!