Joyful Heart in the News

Healthy Hollywood: Try It On Tuesday – Mariska Hargitay’s Joyful Heart!

October 23rd, 2012
Access Hollywood
Terri Macleod

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Inspired by her role as Detective Benson on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Mariska Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation to help abused women and children.

For over a decade, her charity has helped survivors to heal and empowered them with the tools to overcome.Mariska Hargitay packages KIND kids for children at the Safe Horizon Manhattan Child Advocacy Center. Credit: WireImage.

“Trauma doesn’t really go away unless you work at it. What I kept hearing in letters from victims, from people disclosing their pain, was not dissimilar to my own feelings,” Mariska has said.

Now a decade after Joyful Hearts was founded, Mariska teamed up with KIND nutrition bars to help children of abuse. The two organizations got together to chip in and package healing kits for children currently seeking shelter at Safe Horizon’s Manhattan Child Advocacy Center.

“We all have a role to play in supporting survivors and preventing abuse,” the actress revealed to Healthy Hollywood.

Mariska and her “SVU” co-stars Kelli Giddish and Danny Pino spent part of Monday afternoon putting together kindness kits packed with books, school essentials, backpacks and other goodies for kids who have been physically or sexually abused.

Prior to Monday’s event, Mariska and KIND launched a call to action to encourage others to lend their support to a parent or caregiver – offer a helping hand, prepare a meal together or simply ask how they’re doing. It’s important for everyone – young and old – to remember kindness is an easy gift to pass along. Plus, it’s sure to put a big smile on the face of those who receive it.

“Research shows that parents and caregivers with strong social connections are less likely to abuse or neglect their children. That’s why creating strong networks is so important,” adds Mariska.

To pass on the act of kindness, check out

This month, Joyful Heart is proud to team up with Do the KIND Thing, an initiative launched by KIND to try and make the world a little kinder. Each month, Do the KIND Thing challenges people to carry out a specific act of kindness with the promise that if enough people sign up to do so at, KIND will pay it forward on a larger scale by carrying out a BIG KIND Act. To date, Do the KIND Thing has inspired hundreds of thousands of unexpected acts of kindness and bettered the lives of more than half a million people in need.

We all have a role to play in supporting survivors and preventing abuse. Now through October 2nd, I am asking people everywhere to commit to support a parent or caregiver by offering a helping hand, preparing a meal together or simply asking how they're doing. Your kindness can have a huge impact. Studies have shown that parents and caregivers with strong support networks are less likely to abuse or neglect their children. And if enough people pledge to participate at, I, along with friends and supporters of Joyful Heart and KIND, will package and deliver healing kits to hundreds of abused children currently seeking protection at the Manhattan Child Advocacy Center in New York City, as well as centers in Los Angeles and Honolulu, where Joyful Heart also offers its programs and services.

Together, we can shed light on the issue of child abuse and engage people everywhere to be part of the solution. Please join me.

And thank you for your kindness.

Mariska Hargitay is the Emmy Award-winning star of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on NBC and the Founder & President of the Joyful Heart Foundation. Joyful Heart's mission is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.

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