1. News

Heart Gallery brings unique adoption promotion to Winthrop

The Children’s Board Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay expands its mission by soliciting the help of restaurants and shops at the Winthrop Town Centre.
Published Oct. 4, 2016

While adoptions of children from abroad remain popular, the Children's Board Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay remains determined to help kids right here in Hillsborough County find a forever family.

And it's bringing its program to the Winthrop Town Centre to aid the mission.

The Heart Gallery launches a six-week partnership with shops and restaurants at Winthrop on Monday (Oct. 3) in an effort to boost the chances of 75 children in its touring photo gallery.

"Our larger exhibits are usually at churches or malls or places like the TECO building downtown," said Christie Enderle, exhibits coordinator for the Heart Gallery. "But this is the first time we've had the participation of multiple shops and restaurants within an area."

With the help of Winthrop founder, John Sullivan, the Heart Gallery has created a unique way to benefit local foster children as well as local business.

"We may have made some introductions, but the Heart Gallery was able to reach out and just about everyone they asked to participate said yes for the most part," said Sullivan. "We just talked and brainstormed some ideas, then they started thinking they could do the gallery leading into adoption month."

Each of the participating businesses will feature at least one of 35 children being featured, with a photo and a card of biographical information. For many of the businesses, this will be their first partnership with the Children's Board of Hillsborough County.

"This is something completely new for us," said Sketch and Sip manager Kelly Knox. "We've partnered with a few other fundraisers in the past, but we're very excited to start this and we love doing things for the community like this."

Along with featuring the children, Boca, Sketch and Sip, Ciccio Cali and Eats! American Grill also will stage events and give a portion of profits on specific nights to benefit the Heart Gallery.

"We're going to be hosting an event on the 17th and it's going to be $35 per person and 40 percent of that is going to go to the Heart Gallery," said Knox.

Enderle says the featured children have had a more difficult time finding permanent families either due to their age, medical complexities or the fact that they have siblings and should be kept together.

"A 3-year-old little girl is going to have no problem getting adopted because there is a demand for that sort of thing," Enderle said. "It sounds terrible but it's the truth. No one is calling the system saying I want to adopt a 15-year-old African-American boy today."

The Heart Gallery aims to allow the children to speak for themselves, getting each child's permission prior to their exhibit feature. Since its inception in 2004, the Heart Gallery found that featured children are 30 percent more likely to be adopted.

"For us, awareness is the biggest part of what we do," Enderle said. "The more people are aware, the more compassion people have for these kids who really need families and with that, they'll consider adopting the ones less likely to be adopted."

Contact Kelsey Sunderland at


  1. In this file photo, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister is announcing arrests in a sting operation that targeted unlicensed contractors. [Times (2018)]
    Monday morning, Sheriff Chad Chronister will announce the results.
  2. Buccaneers fan Heather Chase, of Tampa, is surrounded by Saints fans during the first quarter of the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, November 17, 2019, in Tampa. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The Bucs saw a larger crowd Sunday for their 34-17 loss to New Orleans Saints, but largely because of Saints fans.
  3. The man, 57, died at the scene.
  4. Hillsborough County deputies are seeking a man and woman suspected of using a stolen credit card. They are shown here in screenshots taken from surveillance video at a Walmart in Seffner, one of six stores where the credit card was used. Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
    Surveillance video shows two people leaving a Walmart in Seffner with a shopping cart full of merchandise.
  5. Sally Carlson of Seminole talks to her newly adopted 5-year-old miniature poodle held by Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center volunteer Mary Claire Streator. Potential owners browsed some of the 300 puppies that were put up for adoption Sunday in the gymnasium at All People's Life Center in Tampa. The designer-breed dogs had been rescued from Trish's All Breeds Pet Grooming in Tampa, where they were found sick and malnourished. Prospective owners were chosen out of thousands who applied during a lottery-type system and were able pick out a dog. LUIS SANTANA   |   TIMES  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The animals were found in deplorable conditions at a grooming business in September. Their new owners had 15 minutes to make a selection.
  6. People hug each other during a vigil Thursday after a 16-year-old student shot several classmates then himself in the quad area of Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif. Another vigil is planned for Sunday evening. HANS GUTKNECHT  |  AP
    The two students were killed Thursday after a 16-year-old began shooting randomly at Saugus High School.
  7. Pasco County community news TMCCARTY80  |  Tara McCarty
    News and notes from Pasco County
  8. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
    That and other news from Hernando County
  9. FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.
  10. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. TMCCARTY  |  times staff
    The driver faces charges of driving under the influence and refusal to submit to testing.