While watching television about the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013, A Small Hander named Isabella asked a simple compassionate question, “Mom and Dad, what are we doing to help those kids in the Philippines?” Her parents cautiously directed back the question, “Well, what would you like to do to help them?” Isabella compassionately responded, “Well, there is a lot we can do! We can raise money by knitting hats and making bracelets and we can sell them. We need to do something!”

This simple dialogue between 7-year-old Isabella and her parents was what sparked the creation of Small Hands Big Hearts United This instinctive compassion of many Small Handers and Ambassador Teens is what has made the nonprofit continue to grow. Families from all over the Triangle were brought together by a very simple “Compassion Mission”sparked to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan. Dozens of hats and bracelets later the Small Handers and Ambassadors of SHBHU were able to raise over $600. Thus, creating one of 6 present day SHBHU committees-Hearts and Hugs Across Borders.

There is a biological basis for compassion. Neuroscientists at both Princeton and Emory University found this to be true. Joshua Greene and Jonathan Cohen of Princeton found that compassion isn’t simply a fickle and irrational emotion, but rather an innate human response embedded in our brains. They studied how children and adult brains reacted when having to contemplate harm being done to others. James Rilling and Gregory Berns of Emory found that people’s brains lit up and reacted with pleasure when given the opportunity to help others.  Small Hands Big Hearts United began for the sole purpose of “nurturing children’s instinctive compassion to others and the world around them”. It is in this simple mission, that we believe our kids can make the world they inherit a much better and compassionate place for all.