Posted By Bob Knotts on October 31, 2014
(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from an article in the November 2014 edition of the Humanity Project newsletter. Our organization’s free newsletter comes out through email once a month. You can sign up for the newsletter in the right-hand column of this web page by clicking and providing us with your email address. No other information is requested.)
Dr. Laura Finley, Humanity Project Board of Directors VP
That’s our friend, colleague and Humanity Project Board VP, Dr. Laura Finley, smiling at you as we begin November. She just wrote a new book called, “School Violence,” published by ABC-CLIO. Laura very generously is donating all her royalties from the book to the Humanity Project. We are touched by her gesture – as she knows, we will use the money to help stop school violence and improve life for many kids.
“School Violence” is more than a book title to Laura Finley. It is a topic she understands well. Dr. Finley is a professor of sociology and criminology at Barry University, which recently was named among America’s Top Colleges by Forbes. She has taken a strong interest in issues related to dating violence and domestic violence. And she is a community and peace activist who, with her husband, Peter, is raising a delightful daughter of her own. We know Laura to be a smart, funny and genuinely caring person who puts great energy into her work toward a more peaceful world. Her newest book, “School Violence,” covers a broad range of issues related to that topic, including the history of school violence as well as controversies in the field and ideas for solving the problem. It also offers some outside perspectives on school violence, including a short section on bullying written by me as founder of the Humanity Project. We hope you may want to read Dr. Finley’s fine book, which you can buy directly from ABC-CLIO at this link: Visit the publisher’s page for “School Violence.” We highly recommend it for the detailed information Laura Finley has assembled on this important subject — and to help the Humanity Project fight bullying through Laura’s generous gift to us.
Posted By Bob Knotts on October 27, 2014
The Humanity Project by law is not a political organization. We don’t lobby for political causes, or religious ones for that matter. Our group has an IRS-recognized educational and literary mission, empirically based with a focus on kids. There’s nothing political about our support for some loyal friends at Children’s Services Council of Broward County. They are wonderful people who carry out their own important mission in this large South Florida region, home to the sixth largest school district in the United States. Their work includes vital financial support for a wide variety of programs for children, including the Humanity Project’s highly regarded Anti-bullying Through The Arts program.
Children’s Services Council of Broward County has just renewed its matching funding for the Humanity Project — for the 7th consecutive year. As a result, we’re able to reach more kids with our very effective program. That’s just one of many examples of the contributions made by CSC Broward. And we thank them. If you happen to live in Broward County, Florida, please vote to renew authorization for Children’s Services Council of Broward County. We know lots of our website visitors are from South Florida — as well as from other counties, other states, even many other countries. For Broward residents, though, this is an opportunity to help the Humanity Project express gratitude to CSC Broward in a meaningful way. With your vote to continue tax funding for this great organization.
One note to our voting friends: Look for the reauthorization question on Page 2, lower right corner of the ballot. It’s in an awkward spot and easy to miss. CSC Broward needs our help so they in turn can help tens of thousands of children in this area over the coming years … including the kids who gain so much from the Humanity Project. Children’s Services Council of Broward County isn’t political and neither is the community effort to make sure they stick around South Florida for a long time. That’s not politics. It’s just good sense.
