Lysa Heslov

Founder of Childrens Mending HeartsSHERMAN OAKS, CAStory by Lauri LevenfeldPhotography by Lauri Levenfeld

We selected Lysa Heslov to launch THE PROJECT this month due to her incredible passion, love and devotion to working with kids and to bettering their lives. Lysa is the ultimate giver and a true inspiration. We wanted to continue her story here and share the amazing photos of our visit to her home in Los Angeles.

After growing up in Savannah, GA, Lysa Heslov moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the film industry. After establishing herself as a successful independent film producer, her circumstances began to drive her in a new direction.  In 2005, after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Lysa and her husband opened their home to a family that had lost everything in the storm.

For five months the families co-existed, offering her a new way to look at her life, and eventually a new career.

This event and the death of her best friend and sister-in-law inspired Lysa to raise over $40,000 for Cancer research, firmly establishing herself as a working philanthropist and true humanitarian.

By 2007, Lysa’s efforts became more focused and she participated in an aid trip to Darfur’s refugee camps. Her experience in seeing first-hand the devastating effects of genocide and poverty inspired her to create her own organization, Children Mending Hearts, with a goal of empowering at-risk children in the United States by connecting them with global communities and other children suffering from similar or often worse circumstances; CMH uses educational and artistic programs to facilitate a new world view- one without borders, motivated by empathy and a desire for peace.

Lysa has gone on to travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Darfur, Kenya, Rwanda, Haiti and several cities in the U.S., leading a team of professionals to implement the CMH Global Arts Exchange Workshops.  In 2012, Lysa facilitated the launch of a new program – CMH Global Arts After School. In addition to connecting children across the planet through shared projects and exchanges, the program focuses on enriching students in the U.S. with focused arts learning, awareness about specific countries, and empathy-based social skills.

In the past three years alone, Lysa and CMH has reached over 10,000 children. Lysa is currently studying for her Masters in Child Development, and seeking new opportunities to expand her message.  She and her husband- writer/director/producer and Academy Award winner, Grant Heslov- have two children of their own.

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