The Heart of Delight founder Ian Daelucian, center, stands with volunteers who gave away food near the Santa Ana Civic Center in May.

Daelucian hopes to develop The Heart of Delight in four steps. The nonprofit group is now in between the first and second stages.

Phase one: In-place comfort. The goal of the first phase
is to help those in the community via direct outreach. Meals can
be served directly to those near their places of residence. The
Heart of Delight has done two events under phase one.

Phase two: Interim shelters. This phase improves upon the
first by establishing a foothold in the community. With an
interim shelter, The Heart of Delight can begin to offer food,
entertainment and temporary lodging.

Phase three: Multifaceted community centers. Building upon
the interim shelter, the third phase incorporates access to
health care, education and technology training. Community events
involving visual or performing arts also will be held at the

Phase four: Ecological cooperatives. This is the final
culmination of the four-phase project. Daelucian’s goal is to
build upon the community center and create a self-sustaining
environment for people to live within. Utilizing organic gardens
and recycled materials to build the cooperative, Daelucian hopes
to bring the concept to other nations.

What: The Heart of Delight is hosting a free
community event. Organized by volunteers and local organizations,
the event offers free services including bike maintenance, hair
and beard trimmings and documentation services.

When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 14

Where: Memorial Park, near intersection of Flower Street
and Anahurst Place in Santa Ana

On Christmas Eve 2012, Ian Daelucian and a friend loaded more
than 100 toys into a tiny, cramped hatchback and hit the road,
bound for Las Vegas.Daelucian had hoped to donate the colorfully-wrapped toys to
children living in the suburbs outside Sin City. But when the
duo tried to give away the gifts, they quickly realized it was
more difficult than they thought it would be.Children’s hospitals told Daelucian he’d need a background
check before donating the toys. Prior to returning to Orange
County, he stumbled upon a halfway house with several children
who could accept the gifts.“We didn’t have a plan at that time,” said Daelucian of Irvine.
“We just wanted to do this thing. It was really difficult to
get someone to actually accept us.”The experience, along with a lifelong interest in giving, has
motivated Daelucian to start a new Irvine-based nonprofit
group, The Heart of Delight.The charity, which earned its nonprofit status from the IRS
this month, seeks to provide assistance to homeless and
low-income Orange County residents. Some of its goals include
bringing together different resources – such as health care,
education and access to technology – and offering them in a
state-of-the-art facility.The development process of The Heart of Delight is
organized into four phases, Daelucian said.He hopes to begin the second step of the four-step development
process, which includes building a shelter for residents, in
the coming months.FORMULA FOR SUCCESSThe Heart of Delight had been active in the
community long before it achieved its 501 (c)(3) nonprofit
status. Earlier this year, the group hosted two events in which
volunteers gave out fresh meals to homeless or low-income
residents. The meal giveaways were part of the first phase of
the nonprofit’s development process, Daelucian said.The first phase – or, “in-place comfort” – connects
The Heart of Delight volunteers with those in
need. For example, a first-phase activity includes volunteers
cooking organic meals and giving them to individuals.Even though the nonprofit is based in Irvine, all of its
outreach events have been held in Santa Ana.Irvine resident Amber Julian sits on The Heart of
Delight board and enjoyed the outreach events.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said. “We got to meet a lot of new
people. It was great because we offered all fresh and organic

The nonprofit is nearing its second phase, Daelucian said.

Daelucian said he hopes to establish a shelter where residents
can find short-term housing and free meals.

The third phase is referred to as a “multifaceted community
center.” Here, the shelter from the second phase is enhanced so
that educational opportunities and health care services are

Daelucian said the culmination of The Heart of Delight is the
fourth phase or “ecological cooperatives,” where concepts such
as sustainability are taught to residents.

Although the fourth phase might not be fully achieved in the
near future, Daelucian hopes to find a location in Santa Ana
that will satisfy the shelter requirement for the second phase.

Daelucian, who earned a bachelor’s degree in both philosophy
and theater arts from UC Irvine, hopes to use his professional
experience to host community theater events for those at the
future The Heart of Delight shelter.


Daelucian doesn’t have an abundance of time to get The Heart of
Delight running at its peak. He is working full time, studying
for his master’s degree in drama stage management and serving
as the nonprofit’s president.

Funding the nonprofit hasn’t been easy for Daelucian. Since its
creation, Daelucian said he has been the nonprofit’s sole
funding source.

But he hasn’t let it get him down. Daelucian hopes to secure
more funding – via grants or donations – once the shelter

Next month, The Heart of Delight is hosting its third community
event – dubbed, “A RiSING Community” – at Memorial Park in
Santa Ana. The eight-hour event will offer free barber and
laundry services, technology training and health check-ups.

The Heart of Delight board Vice President Amanda Novoa said she
is excited for the all-day event.

“Everything is finally ramping up,” she said. “It’s really an
exciting time.”

Looking to the future, Daelucian hopes the project is
successful and eventually replicated in other places around the

“If we create a venue and if we invite everybody in a loving
manner, I think we can really have a great impact on society,”
he said.

Contact the writer:

Irvine man aims to win hearts – and help those in need – with nonprofit – The Orange County Register.

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