When BRIDGES opened in 1988, larger red velvet hearts were held by our youngest children in their Feelie Heart support group as they found comfort holding these hearts while sharing the circumstances that brought them to BRIDGES. The stories they told involved someone of significance in their lives who had died. Sometimes the death was sudden through an accident or sudden illness. Sometimes there had been a prolonged period of anticipating the death through a lengthy illness. At other times the death was by suicide or homicide. Whatever the story brought by the child, comfort was needed. Feelie Hearts provided something tangible and comforting to hold on to for these young grievers.
As a result of these children, pocket-sized hearts were created by volunteer group facilitator Margie Williams in memory of her young son, Derek. Another volunteer, Lenore Clem has sewn hearts for BRIDGES by the thousands in all colors and soft, plushy fabrics. Many groups and individuals are volunteering to make Feelie Hearts for BRIDGES!
The Feelie Hearts have grown in popularity as BRIDGES started handing out Feelie Hearts to not only children that come to BRIDGES, but adults as well.
Many put their heart in their pocket and take it with them to school, work or wherever they might need to be reminded that they are loved and cared for. Some have chosen to give their heart away to someone they know who is going through a difficult time. Stories have been written about circumstances in which the hearts were used. A teacher tells us about a child in her classroom who gave his small red Feelie Heart Collage velvet Feelie Heart to a classmate who shared about her loss. A young girl gave her heart to her father when the parents divorce. Two young teens placed their Feelie Hearts in their grandmother’s casket along with notes of special memories.
BRIDGES Feelie Hearts have been mailed as far away as Australia and the Middle East as children send their messages of love, hope and healing to others who are experiencing pain. It is estimated that over 100,000 Feelie Hearts have been handed out at BRIDGES since the first children's group adopted the large velvet hearts in 1988.
We are very happy to make the Feelie Hearts available to those who are in need of care and comfort.