Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southeast Louisiana was the beneficiary of the 2nd annual “Hands to Hearts – An Afternoon on the Square” on Sunday, September 11. The event, co-chaired by Denise Gratia, Richard Ziegler and Samantha Piovesan was held at Muriel’s Jackson Square, where Chef Gus Martin prepared a special menu for guests. Entertainment included the rhythms of New Orleans Center for Creative Arts jazz musicians and a silent auction featuring lavish getaways to New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Key West and Miami, along with other items.

Established through the aid of 39 volunteers in 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters is the leading youth mentoring service in the United States and affects the lives of thousands of children ages 6 through 18 annually. Through the support of personal mentoring relationships bolstered by the organization, children have been found to have more confidence and are less likely to begin using drugs, alcohol and skip school. “We are proud of the fact that 87 percent of each dollar that is donated goes to direct program service. We are one of the few charities that has been proven to have a measurable positive impact on the lives of the children and youth we serve,” says Dolores Medina-Whitfield, Chief Executive Officer of the nonprofit’s Southeast Louisiana division.