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Recent news​

Youth Salute taps Lafayette junior as Lexington’s leader



A Lafayette High School junior was named Lexington’s 2012 Youth Leader of the Year during “Youth Salute” awards ceremonies May 6 at Georgetown College.

Virginia Newsome received a $500 scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip, sponsored by Holifield Photography, to attend the National Council on Youth Leadership Conference set for Oct. 20-23 in St. Louis. Virginia has served as Lafayette’s ambassador to the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Program, founded the nonprofit heARTS and is a member of the Beta Club, French Club, Lafayette Drama, Leadership Lexington Youth and the Starlight Singers.

Leading Woman of Central Kentucky

Saraya Brewer May 2012

SCAPA high school student; founder and CEO of heARTS for the Arts, Inc.

Virginia Newsome has been a lover of the arts since she was a young girl — she grew up in an art-friendly household and started singing when she was 7 years old.

“My grandmother was actually a Suzuki violin teacher; both my mom and aunt took violin from the time they could walk,” said Newsome, who first discovered her love for performing when she started ice skating as a girl.

Everyday Young Heroes
Lexington Kentucky

YSA recognizes fifteen year old Virginia Newsome of Lexington, Kentucky, as one of our Everyday Young Heroes for her work to ensure that children in her community have access to quality arts education.

Virginia started her own non-profit group called heARTs, with the mission of bringing arts programs back into schools in her community after local schools, including her own Magnet School for the Arts, experienced budget cuts to the art departments.

heARTs provides schools with in-school and after school arts programming through a volunteer placement program, provides schools with donated arts supplies, and advocates for arts education through outreach to policy makers.  Virginia recruited a friend who is an artist to design a logo for her, drafted a business plan, created her own Facebook page, and applied for 501(c)3 status.

heARTS to be a part of the HOBY World Leadership Congress in Chicago July 25, 2012

July 2012

heARTS is thrilled to be part of this year’s Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership’s World Leadership Congress in Chicago, IL.  Our founder, Virginia Newsome, will be addressing the approximately 400 HOBY Ambassadors from all over the world as part of a panel speaking about Leadership for Service.

heARTS featured on Fayette County Public Schools – Channel 13

July 2012

heARTS team to present at Administrator's  Leadership Conference

July 2012

heARTs is proud to announce that they have been selected as a "Moment of Inspiration" at the upcoming Kentucky Association of School Administrator's Summer Leadership Institute at The Galt House in Louisville, KY.  heARTS Founder and CEO, Virginia Newsome, will speak to the approximately 1500 conference attendees on Thursday, July 19, 2012.  In addition, heARTS representatives will be manning a booth in the trade show area, meeting attendees and distributing information about their  organization throughout the three-day conference which will be held July 18-20.  For more information go to

heARTS Founder Recognized by Kohl's Department Stores

August 2012

Virginia Newsome, 16, of Lexington, was chosen from more than 35,000 nominees nationwide for making a positive impact in her community. Virginia founded heARTS Inc., an organization that provides visual and performing arts supplies and opportunities to schools that have lost these programs due to budget cuts.

heARTS Founder Named One of Kentucky's Top Two Youth Volunteers

January 2013

FRANKFORT, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Virginia Newsome, 17, of Lexington and Madison Roy, 10, of Louisville today were named Kentucky's top two youth volunteers of 2013 by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. Virginia was nominated by Lafayette High School in Lexington, and Madison was nominated by St. Raphael the Archangel School in Louisville. The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, now in its 18th year, is conducted by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

heARTS to Take Part in Inagural HOBY Advanced Leadership Academy


heARTS, Inc. is excited to announce its participation in the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership organization’s first ever Advanced Leadership Academy.  This exciting new program will bring together high school juniors and seniors for a 5 day national conference to be held February 28-March 4, 2013 at Sandy Cove Retreat Center in North East, MD.   This unique opportunity will empower HOBY Alumni to further their leadership development learned at their local HOBY seminar and create an action plan to lead a service project in their communities.  

heARTS Founder Named One of America's Top 10 Youth Volunteers of the Year

May 2013

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Virginia Newsome, 17, of Lexington, Ky. was named one of America’s top 10 youth volunteers of 2013 today by The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards during the program’s 18th annual national award ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Selected from a field of more than 28,000 youth volunteers from across the country, Virginia has earned the title of National Honoree, along with a personal award of $5,000, an engraved gold medallion, a crystal trophy for her school, and a $5,000 grant from The Prudential Foundation for a nonprofit charitable organization of her choice.

Hannah Hetzel-Ebben Joins heARTS! 

​​ heARTS, Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of Hannah Hetzel-Ebben to the position of National Projects Manager. Hetzel-Ebben is currently a sophomore vocal major at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA) at Lafayette High School in Lexington, KY. As National Projects Manager, Hetzel-Ebben will assist in identifying school and programs who could benefit from the services heARTS provides, help develop and implement special projects, and serve as a liaison between the organization and the communities in which heARTS operates.

Hetzel-Ebben has a strong love for the arts and has appeared in numerous theatrical productions in her hometown of Lexington, KY.  She is excited to be able to bring the same magical feeling of being on stage, or playing an instrument, or painting a picture to children who might not otherwise have a chance to do so.  She is looking forward to helping keep the arts in our schools and in the lives of children.

HeARTS Founder Honored at Albert Schweitzer Leadership Awards

heARTS, Inc. Founder and CEO, Virginia Newsome, was humbled to be honored at the Albert Schweitzer Leadership Awards Dinner held at The Plaza Hotel in New York, NY on May 5, 2014 along with honorees Governor Haley Barbour, Former Governor of Mississippi and Founding Partner, BGR Group; Rodney O'Neal, President/CEO, Delphi Automotive and Shelia T. Smith, Deloitte CRG, US Corporate Restructuring, Services Group Co-Leader;  and Sara Surani, HOBY 2012,  Virginia was able to speak to a packed room at the Plaza, telling them about heARTS and the impact it is making on children around the globe.  


Photo caption:   Virginia celebrates with actor Hugh 0'Brian, founder of the the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership organization at the Albert Schweitzer Leadership Awards Dinner. 

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