The Healing Young Hearts Project was launched after a deadly 8.0 magnitude earthquake devastated a large area of Sichuan province on May 12th, 2008. The tragic quake killed 68,000 people and left 18,000 missing, 375,000 injured, and 4.8 million homeless.
Foreign volunteers working with the Heilongjiang Department of Education and the Heilongjiang Children’s Center organized a collective of international educators, writers and psychosocial experts to aid teachers in the quake zone. As a result, the Healing Young Hearts project was born, and groups of teachers and volunteers from the earthquake zone received free disaster resource handbooks and training which enabled them to help children traumatized by the earthquake. the project has since been expanded to provide parents, teachers and volunteers with resources to give children needed emotional support during times of illness and personal crisis.
The Healing Young Hearts Project in Heilongjiang is conducted under the auspices of the Heilongjiang Children’s Center, a regional branch of the China National Children’s Center, and an affiliated institution of the All China Women’s Federation. As a center for after-school education, the Heilongjiang Children’s Center organizes educational activities and training courses for different interest groups in art, sports, science, and language, enabling children to broaden their knowledge, develop their personality, and increase their competence.
Volunteer activities, civic involvement and community responsibility is an important part of education, so the center has supported socially beneficial charitable programs and encouraged the involvement of students and staff in such projects. Over the past 10 years the center has supported various volunteer initiatives including projects to provide low-income students with tuition, school supplies and clothing in cooperation with registered charities such as Spring Bud, Project HOPE, etc.
Since forming the Healing Young Hearts Project in 2008, team members have conducted earthquake assistance and training activities in Sichuan, cooperating with the Beijing National Children’s Center and the Sichuan Children’s Center to conduct training for teachers in therapeutic musical activities and psychosocial support methods. The Project is currently expanding its scope to include emotional support and assistance programs beyond disaster relief.
As of 2012, Healing Young Hearts Volunteers have been hosted by the Cathay Future Center in Tianjin. Cathay Future, under the wing of the Ministry of Culture, provides children with educational and cultural programs to enhance their lives. Cathay Future has hosted the filming project of the Healing Young Hearts Dietary Therapy for Epilepsy project, as well as Purple Day Epilepsy Awareness events.