25 July 2009

The Joyful Heart Foundation

One of my favorite organizations is the Joyful Heart Foundation. It was started by Mariska Hargitay, the lead actress on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

In addition to regular fan mail, Mariska received letters from survivors of sexual assault & was stopped by people on the street who told her their stories. There is certainly a piece of Olivia Benson in Mariska & she started the foundation.

JHF works with survivors of sexual assault to help them heal. The focus is on retreats & activities, such as swimming with dolphins, to help survivors.

Mariska is an excellent example of using celebrity to draw attention to an issue. This is the second year that there has been a Joyful Heart Foundation gala to raise money & many of Mariska's famous friends attend to use their celebrity to draw attention to the foundation.

The website provides resources, inspirational material, & a "heart shop" where part of the purchase of items goes to the JHF.

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