SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - We've been showing you photos of the Heart Gallery for years. It's a collection of beautiful portraits taken of local foster children who are waiting to find a forever family. Now the Heart Gallery has a new home. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers opens up about his foundation Rivers of Hope and how our partnership is transforming lives.
"You see these children and you think, each of them, they don't have a home. It does touch your heart, and it takes someone with a big heart to give up a lot and adopt," Rivers said.
The beautiful photo display is designed to raise awareness in the community about the need for adoptive homes by showcasing foster children who are all waiting for a family to call their own.
"You see it, you see it working," Rivers said.
Rivers and the Rivers of Hope Foundation support and fun the San Diego Chapter of the Heart Gallery, which can be seen in person at local venues and on the web.
"The heart gallery is an ever-moving kiosk, it's online at philiprivers.com, we've placed it at ballparks, libraries, at the county fair, it's really moving all around town. We're certainly appreciative of all the people that helped make it go," Rivers said.
Local portrait photographers donate their time and talents to capture the essence of these kids in a photo so seemingly simple, yet so profound.
"I think that's the biggest thing, when they go from a statistic or name in the system, you actually see their face. This is a soul, this is a life," Rivers said.
Philip and his wife Tiffany have six kids, and know the important role parents play in a child's life.
"They probably take it for granted, my own kids. We took it for granted that this is how it is in all homes. Then you see these kids that don't have that, they don't get tucked in at night, they aren't getting read a book, maybe -- all the little things you don't even realize," Rivers said.
That's why the Rivers of Hope Foundation is committed to finding foster kids loving homes. The Heart Gallery, which gives a description of the children, is a little window into their lives.
"It's so hard. It was for me… I never realized it, until you see these kids, you meet them, then you actually get to see their face and see what their favorite color, their favorite meal, who they're closest to. And some of these kids say 'no one,' and it's just gosh, I could name 20 people I was closest to as an eight-year-old, six-year-old.
"All those things tug at your heart and I know not everyone can adopt, but we can all help by telling a friend and spreading the word because this really is an awareness and community effort," Rivers said.
Through the partnership between San Diego County Adoptions, Adopt 8 and Rivers of Hope, children's lives are being transformed. We've all heard the saying, "A picture is worth a thousand words." Well, for these children, a picture could be worth a lifetime of happiness if it happens to capture the heart of their future parent.
"There's nothing better than going to the site and seeing, 'potentially matched,' 'family found,'" Rivers said. "I always try to look at it, if we help one child, it was worth it. Obviously there have been many, many more who have been helped and that's certainly exciting."
If you're interested in adopting or becoming a foster family, call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U.
Here's the CBS 8 feature that orginally air May 6, 2012.