Daily Point of Light # 2679 May 12, 2004

Rudy Hazen is a very empathetic and compassionate child. About four years ago,she became very concerned for other people who did not have the kind of life she had. She realized some people went withouth shelter, food, a safe home and other things that many people take for granted. Sometimes Rudy would get so moved by the plight of others that she would literally cry. Her parents told her if she felt so strongly about something that she should think of a way to change the situation and help to make it better.

One Sunday in church there was a message in the bulletin about the Women’s Shelter in the area. They needed some assistance, and Rudy believed this was a sign her there to serve. Rudy thought of creative ways to help the shelter and decided to have a party for her friends. The “Have a Heart Benefit for the Women’s Shelter of Pittsburgh” was soon scheduled. When Rudy’s dance teacher heard about it, she loved the idea and volunteered to host to party at her studio, Dance Workshop by Shari. Rudy scheduled the party and asked each of her 24 friends to bring an item for the shelter. Instead of the participants bringing one item, they brought in boxes and bags. They filled the entire dance studio the first year the party was held.

The first party was such a success, Rudy planned to continue it annually. During the second year, the particpants from all classes at the dance studio were invited. Approximately 60 children came and brought an enormous amouont of donations for the shelter. By the third year, the community college in the area got involved. Rudy decided to make the party a performance and 75 dancers, several singers and some speakers came and performed during the Valentine’s Day weekend. The benefit performance was held at the Community College of Allegheny County, South Campus Auditorium. Friends, family and the community joined Rudy and her friends at the dance studio in an inspiring show. The “party” was a message of hope, love and caring and raised $1,900 and collected another extraordinary amount of donations for the shelter.

Rudy is working to hold the event each year now, and she plans for it to continue to grow so their support of the shelter can grow also.