Friday, July 18, 2008

Red Carpet Event: Karastan & Joyful Heart Foundation

Photo courtesy of Karastan.
I'm so very excited to share with you a real life red carpet event, associated with people I know and really like [Connie Berry and David Duncan] from the carpet industry [Karastan], for a cause that sends chills up & down my back: The Joyful Heart Foundation.

Have you heard about it?

The Joyful Heart Foundation was created in 2002 by Mariska Hargitay, a.k.a. detective Olivia Benson on NBC's Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Its 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."

In Mariska's words from the website: "In creating programs for our members, we quickly realized that everyone heals differently. We provide an extensive network of resources for women and our own groundbreaking retreats that include art therapy, surf camps, swimming with dolphins in the wild, yoga and writing workshops that complement traditional counseling and therapy. When women are abused and assaulted, it is like the doors to their souls slam shut. The goal of Joyful Heart is to let the light, and the life, back in--to banish the darkness and let the healing begin."

The Joyful Heart Foundation website is an unusual place, filled with the sounds of dolphins underwater. It also includes numerous resources for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse.

I find Hargitay's performance as detective Benson riveting. She is intense, passionate and totally focused on the special victims whose protector she is. It's hard for me to realize, as I did after speaking with Connie Berry - pictured here with Mariska and David Duncan - that she didn't come into her role with the Joyful Heart mission. Rather, the role, the research she did to convincingly play the role and the interaction she had with victims of abuse in her role led her to found The Joyful Heart Foundation.

Talk about a personal statement.

Connie, David and Karastan became involved because Mariska Hargitay was Karastan's 2007 'statement maker.' What better way to make a statement than to support one's statement maker as she makes her personal statement.

According to Connie, Mariska wanted to create an event with the ambiance of an Academy Awards event. Hence the red carpet, which Karastan donated. The star-studded event was amazing, with Mariska raising over $1 million. Packages were auctioned off [e.g., imagine the 'literary package' complete with Plum Blossom rug, private party for 4 hosted by best-selling crime novelist Linda Fairstein] with brilliant Christie's orchestration...

[Here is a video clip of Mariska with Hilary Swank and Christopher Meloni at the event.]

What a fantastic Red Carpet Event in honor of an organization - The Joyful Heart Foundation - and a woman - Mariska Hargitay - making a difference in this world.

If you'd like to make a donation to The Joyful Heart Foundation, this is the link.

If you know someone who has lived through sexual assault, domestic violence or child abuse, please direct them to The Joyful Heart Foundation.

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