MCC Instructor's Work in National Heart Gallery Exhibit

(Bradenton, Fla., Oct. 17, 2005) - Therese Hounsell, a Manatee Community College (MCC) journalism instructor, was recently recognized for taking one of three Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay photographs accepted into the national Voice for Adoption's (VFA) Portrait Project.

Hounsell's photograph will join others selected from 60 Heart galleries around the country, and become part of the National Heart Gallery exhibit. The project's kick-off reception and awards ceremony will be held Wednesday, Nov. 1, in Washington D.C.

For Hounsell, however, the biggest reward was the recent adoption of Hyshyna, the subject of her honored photo. Like all photographers associated with the Heart Gallery project, Hounsell volunteered to take pictures of Hyshyna, then 11. Her image then became part of a traveling exhibit.

The Heart Gallery project matches volunteer photographers with children and sibling groups essentially trapped in foster care. The goal of the project is to raise adoption-option awareness and secure permanent placement for its subjects. In the project's inaugural year in 2004, more than 20 of 72 children featured in the traveling exhibit found families.

The Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay is a collaborative effort of the Children's Board of Hillsborough County, The Children's Home and Hillsborough Kids Inc.

A Florida native, Hounsell began teaching at MCC in January 2004. She also is the adviser to MCC's student newspaper club. Prior to joining the MCC faculty, Hounsell served as editor of the Clipper-Herald, a semi-weekly newspaper published in Lexington, Neb., and worked as a freelance writer and photographer.

Hounsell earned a bachelor's degree in English and American literature and a master's degree in journalism studies from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, where she also served as editor of the student newspaper, The Crow's Nest.

In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, the VFA ceremony will be attended by as many as 50 lawmakers who have agreed to feature photographs of foster and adopted youth in their congressional offices from Nov. 1 to 10.  The Washington D.C.-based project is sponsored by Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Fostering Families Today magazine, National Adoption Day Coalition and National Association of State Adoption Programs.

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