Once upon eternity, above the clouds so high

there were some chosen angels, who had no wings to fly.

Their hands were made for helping, their hearts were tender, too.

Their smiles were warm and happy, and placed as halo’s do.

So God sent down these angels, because they were such dears,

to spread their gentle love on earth, we call them volunteers!


Children’s Heart Program Volunteer Council Meetings  

CHPVC will hold one to five volunteer council meetings and one Board of Directors meeting each year.  Members will be notified in advance the date, time, and Augusta, Ga. location for the meeting. In addition to conducting CHPVC business, the meetings may include guest speakers, award recognition, family support, and fellowship. Members and guests are welcome to join us.  


CHPVC Membership


Volunteers are requested to support and promote CHPVC’s mission,when possible, through volunteering, monetary support, and attending meetings and events.  Please join the CHPVC and help support children with special hearts and their families.


 “We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.”

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.”

CHPVC Membership Application


CHP Gloria Ginn Volunteer of the Year Award


The Children’s Heart Program Gloria Ginn Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes the efforts of outstanding and dedicated volunteers for the Children’s Heart Program Volunteer Council. This award was established in 1998 in memory of Gloria Ginn who served as an avid and devoted volunteer on the council. The purpose of this distinctive award is to annually recognize and honor an individual within our organization for exemplifying volunteerism and for upholding the ideals and foundation that Gloria so lovingly and devotedly gave our organization.


Recipients of this honor have been nominated by fellow CHPVC members and selected by the CHPVC Gloria Ginn Volunteer of the Year Committee.


Recipients are chosen based on the nominee’s:

  • Dedication to the mission of the council;
  • Participation and level of involvement; and
  • Overall degree of impact to council and families of children with heart disease.


CHP Gloria Ginn Volunteer of the Year Recipients 

1999          Julie Ginn Moretz
2000          Kim BrantleyVOY
2001          Rhonda Graybeal
2002          Sherry Hajec
2003          Mindy Mets
2004          Jane Morris
2005          Ronald Bryan “Bo” Ginn
2006          JoAnn Temples
2007          Felicia Patterson
2008          Laura Kuhlke
2009          Cindy McNeill
2010          Cathy Williams­­
2012          Barbie Sayers
2013          Mark Jackson
2016          Celeste Kessler
2017          Michael Kessler


2007 Felicia Patterson

Many of us here were thrust into the world of heart disease without choice, but Felicia chose a career of helping others as an OR nurse. With almost 23 years in the operating room, 12 of these years have been with pediatric heart patients. While providing behind-the-scenes expert care for our children, Felicia realized that she rarely got to see the young patients after they left PICU. As if she was not already dedicated enough to her work, Felicia joined the Children’s Heart Program Volunteer Council so she could see the children and their families outside the hospital environment. Felicia joined the Council in 2001 at the encouragement of her OR colleague. Through the years, Felicia served in an integral role as a member of the Visitation committee. This gave her the opportunity to support children with heart disease and their families on a different level.  Felicia has also volunteered to help with many of the CHP projects including: serving CHP Thanksgiving Dinners to hospitalized families, assisting with the Family Forum, Happy Hearts Family Fun Day, and Doctors Who Cook®.


2008 Laura Kuhlke

Laura has experienced the challenges of raising a child with heart disease. Laura is a master at balancing ‘normal’ family life with her son’s doctor appointments, surgeries, and the anxiety that comes with pediatric heart disease. Early on, she quickly understood the importance of connecting with other parents who were also facing similar challenges, but she also wanted to give back to those who had helped her family during their most difficult days. Laura joined the Children’s Heart Program Volunteer Council in 2004. She has served as co-chair and led the CHP on an important transition journey. Laura devoted countless hours working quietly behind the scenes, using her skills and energy as a leader for the CHP’s next phase. Her belief in the CHP’s mission inspires us to continue to reach out to other families and to keep on going because there are other children and families who need us. Her gentle, unassuming, and faithful leadership has led our council, along with her co-chairman’s assistance and the support of the CHP members, to convene the first Camp Strong Heart. She and her husband, Chris, served as counselors and are dedicated to ensuring future successful camps. Among her many activities on behalf of the Children’s Heart Program, Laura forged a partnership between the CHP and the American Heart Association, and has represented the CHP in this collaborative effort.


2009 Cindy McNeill   

Most of the CHPVC members are thrust into the world of heart disease without choice, but Cindy McNeill chose to support our cause after being touched by a very special little boy with heart disease. She joined the Children’s Heart Program Volunteer Council in 1996 and has faithfully served this organization ever since. Cindy brings with her not only her graphic design talents which she has used endlessly to promote the CHP projects, but also a compassionate, humorous, can-do attitude that inspires us to improve ourselves as individuals and to be better volunteers. She has served the CHPVC in many capacities and is recognized for rallying community support for fundraising activities and volunteer recruitment. Through the years, Cindy played a significant role as a member of the CHP Executive Council and Doctors Who Cook® Steering Committee. Cindy is a member of the CHPVC Board of Directors and has served as Secretary for the past several years. She has been instrumental in fundraising throughout her nearly 15 years of service to the Children’s Heart Program. Whether supporting her church, bringing awareness to cancer which has touched her life, or helping our heart kids, Cindy is one who sees a need and quickly steps in to fill it.


