“The miracle is not that we do the work, but that we want to do it.” Saint Mother Teresa
In April 1998, a small ad appeared in Judy Pedersen's local newspaper that read, “Hospice volunteers wanted…” A call to service was triggered from those few words and, since then, Judy has worked to serve those who have experienced life-altering illness, trauma and loss.

She describes her work as a privilege of indescribable measure. “You are seeing me at my worst,” are words often heard. For Judy, the opposite is true as she meets people courageously living with illness, community members compassionately helping each other, patients facing end of life, selfless family members caring for loved ones, men and women heroically serving our country, and professionals giving their all in service to others.

Judy's experience has taught her that, while sorrow exists at times of illness and loss, joy exists as well. During extraordinary times, relationships become defined, sometimes not as people wish, but often in ways that deepen connections and provide meaningful opportunities to express caring and love.

Hearts of Hope Foundation, Inc. was founded by Judy to honor and serve these courageous individuals and families. From its inception, this organization has reached tens of thousands of those who have experienced trauma, loss, life-altering illness, and more.        

Judy Pedersen, Professional Biography

Judith Pedersen's undergraduate degree is from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a Masters in Social Work, with a specialty in Death, Dying, and Bereavement, from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Ms. Pedersen holds the designation of Fellow of Thanatology from the Association for Death Education and Counseling.        

Human Services Experience

  • Lourdes Hospice and Hospital in Upstate New York
  • American Cancer Society - Eastern Division
  • Adjunct Professor, Rutgers University Masters of Social Work Graduate Program
  • Founder and Executive Director: Hearts of Hope Foundation, Inc.

Programs created by Ms. Pedersen

  • Hearts of Hope national “pay it forward” community service therapeutic art program
  • “My Feelings Book" group workbook for bereaved children ages 6 through 12
  • “Moving Forward” eight-week adult bereavement program
  • “Finding Solace during Times of Celebration” -- Workshop for bereaved individuals coping with major holidays and life events
  • “Caring for them…caring for you” -- Workshop for family caregivers
  • “Finding Joy in the Second Half of Life”
  • “Meditation for Caregivers” reflection and exercise
  • “The Art of Hope” - blending art with healing

Professional Workshops created by Ms. Pedersen

Workshops developed for medical and mental health professionals combining new and relevant research with day-to-day practice application
  • “Compassion Fatigue” -- Care and respite for professional caregivers
  • “The Culture of Grief” -- Multicultural implications in bereavement service
  • “The Grief of Alzheimer's Disease”
  • “The Grief of Estrangement”
  • “The Power of Forgiveness”
  • “Evolution of Bereavement Theory and Practice”
  • “From Adult Child to Orphan”
  • “The Ethics of Grief”