Brookdale, Brown Are All About Hearts


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F.N. Brown students with Principal Dr. Anthony Lanzo and art teacher Joni Jasterzbski are (front, l-r) Matthew Steitz, Gael Gutierrez, Isabel Perez, and Fiona Church; (middle) Sean Maida, Harmonie Chang, Jaylyn Whelan, Tommy Sabo; (back) Troy Neumann, Leila Rose Marcillo-Gomez, Bryan McKeen and Sean Mulligan.

The students of F.N. Brown and Brookdale Avenue elementary schools annually participate in the Hearts of Hope program under the direction of their art teacher, Joni Jasterzbski, herself a Hearts of Hope recipient. Hearts of Hope is a program that distributes small, hand-painted, ceramic hearts to people struggling with illness.

Over the past five years, over 25,000 hearts have been distributed by Hearts of Hope, with almost 2,000 of those coming from Verona in the last three years alone. Each heart is designed by the children and accompanied by a personal note of encouragement from the artist.

Most of the hearts from Brookdale and F.N. Brown are delivered to patients at St. Barnabas and surrounding facilities during a special Valentine’s Day event.

Brookdale students with their art teacher are (front l-r) Danielle Thompson, Ryan Luberto, Bridget Lonsinger, Connor Robinson, Lucy Hogan, Andrew Herman; (back) Katie Romanyshyn, Emma Ramsthaler, Belinda Pecci, Jaime Hoimark, Ryan Stanisci, Patricia Dowd, Mack Gresham.

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