Founded in 2004 as a direct result of catastrophic events occurring in the Asia theater, Hugs International is a Christian-based registered USA 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization headquartered in New Jersey, USA. Our sole purpose is to come along side of children anyplace in the world who are being wounded and traumatized either by terror, natural disasters or violence in their homes and to help ease the pain, heal the hurt, and restore to them the joy of life.
The Founding President is Brenda Giles. Brenda grew up on a small farm in Grambling, Lousiana in the south of the United States and graduated with a BA degree in Political Science from LSU in Baton Rouge. With a passion for the well-being of children, she volunteered in St. Petersburg, Russia for 2 years where she spearheaded a program helping street children. She currently resides in Jerusalem, Israel where she oversees Hugs for Israel...an extension of Hugs International.
We endeavor to fulfill the prophesy found in Isaiah 61:3 and to indeed give them "beauty for ashes and the oil of joy for mourning" where ever they may be found.
Though we are predominately Christian, our purpose is not to evangelize, but rather to come along side of these children survivors... from all religious backgrounds and regardless of ethnicity...who are in the midst of trauma caused by acts of terrorism (either directly or indirectly), natural disasters, or domestic violence and to encircle them with arms of comfort (both figurtively and literally) as a refuge for them from their pain and fears. To restore the innocence of their childhood...giving them beauty for ashes...that they might be able once more to live...and laugh...and love.
To do this, we use a variety of simple things that speak louder than any words in order to say 'you are special, you have worth and you are loved!' By reinforcing these truths and engaging them in play and fun activities that afford them a sense of accomplishement
which in turn enhances their self-esteem, the cycle of fear, hatred and violence can be broken.
We believe that the day will come when those whose hearts we are "hugging" now will in turn be able to reach out and to "hug the hearts" of others...even those from the offenders...with the same comfort they have received. This is our prayer and our strong faith!