I have volunteered with the Hearts of Fire Project in Ojai. I have read the comments by the homeless on their art work and have seen how it helps with self-esteem. It is truly a project that is worth continuing.
I have loved volunteering with the Hearts of Fire project! Bob really is a heart afire with what matters to him and what makes a difference in the lives of others - not just people without homes but for all of us dealing with what it means to be human and grappling with the material plane! The artistic expression he affords those with so little resources is an invaluable contribution to them that then contributes back to all who get to see the amazing forms they create! Well worthwhile - they are alos extremely conscientious and have impeccable integrity about the organization!
I've had the amazing opportunity to work with the Hearts of Fire Project in San Diego and Los Angeles as a facilitator of the visual arts workshops and ateliers. I witnessed the transformation of homeless men, women and children as they shared their art, poetry and music. The work that Bob and Gail are doing is crucial to our understanding and support of this marginalized segment of our society and to our collective humanity.
I know Bob Ballard personally--I have attended his exhibits...the drawings he collected from the homeless shelters are beautiful, and thought provoking. I know Bob is inspired to do this work of bringing attention to homeless individuals as simply people who happen to be homeless--not to be relegated to a blanket category or a certain type of person. Now more and more families and individuals are becoming homeless --we ALL need to address this issue--and Bob is right in their helping!
Bob Ballard is an amazing man with vision and mission of hope, love, and respect those in our society forgotten due to economic or social hardship. He has done this thru taking art and music to the homeless, and now a program of providing shelter to homeless families thru donations of unused RVs. If anyone should get a government grant or McArthur Foundation award, it should be Bob, Hearts of Fire, and others like them. And he's done it mostly on his own dime. While we support him as we are able, he needs and deserves much more support. Jeff Luttrull Regalo Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Inc www.regalogift.com
I was fortunate enough to be a volunteer for the first HEARTS OF FIRE PROJECT, MOTOR HOME HOUSING PROGRAM in Ojai, CA last Saturday, January 30. A clean and functional motor home, donated by wonderful folks, was given to a very deserving woman named Maria. I felt honored to have cleaned the motor home for her. She was elated and I believe so surprised at the possibilities and opportunities of having her own home and how that will affect her and her son. What a wonderful event. Stong Cudos to the founder Bob Ballard and his wife Gayle.!!!!
I witnessed the birth of this great idea, evolving into a great non-profit. Bob's vision for humanity, with all of us included and no one left out, is truly inspiring. The dignity, comradeship, sense of play, art and opportunity his organization supplies runs far deeper than a typical NGO offering survival basics. This program returns people to soul food: to a way to express beyond words and to create something lasting. It reminds us that we are all people, and we all have talents. Hearts of Fire rekindles the spirit.
I had been ashamed of being homeless, less than, and a disgard in society. When I met Bob Ballard he conveyed a something to me. My art is valid and valuable...it can tell a story of my life and my imagination. He invited me to bring my art to a Hearts Of Fire Project Art Show and Fundraiser. It was the first time anyone saw my art in public. People were interested and asked questions with respect. No one ever believed in my art before. I know Hearts Of Fire needs so much help to put the message out to help the homeless express themselves through art and so find some measure of self-esteem. Bob Ballard is practical and yet a dreamer, the two best combinations for helping others I know.
I have experienced the focus and power of Hearts of Fire Project's Bob Ballard. His passion is a product of his own experience and his warm heart. This organization goes about helping the homeless in ways no other organization does. Not only does it find ways to help the homeless get shelter of their own (the motorhome refurb program) but it encourages the talents of the homeless to be expressed---and appreciated by others. I just met Bob in September and have volunteered to do what I can to be of service to this group.