It all started when...


Our founder, filmmaker Lysa Heslov, visited the war-torn country of Sudan in 2005. The experience changed her forever.

Confronted by the devastating effects of genocide on the country's most vulnerable victims—children—Heslov sought to connect with them through art. She made kites with a group of children who beamed with rare smiles as they watched their hand-made creations take flight. For a brief period of time, they experienced nothing but the simple joy that comes from creative work.

Deeply moved by this extraordinarily powerful experience, Heslov found herself contemplating the possibility of empowering children in the U.S. to help other children affected by poverty, violence, or other painful circumstances. 

Soon, Children Mending Hearts was born, with the goal of helping children develop empathy and compassion through the power of artistic expression.

Since 2008 the organization has provided free art education programs to more than 25,000 children throughout Los Angeles County and is expanding its reach to cities nationwide.

Heslov's dream is to inspire future generations of compassionate and socially-conscious citizens who will change a culture of bullying into one of empathy and action.

Lysa Heslov, founder of Children Mending Hearts