Heart Gallery on display at The Pit

Posted at: 11/08/2012 9:44 PM
Updated at: 11/08/2012 10:16 PM
By: Maria Guerrero, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The Pit is known across the nation as one of the premier basketball arenas. And now, it could very well change the lives of many children in New Mexico.

The Heart Gallery is something near and dear to Gov. Susana Martinez as she worked at the state Children Youth and Families Department for about three years.

That’s part of the reason she’s working on growing this program that started in New Mexico and has expanded to dozens of cities and states.

People will find a powerful display of photographs when they enter the main entrance at The Pit.

The gallery, featuring foster children, is a CYFD program that started in New Mexico in 2001.

The children photographed hope the pictures really are worth a thousand words.

They hope to be adopted, and perhaps an inspiring idea will soon lead them to their forever homes.

This is the newest Heart Gallery on display at The Pit.

Martinez presented the University of New Mexico's Athletic Director, Paul Krebs, a challenge: Allowing the portraits to hang permanently in the iconic sports complex.

"This is a public place,” Martinez said. “Thousands and thousands of people come through here and while they're standing in line some place and be looking at the children that are available for adoption and maybe for the first time think about it."

The hope is older children and sibling groups waiting to be adopted or fostered get their chance at happiness.

"This is a place where high school basketball players, boys and girls in the state of New Mexico, come to fulfill their dreams and their desire to be state champions and play in the Pit," Krebs said. "And I think hopefully we'll help some other boys and girls in the state fulfill their dreams."

A temporary Heart Gallery is also on display at New Mexico State University.

Martinez is calling on the state Legislature to allow a permanent Heart Gallery to be on display in the Round House. The last attempt was shot down.

"We're going to continue to work to expand the Heart Gallery to make sure there's a picture in every public place that we can find," Martinez said.