Mall Exhibit Puts A Face On
By DAVID SCHNEIER
not just art. The pictures of children-happy and
hopeful-that currently adorn Queens Center Mall
are there to raise awareness for foster parenting.
Timed for the Back-to-School shopping season,
the exhibit highlights the 17,000 foster children
in New York City.
The huge pictures on the first floor of the mall
stand 74 inches high by 44 inches wide. A table
with workers; for inquiries will be stationed
there until Sept. 14.
|Heart Gallery executive director Laurie Graff and Little Flower CEO Herbert Stupp with one of the oversized photos promoting forster parenting at Queens Center Mall.
artist Darryl "DMC" McDaniels, a foster child
himself, and Jeanette Bayardelle, a Broadway actress
for "The Color Purple," were on hand to kick off
the exhibit. Eight formerly abused children were
picked up by limousine, walked out onto a red
carpet and given gift certificates to shop at
"Unfortunately, we can't bring them all in," said
Laurie Graff, executive director of Heart Gallery
For Heart Gallery, it is the second time they
have come to Queens Center Mall. The exhibit has
been to Penn Station, Grand Central Station, Kings
Plaza and will soon go to LaGuardia Airport.
Last year at Queens Center Mall, they facilitated
Hundreds of potential parents are now in the nearly
year-long training program. They also partner
with Big Brothers and Big Sisters so children
can "have a positive adult role model" in their
lives, Graff said.
1929, Little Flower Children and Family Services
has helped foster kids from infancy through 21
years of age. Little Flower nine residences, servicing
nearly 1,000 kids, 400 of them in Queens, said
CEO Herbert Stupp.
Grandmaster Flash, the hip-hop originator, was
a foster child as is his publicist. She recently
spoke to the children about her own experience
in Little Flowers.
When four-year-old Valerie Lozada was found wandering
the streets late at night in 2005 in Middle Village,
after being abandoned by her parents, child services
got involved. By dawn that same day, Little Flowers
had found her a home, Stupp said.
"Each foster child has had a different route…but
in general, they all want permanency, whether
it means long-term foster care or a simple adoption
with a grandparent, aunt, uncle or a stranger
they connect with," Stupp said. "You could see
if their personalities click, if this could be
For more information about becoming a foster parent
or being a mentor, call Little Flowers at (800)