Photos: This Boy Lost Both of His Parents, Now He’s Collecting Smiles from Around the World

Six-year-old Jaden Hayes has faced tragedy and loss in his short life. Both of his parents passed away within the last two years—his father when Jayden was four, and his mother more recently—and his life will never be the same again. In the midst of his sadness, Jaden has decide he didn’t want to see any more sad faces—so he’s set out to change the world one smile at a time. Now his project is a viral hit that is making the news worldwide.

Known as “The Smile Experiment”, Jaden has set out to heal his grief by collecting smiles.

So Jaden went out into his community bearing beads, toy dinosaurs, and little rubber ducks go give hand out in exchange for smiles and a picture.

His cousin Natasha Compton started uploading his project to Instagram, and now the experiment has gone viral with people sharing pictures on the hashtag #TheSmileExperiment.

People from around the world started to share their smiles with Jaden, and the photos will warm your heart.

Natasha told The Huffington Post that his original goal was to collect 500 smiles—so far he has over 300.

She said:

“I do believe that The Smile Experiment is helping Jaden process the loss of his mother, but it is also showing him that even one smile can make a difference. I am pretty sure that is something he already knew, but just needed to be reminded of.

As far as other go, the experiment is definitely helping my mother and I cope with our loss and through Jaden we are seeing that no matter how bad you are hurting, if you can smile, for whatever reason, it will eventually start to get easier.”