• May 16, 2012

Heart’s Home Annual Benefit Dinner

By Renee Kurz

The Ambassadors of Compassion Gala held on May 3rd in Manhattan was an event very dif­ferent from many typ­ical fes­tiv­i­ties of Heart’s Homes. The fourth floor of the National Bohemian Hall is a grand ball­room with ornate chan­de­liers and a fres­coed ceiling. The guests were greeted in the wel­coming foyer, their coats hung up, and cham­pagne awaiting them as they exited the ele­vator and ush­ered to the cock­tail. The tables were beau­ti­fully pre­pared, dressed in turquoise and adorned with can­dles, flowers, and the tes­ti­mo­nials of American vol­un­teers. Everything was per­fectly in its place — china, silver, glass — staying true to Heart’s Home’s emphasis on love in the details, in accor­dance to those whom you are serving.

However, though the out­ward appear­ance of the evening was strik­ingly dif­ferent than other more simple Heart’s Home events, say in Bangkok or India… what was not dif­ferent at all was the wel­coming of friend­ships and the love with which they were received. With camera in hand, I was struck to not only cap­ture the beauty of the décor, but more impor­tantly the smiles, and embraces, and the laughter between our friends. The room was full of the joy of seeing old friends and coming to know new, which the piano accom­pa­ni­ment of Bach per­formed by Evan Shinners was so fit­ting. Our guests then sat in wonder as they lis­tened to the touching story of the devel­op­ment of the Broadway Housing Community and acclaimed with honor the three indi­vid­uals awarded the Compassion Award; who in their per­son­hood are wit­nesses to the dig­ni­fying and restora­tive effects of being offered a home sur­rounded by beauty.

Much of the evening fol­lowed the theme of building homes… both the tan­gible and the tran­scen­dent. How beau­tiful it was to see with what gen­erosity our guests joined Heart’s Homes efforts to build a new home, which in turn is for them: a guest house at the ICCC. And then to be touched by the more essen­tial need of building homes in the hearts for friend­ship and com­pas­sion… a need which Katie Kustusch shared from her expe­ri­ence in Bangkok and her reason for saying ‘yes’ to a second mis­sion in El Salvador. Each bid­ding hand during the auc­tion knew for what inten­tion they were raising the bid… not only to ensure that they left the ball­room wearing the gor­geous amethyst and pearl neck­lace or beholding the fine bottle of plea­sur­able wine; no, they knew that behind each win­ning bid they were ensuring the fecun­dity of Heart’s Home and the for­ma­tion of more Ambassadors of Compassion.

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