2010 Cathy Williams

CathyAs charter member of the Children’s Heart Program Volunteer Council and a heart mom, Cathy Williams has shared her faith, compassion, and support to countless families for more than twenty years.  Cathy’s courage and commitment to her son, Brian, through his cardiomyopathy, heart transplant, cancer treatments, and ongoing health challenges, inspires those around her. Cathy has worked enthusiastically as a CHPVC officer, Doctors Who Cook® committee chair and key fundraiser, Hospital Visitation volunteer, and various special events volunteer.  As Treasurer, she played a key role in establishing CHPVC as a non-profit and continues to serve diligently in this vital role. Cathy embodies the special qualities of Gloria Ginn, a gentle and constant force in CHPVC’s fulfillment of its mission to support heart families through her devoted service. Cathy is the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Pierce Merry Jr. and is married to Pete Williams. They have two sons, Bert (Cathy) and Brian (Jenny), and three grandsons, Parker, Zachary, and Jacob.  Cathy sets an example for us all, as a Christian, wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, friend, and volunteer.

2012 Barbie Sayers

BarbieSayersBarbie played a vital role for over 10 years as the Pediatric Cardiology nurse caring for our heart children and families, and keeping the Children’s Heart Program connected to them by serving on the CHPVC Board of Directors.  Barbie went above and beyond to establish “Little Brave Hearts” – which continues today – in supporting our mission and other local charities that also support heart families, such as the Ronald McDonald House, the American Heart Association, and Heart & Sole. When the Children’s Heart Program first conceived the idea of creating a camp for heart kids, Barbie Sayers knew we would need a hands-on dedicated nurse to be with these children, and she stepped up and was committed to making camp a reality. Our friend dealt with serious health issues and even after she no longer worked in Peds Cardiology at GRU, she continued to be devoted to the Children’s Heart Program.  Even as we explored resurrecting Doctors Who Cook®, Barbie was the first one to call requesting how she could help with Doctors Who Cook®… and she also wanted to buy an ad. Barbie’s spirit and devotion are never-ending, even as she battled cancer.  Despite her diagnosis and treatment, she continued to work, be involved in scouting, and soccer. AND, Barbie still loves her heart kids because ‘she won’t let go.’  And, we won’t let go of her. Barbie Sayers is a true reflection of Gloria Ginn and for what this award stands for. She is an inspiration and our hero. Barbie is survived by her husband Doug and two sons, Ben and Ryan.

2013 Mark Jackson

Like manMarky of our volunteers, Mark has experienced the challenges of raising a child with heart disease.  He has transformed the challenges and stresses of being a ‘heart parent’ into being a determined, devoted, and compassionate volunteer.  Mark joined the Children’s Heart Program Volunteer Council in 1998 and is an inspiring and valued member who puts his leadership, initiative, enthusiasm, and creativity to work. He has served as Vice President for the Children’s Heart Program Volunteer Council, and he is an integral part of the Doctors Who Cook Steering committee. Mark took on the task of re-developing our website in partnership with his talented brother-in-law and sister, who have also dedicated their time to this important project.  Mark is a steady voice to ensure that our Council decisions are solid. He shows his strength by representing the Children’s Heart Program in such events as Doctors Who Cook®, Happy Hearts Fun Day, the Plane Pull for Ronald McDonald Charities, and others. He makes this a family affair by bringing family members and friends on board to increase our bench strength. Mark Jackson answered the call to serve in a leadership role with sincerity and dedication, and like Gloria Ginn modeled so well for us, he serves with a quiet strength.  He is married to Fredda and is the father of three sons—David, Chris and Paul.

2016 Celeste Kessler  2017 Michael Kessler

Celeste works in the Pediatric Cardiology Clinic at the CHOG. She is a registered Adult, Pediatric and Fetal Echo cardiographer and has been performing echoes since January of 1993. She has been a member of the Children’s Heart Program Volunteer Council for over 12 years. Michael retired after 20 plus years with the United States Army, 13 years as a Nursing Instructor for Pediatrics for the United States Army Practical Nurse Course. He joined the Children’s Heart Program Volunteer Council about 7 years ago after he met Celeste. They were married in May of 2010.

Michael and Celeste’s CHPVC support includes Happy Hearts Family Fun Day and DWC. Celeste has lead the CHP Little Brave Hearts Team that competes in the RMH Plane Pull – since the beginning 10 years ago with Michael helping the last 7 years. They serve on the CHPVC Board of Directors. They also support RMH, AMA Heart Walk, Heart and Soul, Camp Strong Heart and the Rebecca Moon Foundation. Mike and Celeste have worked together tirelessly for CHPVC and the children for whom CHPVC was started. We are so proud of you both and thank you for all you do!

