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What People Are Saying

“I am finding it difficult to put into words the impact you and your organization have made on the students of P.S. 52. Traditionally, P.S. 52 is a school that is committed to Project Based Learning, a true champion of the arts in education, and an advocate of character education. Your organization and the Garden in Transit project represented the best of all of that! Our students are still talking about the experience. They have all said that it was the most fun day they ever spent in school (I have to agree with them!). You raised their social consciousness, but more importantly, you gave them a voice. Thank you for allowing our school to be part of this very special endeavor. Your visit has left an enduring impact on all the students, parents, and teachers who were lucky enough to be involved. I thought you would like to know the far-reaching effect you have had on us.”

Linda Gerecitano, Educator, P.S. 52, New York

"Asked what participating in Garden in Transit means to him, the author wasted no words. 'It gives me purpose. It gives meaning to my existence."

William Nichols , accident survivor, brain injury Head Injury Association, as reported in Daily News

"I met you at I.S. 125. I was very moved by the whole Portraits of Hope program and to be a part of the Garden in Transit project has left an incredible lasting impression on me. I think about it daily and will never look at a yellow taxi cab the same way again! I was honored to take part in your project with class 722. Together with the children we still talk about our experience. I teach Math and we continued the excitement and developed a "Math in the City" bulletin board...and the kids put taxi related math word problems on them. It came out marvelous. Thank you so much again for the opportunity to be part of such a wonderful program! Finally, it is in the back of my head to possibly volunteer for your program in the summer when school is out; I can't express to you enough how moved I was by the experience."

"I wish to thank you for the extraordinary achievement you bestowed upon the students at I.S. 125. You made every youngster who participated feel like the most gifted artist in the world! It was an amazing feat! It was the perfect confluence of creativity, social awareness, and civic participation. It encompassed so many skills simultaneously - skills which we try to emphasize here everyday. I have taught at 125 for more than 22 years and I don't recall days where experts and leaders from the outside community succeeded so perfectly and beautifully."

Rosalie Wonka , Nadine Feingold , Educators, IS 125Q, New York

"This would be the highlight of our year. Our kids are very interested in making a difference in the world, and we think this is the coolest thing we've ever seen!"

Judy Morehead , Educator, P.S. 6, New York

"I am going to be visiting New York from March 8th until March 14 th and I would like to know if there's a way I can be part of this great project."

Randy Vazquez
, Volunteer, San Juan, Puerto Rico

"I just saw your program for the New York taxis in our local newspaper and was wondering if you have anything coming up in the Sarasota, FL area. You have come up with a fabulous program and I think it's great that the most mobile symbol of New York will be getting a facelift with the help of kids hands. What a way to beautify one of the most incredible cities of our nation! I'm a transplanted New Yorker and wish we could participate."

Celeste Schroeder , Parent, Sarasota, Florida  

I would love to involve my students in this project. My students are highly motivated, creative, accelerated 5th graders. I teach in a Title I school with very few enriching programs. A project like this would be so wonderful for my students to experience.”

Heather Murdock, Educator, P.S. 70, New York

“This is one of the best special projects ever conducted at our hospital and we look forward to a return visit. The experience for patients, families, and staff was wonderful.”

Gloria Mattera, Bellevue Hospital, New York
Director of Child Life and Developmental Services

“My experience with Portraits of Hope has been extremely gratifying. It has been heart-warming to witness the children in the hospital participate in an educational, socialization and self-expressive experience. The boys and girls increase in self-esteem is always evident. Many laugh and admit their amazement of what they had accomplished. The fact that their art would be seen by thousands makes them feel important. These youngsters come into the painting room in their gowns and pajamas, each one with a medical diagnosis. Due to their hospitalization, they are in a vulnerable state; yet the project brings them joy and proof of their existence. The creative aspect and the recognition that their art is valued has enormous healing benefits. I feel truly honored to have played a part in Portraits of Hope.”

Helen Landgarten, Founder of the Clinical Art Therapy Master’s degree program at Loyola Marymount University; pioneered art therapy in Western US; author of four text books translated into many languages; Professor Emeritus.

Garden in Transit ‘hit one out of the park’ with the children, teachers and parents at Hollingworth. From start to finish, the experience was a joyful, exciting burst of creativity and collaboration. We hope many more children will be given this gift of empowerment to make the world a more beautiful place – one flower at a time!”

