Giovanna Andrews is the Founder and CEO of Harper’s Heart, a local nonprofit connecting newborns and their mothers to resources, as well as this week’s #PeopleOfWilmDE! Read her story below:
“I am originally from West Philadelphia but moved here in 2008 after my mother opened Dance4Life School of the Arts & Training Institute in DE. We settled into the Riverfront area of Wilmington, and that is where I have called home for the past 13 years. I graduated from Newark High School and returned to PA for my undergraduate degree. Each summer during my break I would return home and work at the Delaware Children’s Museum. Upon graduation I returned back to Wilmington, where I started my family. Here I raise my energetic toddler, Isabella Harper and she attends a wonderful daycare in the city. My first “big girl” job post-college was as a Digital Media Coordinator for the Wilmington City Council. Working in the heart of the city in local government was definitely a highlight and gave me the opportunity to see from another perspective the amazing things the city has to offer. I am now a full time entrepreneur, running my nonprofit organization Harper’s Heart. We are based in Wilmington and serve the needs of mothers with children 0-24 months old. Providing them with life skills, economic empowerment, and access to the essentials, resources, and education they need until they are equally capable. These are all results of the realtime education and relationships that Harper’s Heart fosters.
Wilmington is a very unique city that duals between the hustle of city life and calmness of some suburban areas. I enjoy the culture, art & food of the city and its location for travel. My family and I have called this place home for so many years, and it has a special place in my heart because I have so many memories with my daughter already.
On the flip side of the coin, there is a huge need for mothers in the 19801 and surrounding zip codes, pertaining to the infant death mortality rate. As a woman of color, I believe it is my duty to advocate, fight and work for the families that don’t have the ability to fight for themselves. My work with Harper’s Heart is truly my passion and I am proud that our home base is in Wilmington. Here I can truly have ‘boots on the ground’ and interact with the families I serve on a daily basis, and learn, adapt and make changes to better their lives.
Outside of my work with Harper’s Heart, I am also a dance and American Sign Language teacher. I have had the amazing opportunity to teach Jazz & Modern dance at Dance4Life, Hick’s Anderson Community Center & Hilltop Lutheran Neighborhood House. I minored in ASL in my undergrad career, so I proudly have shared my love for signing with children grades Pre-K to 12th grade at a host of programs in the city.
I am hopeful for the advocacy work that is being completed by so many of my colleagues. Their hard work and driven spirit is changing the makeup of our community for the better. When I witness the fruits of their labor, I can only be excited to see what’s down the pipeline. Find a cause, educate yourself and contribute back into our home. That’s what keeps a city thriving; those that pour back into it.
My favorite personal memory would definitely be a special night I shared with Multiplying Good, as a 2019 Jefferson Award Winner. There was a beautiful ceremony at The Queen and I got the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people in the State. I will always cherish that memory!
Overall, Wilmington has helped me with the amazing connections and relationships I have built in the community. From colleagues to friendships, I have been blessed to meet so many different people, from different backgrounds.”