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PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEE
 
REALTORS® HAVE A HEART FOR KIDS
LITCHFIELD COUNTY BOARD OF REALTORS, INC. PROGRAM
 ANNUAL FEBRUARY PROGRAM
 
 

 

During our 2011 Annual Meeting Torrington Area Department of Children & Families (DCF) Office Director Vannessa Dorantes discussed the importance of the REALTORS® Have a Heart for Kids Program and how it has directly impacted children in the Connecticut foster care system in the Litchfield County Area.  Please take the time to watch this video to learn how the lives of children in Connecticut's foster care system are improved from the proceeds of the REALTORS® Have a Hearts for Kids Program.
 

How the program began: The Public Relations Committee members of Litchfield County Board of REALTORS®, Inc.  heard of a  program called "Suitcases for Kids" which was part of a national effort to make a difference in the lives of children in foster care. We contacted local agencies in our area to inquire if they had a need for the suitcases;  we were told that they had many suitcases but had nothing to put in them.  One of our Board Members who took in foster children confirmed that these children arrived at times, with nothing!  With that in mind, the Committee decided to “compliment” the “Suitcases for Kids” program with “REALTORS® Have A Heart For Kids”.  They set out to collect gift cards to stores like Wal-Mart, Stop & Shop and Kmart to give to DCF to enable them to purchase items the children would need. 

The gift cards are donated to the Department of Children and Families. DCF uses them to create various age appropriate placement packs, to have on hand for immediate use, consisting of clothing, health and beauty aid products, toys, personal items, etc. and a “few” goodies to comfort an abused/neglected child through the trauma of entering a strange, new environment, often at a moment's notice, into the emergency care of foster families within twenty four Litchfield County towns.

The suggestion to donate gift cards, not money, for the REALTORS® Have a Heart for Kids program was made by Sandy a DCF Social Work Case Aide, in the Torrington DCF office on Kennedy Drive.  She made this suggestion because of the strict procedures DCF workers must follow regarding the release of State funds.   Any gift cards donated to their office would be readily available for immediate use by DCF workers, enabling the creation of placement packs ahead of time for immediate use when an emergency situation develops, versus waiting for the release of funds from the State.
 

GIFT CARD CONTRIBUTIONS

2016     $2,840.00

2015     $2,375.00

2014     $2,687.00

2013     $2,675.00

2012     $2,041.00

2011     $1,890.00

2010     $1,306.00

2009     $2,020.00

2008     $2,305.00

2007     $2,327.74

2006     $1,460.00
 

We received the following thank you letter from a DCF client that benefited from some of the proceeds raised by our Public Relations Committee 2010 REALTORS® Have a Heart for Kids Program:

July 1, 2010

Hello! I am a young mom getting my first apartment to be reunited with my son. Thanks to your help, I am off to a much better start.  Sandy took me shopping and helped me buy a lot of essentials.  This is much appreciated, and such a big help with getting me started in my new apartment.  Thank you so much!

Sincerely,
S.

We received the following comments from Sandy (DCF) regarding the thank you letter and how  other DCF clients have been helped by the program.

Hi Marilyn, 

Nice, I’m so glad she sent a thank you. She was so thankful!  She worked really hard.  This is the second single mom in the last two months that I was able to help set up with reunification of their child, all because of you all.  Just this morning a worker asked for things for a newly born set of twins.  Within a couple of minutes a diaper bag full of essentials and little extras were provided!  VERY AWESOME!                

Sandy

 

Sandy, a Social Worker Case Aide, provided the following list of accomplishments DCF has made with the proceeds from the "REALTORS® Have a Heart for Kids" program.
 

  • I have been able to put together clothes for both genders for winter and summer clothing.  One outfit in every size.
  • PJ's socks, underwear - Every size
  • We have purchased diaper bags, back packs for placements, children can reuse for school.
  • We have a package of every size diaper on hand.
  • We have a variety of health care products on hand for all ages including African American/bi-racial children.
  • Comfort items examples; teethers, rattles, stuffed animals, journals, flash lights, blankets, etc.
  • We now have snacks such as Cheerios, pretzels, applesauce and fruit snacks.  We also have juice boxes, toddler graduates, Chef Boyardee for older children, and a few jars of Beech Nut baby food in a cabinet.  When removals happen and the children are brought in hungry we have something on hand to give them. 
  • We have been able to help families with providing gift cards to Stop & Shop.  Sometimes parents just need a little help to get over the bump in their path.
  • We are able to replenish items as needed, due to the "REALTORS® Have a Heart for Kids" program.
  • And as new needs arise, we are able to meet those needs.

The above picture is of some of the items purchased by DCF with the gift cards donated from our 2008 "REALTORS® Have a Heart for Kids" program.   
 

The above picture is of some of the items purchased by DCF with the gift cards donated from our 2008 "REALTORS® Have a Heart for Kids" program. 
 