Connie Williams Coulianos, Teachers College, Columbia University
Director, Hollingworth School

“My name is Katie McCurry. I am a junior at Rice University in Houston, Texas. I just discovered your organization, and after watching the video, I literally had goose bumps. As a Cognitive Science and Visual Arts double major, I have always been interested in the healing properties of art and art therapy. I think what you are doing as an organization is amazing, and I would love to get involved. My dad told me about Portraits of Hope when he heard about it and the projects they were doing in New York. I think the Garden in Transit project that you are doing is wonderful, and I would love to help out with that.”

Katie McCurry, Junior, Rice University

“It has been a really challenging work for me and I was very happy to know I can achieve it. Working with your group has somehow given me confidence in myself. In the whole process, I can say that working in groups was the best of all. I had the opportunity to be heard, understood and appreciated for my comments. My teacher was able to understand me and I was able to understand my teacher. At the end, we all ended up very happy seeing our achievements, because making it happen for most people was just an imaginary dream. From the bottom of my heart I thank you very much. I surely hope to have another occasion to work with you.”

Adjanie Leon, Student, Liberty High School, NY

“I want to thank you for the great experience my class, their parents and I had with you and Portraits of Hope. The students are still talking about and writing about their special time with you and your staff. Your program gave a public school class in New York City the opportunity to go on two great trips. The experience had a big impact on the students. Your program made them feel important and empowered. They loved talking about world issues, as well as discussing their dreams and future goals. To show their personal and societal dreams and aspirations was a wonderful activity. It was enjoyable and at the same time made them think about what they could do to change the world and make it a better place. The students and parents loved painting the huge canvasses. Before we returned for our second trip the students were busy writing about their future goals and dreams for a better world. This was an excellent writing activity. We hung their essays on bulletin boards for the school to see. Also on these bulletin boards are wonderful photographs of us painting the canvasses. Thank you and your organization for our great experience; the children, parents and I count it as one of the most worthwhile.”

Joan Goldfield, Teacher, PS 40, New York

“I just want to say thank you so much for letting me be part of the program. I didn’t expect to be part of something so big when I first arrived. Being a 9-11 Survivor it’s been a rough number of years and I still haven’t gotten back on my feet. I’m extremely protective of my girls and being able to paint and express ourselves without judgements was wonderful. My daughter and I had the time of our lives. It gave me the time to enjoy and reflect once again on how fortunate I am to still be here and that there are still people out there that do good. Portraits of Hope gave me a little bit of hope back too. Thank you to all of you – you’re doing beautiful work.”

Annette R., Parent and 9/11 Survivor, New York

"The children and parents had an unforgettable time. You could see how excited and engaged the children were, and how attached and proud they were. Your staff and volunteers were simply amazing. I was really impressed with your program. As a municipal healthcare facility, Gouverneur is certainly appreciative of the benefits and importance of the unique program you have developed."

Mendel Hagler , Executive Director, Gouverneur Healthcare Services, New York

“What a wonderful and life-learning experience Portraits of Hope offered to our JHS 45 students! You certainly made an impact on their thinking about global issues and their role in the world, city and school community. I just loved the project and as you saw everyone was completely involved. All of the adults were also excited. You should also know that we are planning a lobby exhibit for Portraits of Hope….I am taking the time to let you know how truly wonderful the experience was. As an educator, I believe in the idea that art is not something to be learned as much as it can be a way of learning. Your talented staff brought these ‘little Leonardo’s’ through a comprehensive lesson on social issues and budgeting strategies, with an emphasis on ideas, wishes, dreams and hope. And I enjoyed standing back as a sentinel to them as they tore enthusiastically into their art activity. The work you are doing for these children and so many other young people that have participated in Portrait of Hope validates my efforts as a professional educator.”

Maritza and Daniel Vernola, Educators, JHS45, New York

Although many children were a part of this project, for our program participants, it was far more special because they are homeless. One of the most unjust aspects of homelessness is that it robs homeless children of their childhoods. The project gave our participants the opportunity to explore their future and determine what goals they want to set for themselves. Furthermore, they were given an opportunity to make a difference and beautify a part of the city they call home.”

