PARAMUS, N.J. -- Hearts of Hope are being sent to patients at a cancer center in Paramus.
The Berkeley College Online initiative involves painting clay hearts with inspirational messages to send to those who need support.
About 100 of the hearts will be sent to the Robert and Audrey Luckow Pavilion, a cancer treatment and support center at Valley Hospital. Others will be sent to special recipients and abroad.
The hospital is a few miles from the Berkeley Online campus where volunteers get involved to "pay it forward," said Judy Pedersen, Founder and Director of Hearts of Hope Foundation, Inc. They are "often people who have been there and have experienced life-altering challenges of their own.”
The first Hearts of Hope were created in response to 9/11. Since then, they have gone to people in hospitals and the military, as well as in communities following tragedies in Newtown, Conn., and Orlando, Fla.
“Each person on our campus has a huge heart and a giving spirit, and everyone seems to know someone going through a time in their life where a message of hope is just what they might need," said Amy Castillo, Berkeley College Assistant Dean, Student Development and Campus Life, Online.
The designs are "beautiful, whimsical, funny, or all of the above," she added.
In addition to Paramus, Berkeley College has New Jersey campuses, in Dover, Newark, Woodbridge and Woodland Park.