Posted By Bob Knotts on October 16, 2014
Every week should be teen driver safety week. That’s what we believe at the Humanity Project. And it’s the reason we created I Care: Just Let Me Drive, our unique and, yes, innovative program for teenage drivers. But from October 19-25, we are stepping on the gas, as it were — moving forward even faster with our efforts to prevent teen traffic accidents. This Friday, a high school with 2,400 students will celebrate our I Care program at its big home football game. Next Tuesday, October 21, high school students will hold a major I Care rally, including student skits and readings taken from our I Care book. There’s more too, including flash mobs and contests and a variety of activities intended to let teens know about I Care. You might wonder why this is such a big issue. Here’s why: More teens die in car accidents than from any other cause. As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports, almost half the teens involved in car crashes die. And while we’re at it, here’s another sobering statistic: Nearly 80% of teens believe they can safely text while driving — though university research consistently shows that neither teens nor adults can do this. Driving seems like such a simple and mindless activity, doesn’t it? Why pay attention? Except that unexpected things happen all the time on the roads. If we’re not paying attention, we won’t react in time. So we need to think about driving as an action that requires focus … in case. We remain prepared because things may take place that demand our full and clear-headed experience to avoid tragedy. New drivers need this reminder often. The Humanity Project thinks this message comes through for teens more effectively when delivered by their peers. Our great major sponsor for I Care, State Farm, agrees with us — as does our other I Care sponsor, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital as well as partners such as Florida SADD and Barry University. We are grateful for their support and their commitment to teen driver safety. National Teen Driver Safety Week is a chance for all of us to remember just how important that issue really is.
Posted By Bob Knotts on October 11, 2014
We work very hard at the Humanity Project to keep things constructive, hopeful and inspiring. That’s true in this blog, in our popular social media and in all our programs. In that spirit, then, we honor the memory of a lost friend.
Shelly Solomon was a champion of bullied children, a woman who genuinely cared about the scars caused by school bullying. She worked hard to eliminate bullying in Broward County, Florida and beyond as co-chair of the Anti-bullying Task Force that created an effective school policy — a policy that was imitated around Florida. I knew Shelly well through my work on that task force. I recognized a human being of great intelligence and compassion, someone who believed strongly that the time of bullying must end. It was in large part because of Shelly that I was asked to serve on that task force. Even more importantly, Shelly was a key reason the Humanity Project had the opportunity to create our own anti-bullying program and take it to young school children. That program, called Anti-bullying Through The Arts, now is widely acclaimed well beyond the borders of Broward County or the state of Florida. More than 15,000 elementary school kids have benefited from Anti-bullying Through The Arts to date in Broward County alone, the nation’s sixth largest school district. And elements of the program have been used by schools from California to Maine.
The Humanity Project owes Shelly Solomon a lot. And so it is with real gratitude that we remember her. She passed away two days ago as I write this blog, her death the result of a tragedy that does not require specifics here. We really do believe in the positive at the Humanity Project. This tribute can serve as one among many expressions of affection and appreciation for this remarkable woman. And it can inspire those of us who knew Shelly to work even harder to make this world a more compassionate and welcoming place for every person. Thank you, Shelly.
Posted By Bob Knotts on October 7, 2014
This will be a brief post indeed — for a good reason. We’d like you to check out some new photos on our website’s main picture page rather than to spend a lot of time reading a post. At that page, you can take a look at a few cute photographs from our most recent Anti-bullying Through The Arts program. Here’s a quick link to the Photos page: http://thehumanityproject.com/photos/. We also hope this photo below might whet your appetite for more. While you’re at the Photos page, you may want to glance through some of the other pics you’ve missed. We think you’ll agree there are some good ones showing your Humanity Project in action!
Posted By Bob Knotts on September 28, 2014
Bullying can damage a child for a lifetime. But we can work together to change that — even after bullying happens. When we show a bullied child that he or she was not at fault, when we make them feel more secure and loved by others despite the bullying, we help limit the suffering caused by bullying. Today I want to tell you about some folks who did just that in a northern Ohio community called Bay Village. A 14-year-old autistic boy was seriously bullied by schoolmates who had promised to help him participate in the popular ice bucket challenge to raise money for ALS research. Instead, the classmates dumped a bucket filled with urine and spit on the boy — and recorded the whole thing on video. They then went a step further by posting the video on Instagram. Yes, horrible indeed. Local police are investigating the prank with an eye toward filing charges. But here’s the encouraging part of the story. Bay Village residents reacted by holding a rally to show support for the boy and increase awareness of bullying’s effects. They also are collecting money for ALS research and an organization called Autism Speaks. Some local folks are raising funds to help the family of the autistic boy as well. On a web page created by these good people, they wrote this: “Love only triumphs if we all share it. So… If you believe that this young man is awesome and you want to let him know, please share this with your friends on Facebook.” See what I mean? Surely this warm response to the bullying will better enable this boy to recover from the incident. And he will learn at the same time, as we’re reminded, that the bullies in our society are a distinct minority. It’s up to the rest of us to make sure bullying victims know this … and feel it too.