Angie Caraballo, AD Programs, Coalition for the Homeless

"What a wonderful job Portraits of hope did at the Hy Feinstein Clubhouse of the Head Injury Association. Our members are survivors of a traumatic brain injury and each and every day they confront the normal challenges of life that many of us take for granted. The Garden in Transit project was embraced by all our members. In fact, one member who never leaves his wheelchair, got down on his knees and began painting away. It was a truly wonderful moment for him and the staff. Our sincere and deep appreciation goes out to you for bringing this wonderful experience to our members...Your team offered genuine support which allowed our members to relax and feel safe. This was a gift for them. I will write up a report to send to the Art Therapy community. I hope to have the opportunity to partake in this project again."

Stanley Goldstein , Vice president of Educational Services
Susan Goodman , Art Therapist, The Long Island Head Injury Association

"I still find it incredible that I had not heard of your beautiful projects, but I am not surprised at how quickly I was captivated by the idea of combining creative therapy, youth education, and public art. I left incredibly inspired and very much want to stay involved with Portraits of Hope."

Maggie Chang , City Year, New York  

“I was delighted to see the level of engagement as students interacted with your instructor and worked on their projects reflecting their priorities and concerns about societal issues. The creative and socially enhancing projects that Portraits of Hope offers to countless youngsters certainly have immeasurable benefits and expose them to ideas and arenas that they may never otherwise have a chance to see. I am hopeful that if you continue your initiatives in the New York City area, you will be able to include OES students. I again want to thank you for giving our students this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Robert Zweig, Principal, OES, New York

"I just wanted to say "Thank You" so very much for the amazing job your staff did at Genesis. The students got so much out of both portions of the program and it was due to the awesome job that was reflected by all. We are looking forward to the launch of the fleets in September."

Diane Marino , Educator, Genesis, New York   

“I volunteered on December 28th and would like to do more! I would be honored to volunteer for this program!”

Lynn Brunelli, Volunteer

“As a child I had Leukemia (I was treated at Schneider Children’s Hospital) and I remember how much being involved with group projects could improve my everyday –
I would be happy to help.”

Sasha S., Volunteer

I am writing to commend Portraits of Hope for a job incredibly well done at Harlem Day Charter School…Parent volunteers, teachers and administrators were extremely impressed by the organization and professionalism of Portraits of Hope. Perhaps, most importantly, I would like to share my impressions of the effect the Garden in Transit project had on my students. Students were smiling, working hard, calm and focused. The idea of working for something greater than ourselves in our little school in Harlem filled us with purpose and motivation. Please keep Harlem Day in mind for the next great installation!”

Danielle Gilligan, Teacher, Harlem Day Charter School, New York

"Our school is based on the themes of leadership, social justice, and community action. Having seen the social justice and 'taxi painting' portion of your session, I know my students will benefit immensely from this project, and will contribute a lot, especially through bringing their experiences back to the Bronx."

Shoshana Daniels , Leadership Institute, New York

“We love Portraits of Hope and have actively participated in past activities including the airplane project! Please email me information about how we can participate in the taxi project – we’d love to!”

Diane Rode, Director, Child Life, Kravis Children’s Hospital at Mount Sinai, New York

"It was an honor to be able to cover the activities of Garden in Transit. I am looking forward to September."

Nahoko Yamada , TV Asahi America

“The past three days have been a memorable experience for our students and staff. The educational component created an environment which encouraged our children to share and express their thoughts and ideas on many social issues in many different ways as well as to develop an awareness of and respect for individuals similarities and differences…you leave our students not only with the painted taxi cabs, but also with the memory of having been a part of something they will remember for the rest of their lives. Once again thank you for including our school in this spectacular event and we hope that you continue in your efforts to impact positively in the lives of many through events such as this.”

Judy Lynn Mittler, Principal;
Brenda McClellan, Kathleen Dalton, Robert Quintana, Andrea Gnecco. Assistant Principals, Woodside Intermediate School, New York

"We are writing on behalf of the Henry Street School for International Studies in order to share and reflect on the wonderful opportunity that our students experienced. Many of the students at HSSIS have little or no art background and the majority have never been involved in such an eye opening and collaborative experience. The Garden in Transit team challenged the students. The HSSIS community had a wonderful time painting the flower panels and they understood the power of recognizing social issues in New York City. The students came back with an heir of confidence that they hadn't experienced before and feel fortunate to have experienced something so powerful. Thank you for helping us become more a part of New York City."

