“In the midst of confusion and sadness, we come together to learn the powerful lesson of love.”

-Gavin, Victoria, and Jacquelyn

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These words were crafted by three young children who reacted to the most recent tragedy in Orlando, FL and they are inspiring thousands in Central Florida and around the country. After the senseless tragedy in Orlando, many of us have been left with so many feelings, that it is hard to do anything in the days following this horrific news. When tragedy strikes, it is easy to get engulfed in the details from many news outlets and the internet, but three children from Winter Garden, FL have decided to help in the only way they know how…with love. Guided by their parents, three siblings (Gavin, Victoria and Jacquelyn) created felt hearts with a small tag attached to them, and distributed them to people in and around the Orlando area.

The idea to hang the hearts, which has grown into a city-wide movement using the hashtags #hangaheart and #standwithorlando, was started by the three children themselves. Victoria said to her mom, Amanda, “I wish we had some money to donate to help.” Amanda let her children know that there are other ways to help that do not involve money. They organized a sit-down meeting. Jacquelyn had remembered that she took a sewing class where they learned to sew hearts not too long ago. Excitedly, she told her brother (Gavin) and her sister that they could make hearts and give them to people! With that, the idea was born and the kids stayed up all day that day and the next, sewing multi-colored hearts. The goal was simple; to spread love across Orlando and all of Central Florida.

Overwhelmingly proud of her children, Amanda crafted the message that would accompany the hearts and printed them out at a local printer. The movement started with 50 hearts, but soon grew to 100. They distributed the hearts by driving all over town to LGBTQ non-profit organizations, city organizations and even people on the street to spread the love. Hearts were left on small business’ doors and have been displayed proudly on social feeds all over facebook. Social media isn’t the only place where these hearts are going viral. One of the kids’ neighbors happens to be a manager at Pulse night club who happened to not be working the night of the incident. When he received his heart, he was so moved that he invited them to come to a private service with some of the Pulse workers and family members who lost their loved ones. The kids were overjoyed and ready to help. Once the mayor of the neighboring town of Oakland caught wind of the movement, she knew she wanted to help. She opened the doors to the Oakland Town Hall to host an event where the kids could invite community members to help build hearts to distribute at the service, but also at the memorial service that will be held in the coming days.

This type of overwhelmingly kind gesture is one that will never be forgotten. In a time of so much sadness, such an act of selflessness and love shines above everything else. The hearts being distributed one after the other, each a different color, symbolize the diversity in everyone’s heart. The children will continue to distribute hearts, but their generosity will continue on forever. May we all learn from Gavin, Victoria and Jacquelyn. For more information, please contact standwithorlando@gmail.com or visit Gavin, Victoria and Jacquelyn on their facebook page Hang A Heart With Gavin, Victoria and Jacquelyn.You can also follow them on Instagram by clicking HERE.

Cory Warren
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Cory Warren

Cory Warren is a husband, father of three, and vegan athlete who helps busy families eat more plant-based foods! His blog, Lean Green DAD, helps over-scheduled, busy people (mostly parents) maintain a healthy balance of plant-based nutrition, fitness, and overall wellness so they can go the extra mile for their families.
Cory Warren
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