Emmy Award-Winning Actress Mariska Hargitay Challenges the Nation to Do the KIND Thing in Support of the Joyful Heart Foundation

New York, NY — September 5, 2012 — Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit actress, joined forces today with Do The KIND Thing, a movement aimed at making the world a little kinder, to bring awareness and support to her Foundation—Joyful Heart. Mariska founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 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. Together with Do the KIND Thing, Mariska and Joyful Heart are asking people across the country to carry out an act of kindness. If enough people pledge to participate by October 2nd, she and Joyful Heart will partner with KIND, the organization behind Do the KIND Thing, to package and deliver healing kits to hundreds of abused children seeking services 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.

“When I began my role on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, my eyes were opened to the staggering statistics of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse,” explained Mariska. “But what really opened my eyes was the fan mail I started getting. Instead of asking for an autographed photo and telling me about their favorite episodes, survivors were disclosing their stories of abuse to me—many for the first time. I founded Joyful Heart with the intention of helping survivors heal and reclaim their lives. With the support of Do the KIND Thing, I know we’ll be able to make a tangible difference in the lives of survivors at child advocacy centers.”

To do so, Mariska is calling upon the public to Do the KIND Thing and carry the following act of kindness: lend your support to a parent or caregiver—offer a helping hand, prepare a meal together or simply ask how they're doing. If enough people visit KINDmovement.com and pledge to complete this act of kindness by October 2nd, Mariska, along with friends and supporters of the Joyful Heart Foundation, and KIND will pay it forward and deliver hundreds of healing kits to children seeking protection at child advocacy centers in New York City, Los Angeles and Honolulu. The kits will include items such as toiletries, stuffed animals, pajamas, a book and other items needed by children who may be removed from abusive homes.

“We all have a role to play in supporting survivors and preventing abuse. 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,” said Mariska. “We’re thankful that through our partnership with Do the KIND Thing, people everywhere can not only help survivors of child abuse to heal, but help prevent the abuse from occurring in the first place—all through a simple act of kindness.”

“We are proud to partner with Mariska and her team at the Joyful Heart Foundation to help educate and generate awareness about the issue of child abuse and to engage the general public to become part of the solution,” said Elle Stassen of KIND. 

To learn more about this partnership and to get involved, please visit www.KINDmovement.com.

About Do the KIND Thing

Each month, KIND challenges its community to carry out a specific act of kindness. If—and only if—enough people visit KINDmovement.com and sign up to complete that act of kindness, KIND carries out a BIG KIND Act for a group of people that really needs it. 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.

About Joyful Heart

Mariska Hargitay, actress and advocate, founded the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004. 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. Today, Joyful Heart has offices in Honolulu, New York and Los Angeles and delivers its programs in three areas: Healing & Wellness, Education & Awareness and Policy & Advocacy.

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