Terri Frohman , Educator, The Henry Street School for International Studies, New York

"Just to let you know about the wonderful feeling the Garden in Transit event left me and I know it is a feeling that will stay with me forever. I was able to be with my family in a no stress, enjoyable, meaningful and therapeutic experience. It totally works! The project will definitely add color and hope to NYC. I know I speak for my family and friends when I say thank you. Anyone who is responsible and is a part of this awesome project should be proud."

Jane Pollicino , New York    

“I want to thank you on behalf of the youth, their parents, our staff, volunteers and the community of Bushwick, for your role in bringing the Portraits of Hope – Garden in Transit Project to Bushwick. The joy in our young peoples faces and in the adults involved, the eagerness in which they all participated, the full cooperation of the school community as well, is a testament to the need for and timely selection and appropriateness of Bushwick, Brooklyn as the site for such a historic, city-wide event….I can tell from the reaction that for the first time they really have some understanding and appreciation of the magnitude of this project. It is my hope that our young people will have the opportunity to follow the development process of this project right through the culminating event next September 2007.”

Frank Negron, Director, Bushwick Beacon Lighthouse

"I am the Parent Coordinator at Parsons JHS 168. I was so impressed at what your organization is doing and the enthusiasm and joy that all of the children experienced. I sent an email to my supervisor asking her to inform the 1,200 Parent Coordinators. Since then, so many students have had the privilege to enjoy doing something special. Thank you so very much."

Barbara Solomon-Rivera , Parent Coordinator, Parsons JHS 168, New York  

"Our parents, students and I just wanted to say, "Thank You." It was terrific! The kids and parents had a great time. Everything was well organized and timed out. There was a great discussion of topics of concern to students and parents alike. The painting was fun. I would like to take another group."

Ann Kelleher , Parent Coordinator, P.S. 139Q, New York

“It was out pleasure to host the Garden in Transit project. I realize the time and effort it took to put together such a grand affair, everything went flawlessly…it is my judgment that the students exposed to this experience have gained tremendously in appreciation for public art and community service. I look forward to seeing the taxicabs next year when they flourish the streets of our great city.”

Linda Hill, Principal, I.S. 49, New York

"On behalf of NYU admissions staff, I just want to say thank you for yesterday's session. It was a HUGE success! Our kids really responded. They left the Garden in Transit studio with their cabs in hand, ready to tackle issues of social justice. On an interesting side note, after we left the studio yesterday we took the kids to Chelsea Piers for dinner. As we pulled up to Pier 60, all the kids on the bus gasped because the Portraits of Hope boat was docked at the pier. Throughout the dinner, kids were taking pictures."

Courtney Malenius , Senior Assistant Director of Admissions, New York University   

"Thank you for showing me a new way to make New York City and the whole world a better, safer, more beautiful, and more unified place. It is very difficult to give teenagers like me a valuable lesson and excitement at once, but you did a superb job of it...Normally I don't like to paint, but I had a lot of fun painting with my friends. I even had fun with the writing part. It really made me think. I have not enjoyed a field trip so much in a while, so once again, thank you."

Zoe B. and Nathaniel E ., SG Students, New York   

“I volunteered with NY Cares and loved it! My husband, Salvatore would like to participate as well. I try to tell everyone I know to help out!”

Danielle Tomasello, Volunteer

“We can’t stress enough how amazing the project was! We’re excited to work with you again.”

Kevin Jenkins, City Year

"Our classes take a number of field trips every year. This was one of the best we've taken in some time. It had a good balance of academic worth and just plain fun."

Chris Meyer , Head Teacher, The Stephen Gaynor School, New York

"I really enjoy doing this project. If I could do it every day, I would, but unfortunately, I work in the daytime and have to rearrange my hours to be able to do the project. But I am going to try to do 3 or 4 days each month."

Linda A ., Volunteer  

"On behalf of all of the children here at Shriner's Hospital, I want to thank you for the wonderful afternoons. The children can not stop talking about what a terrific time they had with you! When you visited our facility in February, I was able to convince a 16 year old Korean boy who had not been out of his room since admission to watch your project. Within 10 minutes of observing your team painting, he too was involved. Now two months later, this patient attends recreation groups daily, socializes with other patients, and is feeling wonderful about himself."

