Joyful Heart Foundation
When Mariska Hargitay started playing Detective Olivia Benson on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit over a decade ago, the content of the scripts opened her eyes to the epidemics of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. What she learned was staggering.
But what really opened her eyes&mdashand subsequently, her heart&mdash was the fan mail she received. The letters didn't say, "I love your show. Can you send me an autographed picture?" They said, "I was raped when I was fifteen. I'm forty now and I've never told anyone." Victims were disclosing their stories to her, many for the first time.
Mariska founded Joyful Heart in 2004 with the intention of helping survivors heal and reclaim their lives.
Today, 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.
Joyful Heart retreat and wellness programs are all designed to complement traditional talk therapy as part of the survivor's healing journey. Our therapies engage the body through movement, the mind through creative expression, and the spirit through group sharing experiences, in order to help participants move beyond survivorship and into an experience of living life with joy.
Joyful Heart's goal is to complement and support existing programs, and to broaden the spectrum of healing opportunities available to individuals and the community at large. In a safe and nurturing environment, the modalities we use may include creative arts therapy, guided writing, body work, yoga and meditation, experiencing the ocean, music, dance, movement, somatic experiencing, interaction with animals, play, and mindfulness practice.
Our programs are free of charge for all participants, carried out by Joyful Heart staff, consultants and practitioners, and guided by professionals trained in a variety of therapeutic modalities.
The vision of the Joyful Heart Foundation is a community that is empowered with knowledge, courage and compassion to help survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse heal mind, body and spirit; values and dedicates resources to individuals and families that have been impacted by these issues; and seeks to ignite and foster an open dialogue about how to collaboratively end the cycle of violence and abuse.
At Joyful Heart, we envision a community that is strong enough not to turn away from the epidemics of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. We envision a community that says to a survivor, "We hear you. We believe you. We feel for you. You are not alone. And your healing is our priority."
We seek to help expand, enhance, support and affirm existing programs and services. Our firmly held belief in coalition building comes from an understanding that we are stronger together, weaker apart.
To learn more about the Joyful Heart Foundation and our programs, please visit our website at www.joyfulheartfoundation.org.