“A joyful heart is the inevitable result of a heart burning with love.”

National Expert Julie Moretz Will Lead
Patient- and Family-centered Care at UAMS


Julie Moretz will start work in May at UAMS as the university’s first-ever associate vice chancellor for patient- and family-centered care.

LITTLE ROCK – Inspired by her late son’s battle with congenital heart disease, Julie Moretz of Augusta, Ga., has devoted her life to promoting the ideals of patient- and family-centered care across the country.


Now, the nationally known advocate for engaging patients and their families in health care decisions is bringing that passion to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) beginning in May as its first-ever associate vice chancellor for patient- and family-centered care.


“As the parent of an ill child, I didn’t know the rules of a hospital and was often too shy to speak up. From that experience, I found my voice and began working to create a culture where it’s OK for patients and family members to be vocal about their own health care needs,” Moretz said. “The passion of my work is fueled by pursuit of better outcomes for patients, families, students and communities, and improved quality of care.”


In Augusta, she moved up the ranks from hospital volunteer to director of Family Services Development at the Medical College of Georgia, which is one of the first model programs for the movement. From there, Moretz served as director of special projects at the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care in Bethesda, Md.


“I have never met anyone more passionate about patient-and family-centered care than Julie. Her real-life experience gives her a unique and powerful perspective on this issue. We are honored to have her take the lead in this crucial endeavor at UAMS. Our goal is nothing short of transforming the way we include patients and families as full partners in their care,” said Chancellor Dan Rahn, M.D.


Moretz’s move to UAMS comes at a time when the university is poised to make great strides in the area of patient- and family-centered care.


“UAMS is at the crux of a watershed moment. Chancellor Dan Rahn truly understands the value of patient- and family-centered care and is committed to becoming a national leader in this area. The staff members are enthusiastic and ready to create a culture shift that will make true partners of patients, families and health care providers,” she said. “It’s an honor to be a part of this energy.”


The impetus of patient- and family-centered care took hold at UAMS in 2011 when John Shock, M.D., founding director of the UAMS Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, presented the concept to campus leaders. Shock was appointed to lead the effort, which is spawning improvements in the way health care professionals interact and communicate with those they serve.


In May, Shock will hand the baton to Moretz.


“This is the perfect time for a transition,” Shock said. “Our program is up and running, and we recently welcomed Dr. Roxane Townsend as our new hospital CEO. I am certain that Julie will bring a renewed energy to this initiative that will help us move forward in innovative and exciting ways.”


Following Moretz’s arrival, Barbara Brunner will continue to serve as director of Patient- and Family-Centered Care for UAMS Medical Center. In this role, Brunner provides leadership and direction through working with partnerships and affiliations that optimize and promote patient- and family-centered care.


In addition to working with clinical staff in both inpatient and outpatient settings, Moretz will work with academic affairs and college deans as they educate future health care professionals about the importance of incorporating patient- and family-centered care in their practice.


A leadership team of UAMS faculty and staff meets weekly to reinforce and continue development of the program, while councils of patients and family members meet regularly to discuss and make recommendations on potential improvements to patient services. The councils are located at UAMS’ hospital, neonatal intensive care unit, Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, primary care clinics and Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging.


Among the benefits of patient- and family-centered care are shorter hospital stays, lower costs per visit, increased follow through with mutually agreed upon patient-care plans, decreased adverse events, higher employee retention rates, reduced operating costs and decreased malpractice claims.


The core concepts of patient- and family-centered care, listed by the Institute for Patient- and Family-Centered Care, are:


  • Respect and dignity. Health care practitioners listen to and honor patient and family perspectives and choices. Patient and family knowledge, values, beliefs and cultural backgrounds are incorporated into the planning and delivery of care.


  • Information Sharing. Health care practitioners communicate and share complete and unbiased information with patients and families in ways that are affirming and useful. Patients and families receive timely, complete, and accurate information in order to effectively participate in care and decision-making.


  • Participation. Patients and families are encouraged and supported in participating in care and decision-making at the level they choose.


  • Collaboration. Patients and families are also included on an institution-wide basis. Health care leaders collaborate with patients and families in policy and program development, implementation, and evaluation; in health care facility design; and in professional education, as well as in the delivery of care.




The Children’s Heart Program Volunteer Council (CHPVC) is sensitive to privacy concerns. This statement will clarify our privacy policy.

We do not collect personally identifiable information from those visiting our site except when that information is voluntarily offered.

When we do collect information, such collection is performed using various web-based registration and feedback forms. We do not share the information with any third parties except when this is the reason the information is being collected, and in all such cases, the collection form will explicitly state who will receive the information and will explicitly ask for permission to share the information.

You should be aware that if you voluntarily share your e-mail address or other personal information on our membership application, it maybe shared with other CHPVC members.

From time to time, we collect statistics about how our website is used. That information is aggregated and does not contain any personally identifying information about users.