Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Home opens many doors

Project raising money to help children develop

One house, four days and thousands of kids benefit. It's a mission straight from the heart of Home with a Heart, a charity benefiting the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center and Family YMCA of the Desert.

Family Development donated the land, and Home With a Heart gathered volunteers for labor, supplies and food to feed the construction crews. The four-bedroom, 2�-bath that was built over the weekend is located at Shadow Ranch community in Indio. It took 50 hours over four days to build.

The house will be auctioned and the proceeds will go to the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center and Family YMCA of the Desert, each of which were presented in advance with a $200,000 check on Monday.

"I want to thank the community here. They've been wonderful," said Sinatra. "Home with a Heart has brought the community together."

The closing ceremony and ribbon-cutting Monday also featured the Palm Springs High School band, which played gracefully despite the scorching 110 degree heat.

"Usually a house gets a heart when a family moves in," said Sabby Jonathan of Family YMCA of the Desert. "But this house got its heart a little early," he said, referring to the fact that it was built in less time than expected.

Family Development, headed by two sets of brothers who founded Home with a Heart, selected the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center and the Family YMCA as the beneficiaries of this event because of their focus on families.

The Barbara Sinatra Children's Center, founded by the late Frank Sinatra and his wife, Barbara, is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping sexually, physically and emotionally abused children.

The Family YMCA of the Desert provides a safe, nurturing environment for kids, in which they are able to learn new skills and build self-esteem.

"We're very proud to be a part of this community effort," said Rudy Herrera of Family Development. "In just four days, we're gong to accomplish something truly unique for a very special cause that is close to our hearts."

Robert Wagner, Gerald Ford, Jerry Vale, Joe Mantegna, Mary Bono, Kirk Douglas, Tony Bennett, Yogi Berra, Tony Danza and Cheryl Tiegs have contributed their artistic touches as well, interpreting the "Home with a Heart" logo that was on display during the four days of construction.

"My heart is filled with love, admiration and thanks," said Sinatra. "In my husband's memory, I thank you very much."

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