Amanda Campbell, Supervisor Child Life Therapy, Shriner's Hospital

"Our December special event, so wonderfully organized by your magnificent team, was the highlight of our year."

Susan Marchant, Manager Child Life/Education, Children's Hospital Oakland

“Thank you for giving us the school day of our lives.”

N. Stephenson, Student, the John C. Thompson School, New York

"I thank Portraits of Hope for choosing our school because our students will never forget the experience."

Mr. Gordon , Educator, I.S. 291, New York

"Two of my sons recently participated in the Garden in Transit project with their fellow classmates at Saint David's School. They thoroughly enjoyed it and I would like to commend you on a well-organized, inspiring, as well as educational experience. Thank you."

Kristen Hall , Parent

"Are you able to accommodate a group of kids and their families from a newly formed scout troop from Yonkers? We would love to participate"

Caroline Stern , Parent

"We are about 20 people and we are interested in volunteering in this wonderful project."

Natalie LeRoux , Volunteer

"The girls would love to be part of this project."

Kristen , Brownie Troop, Highland Lakes

"One of our programs with AmeriCorps members went to this during the holiday program week. The kids loved it!!"

Jessica Lentini , Program Director, AmeriCorps

"I oversee three after school programs. We serve over 500 children and would love the opportunity to talk with someone so we can get involved."

Jennifer Zanger , New York

My college professor told our class about it and brought us to the city to work on the project as a group. It was so much fun that I decided I'd like to come back again on my own."

Laura Kitterle , Student, New York

"I just picked up my jaw after looking at your website! The stuff is absolutely gorgeous!"

Fred Wieland, New York

"I was a NY Cares volunteer for this project. I loved working on it and want to help out more!"

Emily Walsh , Volunteer

"I work in a low-income district with a lot of talented young students. I would like them to be part of this terrific project. It would give them something to be proud of."

Sinead Maguire , Educator, New York  

"We wish you all good things in the future with the Garden in Transit project. I can assure you it is quite the buzz in our community. My daughter was asked to write an article about it for the class paper."

Andrea Padilla, Parent

"I wanted to thank you for letting us be a part of Garden in Transit. We had an amazing time."

Tania Head , President, World Trade Center Survivors' Network, New York

"I have heard many great things about this project. I would love to help out in any way that I can. I am leading a NY Cares Team on 5/19."

Beth Lehman , Volunteer,

"Portraits of Hope came to JHS 168 in Queens. I was so impressed, I not only wanted to get involved, but wanted to get my kids involved also."

Kye Weaver , Parsons Beacon JHS 168 Leadership Program, New York

"I am really excited to do this. A lot of my friends are also part of it and they love it."

Ronak Jain , CUNY Honors Community Service Committee

"I am the president of the junior class at Spence and the entire grade is really excited about your project. We would love it if you could fit us in. Thank you!!

Morgan H ., Junior Class President, The Spence School, New York

"Is this possible? It appears that my son's school is happily addicted to GIT!"

Allan Fromberg , First Deputy Commissioner, TLC, New York

“Our kids participated in the Garden in Transit project on 4/27/07. Right away I knew Iwanted to help out. I am very excited to be part of these amazing projects.”

Yelena Svetlitskaya, educator, Aaron, New York

“PSIS 111 had a terrific time. The program that you have setup is so enriching for the kids. On behalf of our principal Irma Medina, the classes and myself, thanks so much for the wonderful experience.”

Sharon Klein, IS 111, educator, New York

"We are constantly looking for programs that enhance our students' global awareness. Their participation in Garden in Transit has provided an excellent opportunity for them and for our southwest Philadelphia community as a whole. This was a fun and wonderful team building experience for Shaw students. Because of this activity, Shaw Middle School students were featured in several papers as well as in the local news broadcast. This has inspired them to achieve heights that will be recognized and that they can be proud of.   This is such an important lesson for our youth."

Sharif El-Mekki , Principal, Anna Howard Shaw Middle School, Philadelphia  

"A friend in NY just forwarded me your website, and it is SO inspiring!!! I'm wondering what projects you decide to take on. I live in Berkeley, and my daughters go to Berkeley High School." Would you consider coming to Berkeley High School?"

Karen Obidah , Parent