2015 Gift Card Presentation

Back Row L to R: Diana Christinat PRC Member;
 Marco Merati, PRC Member;  Jeff Geddes, PRC Member;
Chris Kell, PRC Member; S Larson, PRC Member

Front Row L to R: Rayenette Riddick, Supervisor for Adolescence Unit, DCF;
Linda Hull, PRC Chair; Sandra Ruscoe, Social Worker Case Aid; DCF;
Jennifer-Ives Groebl, PRC Member

Gift Card Presentation Video
 


2014 Gift Card Presentation

L to R: Marco Merati, PRC Member; Jeff Geddes, PRC Member;
Linda Hull, Public Relations Committee Chair; Sandra Ruscoe,
Social Worker Case Aide, DCF; Lisa Sexton, Program Manager, DCF

Gift Card Presentation Video
 


2013 Gift Card Presentation

Back Row: Jeff Geddes, PRC Member

Front Row L to R: Kim Woodruff, PRC Member; Sandra Ruscoe, Social Worker Case Aide, DCF; Linda Hull Public Relations Committee Ch.;  Vannessa Dorantes, Torrington Area Office Director, DCF;  Lindsay Warner, PRC Member

Gift Card Presentation Video

 


2012 Gift Card Presentation

Back Row L to R: Lindsay Warner, PRC Member; Ellie Peterson,
PRC Member; Jeff Geddes, PRC Member; Suzie Tripodina, PRC Member;
Janet Alexander, PRC Member

Front Row L to R: Linda Hull Public Relations Committee Ch.; Sandra Ruscoe, Social Worker Case Aide, DCF; Vannessa Dorantes, Torrington Area Office Director, DCF; Heather Kelley, PRC Member; Toni Osterhout, PRC Member

Gift Card Presentation Video
 


Gift of Appreciation Presented by DCF

L to R: Sandra Ruscoe, Social Worker Case Aide, DCF; Linda Hull Public Relations Committee Ch.; Vannessa Dorantes, Torrington Area Office Director, DCF
 


2011 GIFT CARD PRESENTATION

L to R: Janet Alexander, Public Relations Committee Member; Toni Osterhout, Public Relations Committee Member; Linda Hull, Public Relations Committee Chair; Sandra Ruscoe, DCF Social Worker Case Aid; Vannessa Dorantes, M.S.W., Torrington Area DCF Office Director; Barbara Tingley, Public Relations Committee Member; Cindy Donaldson, Public Relations Committee Member. 

Gift Card Presentation Video
 


2010 Presentation of Gift Cards

L to R: Kim D'Andrea, PRC Member; Maria Bonetti, PRC Member; Sandra Ruscoe, DCF Social Work Case Aide; Linda Hull, PRC Chair; Susan Tripodina, PRC Member; Jessica Noel, M.S.W, DCF Social Work Supervisor; Serena Weld Granbery, PRC Member.

Gift Card Presentation Video
 


2009 Presentation of Gift Cards

L to R: Kim D’Andrea, Public Relations Committee Member; Linda Hull, Public Relations Committee Chair; Sandra Ruscoe; DCF Social Work Case Aide; Kevin Knox, DCF Investigative Program Supervisor; Colleen Platt, Public Relations Committee Member; Maria Bonetti, Public Relations Committee Member
 

2008 Gift Card Collection
L to R: Kim D'Andrea, Public Relations Committee Member; Linda Hull Public Relations Committee Chair
 
 


2008 Presentation of Gift Cards

Back: Kevin Knox, DCF Program Supervisor - L to R Front Row: Kim Trumbull, Public Relations Committee Member; Maria Bonetti, Public Relations Committee Member; Nadia Corvo, Public Relations Committee Member;  Sandra Ruscoe, DCF Social Work Case Aide; Sharon Pelkey, Public Relations Committee Member; Kim D'Andrea, Public Relations Committee Member
 

One of the many Certificates of Appreciation the Department of Children and Families has presented to the Public Relations Committee for the "REALTORS® Have a Heart of Kids" program.
 

2007 Gift Card Collection
L to R: Lance Eichner, Public Relations Committee Member, Linda Hull Public Relations Committee Chair
 


2007 Presentation of Gift Cards

L to R: Kim D'Andrea, Public Relations Committee Member; Myra Helt, DCF Program Supervisor;  Sandra Ruscoe, DCF Social Work Case Aide; Nadia Corvo, Public Relations Committee Member; Meg Toro, Public Relations Committee Member
 


2006 Presentation of Gift Cards

L to R: Janet Alexander, Public Relations Committee Chair; Domingo Lazu, DCF Program Supervisor Quality Assurance; Sandra Ruscoe; DCF Social Work Case Aide; Ted Murphy, LCBR President; Linda Hull; Public Relations Committee Member