Inspired Mom of the Month: Melissa Joan Hart

The actress and mom of three champions family charities above all

MJ Hart

Melissa Joan Hart has done a lot since her days starring in (and producing) the nineties' hit Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and it all centers around her most important role of all, mom to three little boys. Hart’s sons, Mason, Brady, and Tucker, were the inspiration for her childrenswear line, King of Harts. The New York native is also involved in a number of charities that help needy families, like Youth Villages and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. As part of our ongoing Inspired Moms series with ViaCord, we chatted with Melissa about philanthropy, parenthood, and more.

Tell us about the charities you are involved in. Charities that help children are my passion. Recently, I’ve worked with Youth Villages, a private nonprofit dedicated to helping emotionally and behaviorally troubled children and their families. Proceeds from the Louie T-shirt from my boys clothing line benefit Youth Villages. I’ve also partnered with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, which does so much to help prevent HIV and AIDS from being passed from mother-to-child. I've been a long time supporter of Friends of the Family, Baby Buggy, March of Dimes, Stomp Out Bullying, and tons of others. They all hold a special place in my heart since I am hyper-aware of the fact that my family is very blessed and healthy. I never want to take that for granted. That’s a great attitude. You’ve been working with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation for about 25 years now, right? How did you get started there? Growing up in New York City during the late eighties, we were very aware of the AIDS epidemic, and the organization’s “A Time For Heroes” event was the one fundraiser that promised to help children fighting this battle. Elizabeth Glaser’s personal struggle and loss of her child to AIDS is a story that stays with me. She made huge moves to protect other children in the future. So how can other moms get involved? To support Youth Villages, moms can purchase the Louie Thermal t-shirt. Beginning in November, we will also have a fun, winter-themed Yeti shirt that benefits Youth Villages. Moms can support the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation by hosting an event in their community, donating to the cause, and by asking Congress to take action. As a busy mom of three, how do you find time to get it all done? It's a constant struggle to balance everything, and I’m riddled with guilt on all sides. I make a different priority every day for a well-rounded week. I try to get work and house chores done while the kids are in school and the evening can be focused on family, but it doesn't always work out that way. I do think it's important to show my children that work is a priority and that discipline is a good trait. What are some of your favorite things to do as a family? We love to travel, and we spend a lot of time in our Lake Tahoe home. Our kids are all becoming amazing skiers, snowboarders, ice skaters and swimmers, which warms my heart since those are all things Mark and I love to do. Where’s home base for your family? Connecticut—that’s where our kids go to school and we have a great group of core friends. We have spent the past six years going back and forth to LA when I was working on “Melissa & Joey”. While I miss working on the show, I am so grateful to finally be home with my family growing the roots that we planted for our kids. What other projects do you have going on right now? I'm prepping to direct a movie remake next year and working on a few great shows that I hope we will be able to talk about soon. Thanks to my production partner (who happens to be my mom, Paula), we’re able to create our own opportunities most of the time through our company, Hartbreak Films. My clothing line is my main focus right now, and my kids are finally getting a full-time mom, which is such a lovely change for me. . . but parenting is also the world’s most difficult job! Yes, yes it is. Thanks for sharing, and inspiring, Melissa.