A Joyful Heart for children

The organization My Joyful Heart gathers gifts for needy school kids year-round.

"If a child is remembered throughout the entire year and made to feel as though they count for something to somebody...they're going to respond to that," said Diane Carroll, founder. "Maybe they would have the encouragement to study harder in school."

The recipients are youngsters 3 to 17 who are registered at schools in Austin, North Lawndale and south suburban Harvey. For Easter they'll receive jackets, socks and books, along with tooth brushes and soap.

"They can't help the circumstances they're in. And, if we can show that someone really cares for them and try to lift them up, that's what it's all about," said Julie Curran, volunteer.

Three hundred and sixty kids are signed up. More than 100 others are waiting.

The group gives special gift packages on birthdays, but the regular packages include t-shirts, gloves, shampoo and blankets.

Carroll started the program in the basement of her Lockport home. She operated out of there for four years until it grew out of space.

A non-profit effort, My Joyful Heart relies on donations to buy the mostly new merchandise.

"They're missing just simple things, like toothbrushes and gym shoes and school supplies and its really those are the things most people take for granted," said Caryn Ash, volunteer.

"When I'm walking down the halls it warms my heart to know that even if I'm making a difference for one child-- when they grow up, that they have a better life-- I know that I've done my job," said Carroll.

For more information visit www.myjoyfulheart.org

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