I’ve been wanting to write this entry for a while. Mariska Hargitay, who plays Detective Olivia Benson in the hit NBC series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” is a dedicated actress whose on-screen work has since spilled over into her actual life.
As Det. Benson, she gets to help victims of sex crimes. But the work doesn’t stop when the director yells “Cut!”. In fact, Hargitay was so moved by her character’s work that she started the Joyful Heart Foundation, which is “committed to the total healing and recovery of survivors of sexual assault by introducing unique programs centered on dolphin-human interaction in the wild as a way of stimulating a survivor’s healing journey.
You’re probably thinking: “HUH?” Well, the foundation offers programs in urban environments, as well as week-long retreats in Hawaii where survivors of sexual assault and abuse can come together and connect with nature (and themselves) in a peaceful setting.
I was fascinated by the program’s mission. Although I’ll admit I’m not an avid swimmer, I dream of someday “swimming” with dolphins. They are indeed among my favorite animals, because they’re always smiling! (At least, they seem to be.)
Besides her own foundation, Mariska has supported the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN). She is a certified crisis counselor who has now embraced her “role” in order to help real people recover from these traumatic events.
In addition, the actress lends a helping hand to Project A.L.S. (to find a cure for Lou Gehrig’s Disease).
Other than that, I have to say I think she’s awesome! And I love watching her make arrests on the show, with attitude and a touch of rebellion.
Well, that’s it for tonight. Remember to please visit www.cnn.com/impact to learn how to help the people of Haiti who are recovering from a devastating earthquake. Also, visit www.beattherain.org, and if you haven’t already, read about Sean Penn’s efforts to assist in relocating Haitians to safer areas before the spring downpours begin.
If I don’t say it enough, thank you all for your ongoing support of “Holdin’ Out for a Hero.” You really are making my lifelong dream come true!