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Last year around Halloween, I was invited to participate in a
for Tuesday's Child, an organization that helps children with
virus. I was asked to attend because I'm on a television show; I
because I care. I don't think that most of the kids recognize me
celebrity. They just thought of me as a big kid who came to play
them for the day. I think I liked it better that way.
At the carnival they had all kinds of booths. I was drawn to one
particular because of all the children that had gathered there.
booth, anyone who wanted to could paint a square. Later that
was going to be sewn together with the others, to make a quilt.
quilt would be presented to a man who had dedicated his life to
organization and would soon be retiring.
They gave everyone fabric paints in bright, beautiful colors and
the kids to paint something that would make the quilt beautiful.
looked around at all the squares, I saw pink hearts and bright
clouds, beautiful orange sunrises and green and purple flowers.
pictures were all bright, positive and uplifting. All except for
The boy sitting next to me was painting a heart, but it was
lifeless. It lacked the bright, vibrant colors that his fellow
At first I thought maybe he took the only paint that was left
happened to be dark. But when I asked him about it, he said his
was that color because his own heart felt dark. I asked him why
told me that he was very sick. Not only was he very sick, but
was very sick also. He said that his sickness was not ever going
better and neither was his mom's. He looked straight into my
said, "There is nothing anyone can do that will help."
I told him I was sorry that he was sick and I could certainly
why he was so sad. I could even understand why he had made his
heart a dark color. But...I told him that it isn't true that
anyone can do to help. Other people may not be able to make him
his mom better...but we can do things like give bear hugs, which
experience can really help when you are feeling sad. I told him
would like, I would be happy to give him one so he could see
meant. He instantly crawled into my lap and I thought my own
would burst with the love I felt for this sweet little boy.
He sat there for a long time and when he had had enough, he
down to finish his coloring. I asked him if he felt any better
that he did, but he was still sick and nothing would change
him I understood. I walked away feeling sad, but recommitted to
cause. I would do whatever I could to help.
As the day was coming to an end and I was getting ready to head
home, I felt a tug on my jacket. I turned around and standing
a smile on his face was the little boy. He said, "My heart is
colors. It is getting brighter...I think those bear hugs really
On my way home I felt my own heart and realized it, too, had
to a brighter color.
By Jennifer Love Hewitt
actress, "Party of Five"
from Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul
Copyright 1997 by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and