Students of F. N. Brown and Brookdale Elementary Schools in Verona annually participate in the Hearts of Hope program under the direction of their art teacher, Joni Jasterzbski, who was once herself a Hearts of Hope recipient.
Hearts of Hope is a program which distributes small, hand-painted, ceramic hearts to people struggling with illness. Over the last five years, over 25,000 hearts have been distributed by Hearts of Hope, with almost 2,000 of those coming from Verona in the last three years alone.
Each heart is designed by the children and accompanied by a personal note of encouragement from the artist. Most of the hearts from Brookdale and F. N. Brown are delivered to patients at St. Barnabas and surrounding facilities during a special Valentine's Day event.