Posted By Bob Knotts on September 17, 2014
The Humanity Project long has worked closely with students — in many different ways. Now in the 2014-15 school year we have a great team of student volunteers through a new high school, all focused on spreading the word about our truly innovative I Care: Just Let Me Drive program.
Team I Care at Monarch High School
As you may know, this Humanity Project teen driver safety program avoids scare tactics, which research consistently shows are counterproductive with both adults and kids. No one wants to dwell on scary feelings, meaning lessons that try to teach with scare tactics quickly are pushed out of people’s minds. Instead I Care taps into a student’s need for social approval through a program that relies on friendship and positive peer pressure. It’s those pleasant feelings of friendship that bring about changed behavior behind the wheel, reducing distracted driving along with the accidents, injuries and deaths that too often accompany it.
So we’re thrilled to have an amazing team helping us reach many more teens during the next several months, right into June 2015. Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Florida, near Fort Lauderdale, is lucky to have an accomplished DECA marketing club led by the dynamic Greg Kennedy. He’s a teacher full of wonderful ideas and great enthusiasm for making the world a better place. An equally dynamic young woman named Rina is the team’s student leader, joined by Kevin and Andres as you see in the photo. They’re a smart bunch. Together with the Humanity Project, they’re exploring ways both conventional and unconventional to get teens using our program … which just may save lives. It’s very early in the year and the hard work is still ahead of us. But we’re confident that Team I Care will make a big difference. Our I Care sponsors, State Farm and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, give the support that allows us to provide the program for free. Monarch High School also plans some fundraising efforts for us throughout the year, which will help a lot. So for now, we just wanted to introduce you to our newest student and teacher team members. And to say, stay tuned. We’re expecting some remarkable things.
Posted By site administrator on September 8, 2014
(Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from an article in the September 2014 edition of the Humanity Project newsletter. Our organization’s free newsletter comes out through email once a month. You can sign up for the newsletter in the right-hand column of this web page by clicking and providing us with your email address. No other information is requested.)
Like so many worldwide, Humanity Project members were inspired by the brilliant work of Robin Williams. His improvisational humor as well as his acting in films such as Dead Poets Society entertained and enlightened millions. As a nonprofit that teaches through the arts, the Humanity Project honors the memory of that remarkable artist with our newest original musical work. This piano improvisation for Robin Williams reflects our appreciation for his private struggles and his contributions. As the description says for our new YouTube musical post: “Music for Robin Williams by Robert Spencer Knotts, Humanity Project founder. On Aug. 12, 2014, one day after Mr. Williams’ death, this piece was composed spontaneously without interruptions in tribute to the man we didn’t really know.”
And we also want to use this brief blog to remember that suicide prevention continues to improve — and that the Humanity Project now offers a national crisis hotline through our www.thp4kids.com website. You can listen to our short musical tribute at this link: Listen to the original composition, “Funnyman.”
Posted By Bob Knotts on August 28, 2014
As the school year begins, our friends at State Farm are busy working with students as usual. And as their partner in helping prevent teen traffic accidents, the Humanity Project is happy to help promote State Farm’s 2014 edition of the Celebrate My Drive campaign. We recently recorded a podcast with Jose Soto, the company’s terrific public affairs specialist in Florida. Jose is a good friend of the community — and the Humanity Project. In the new podcast, we discuss Celebrate My Drive as well as the Humanity Project’s innovative I Care: Just Let Me Drive program. You can catch the entertaining podcast by clicking on this link: Listen to the podcast. This year’s Celebrate My Drive will involve high schools all over the United States, each one registered at no cost through State Farm to take part in the contest. Those schools that collect the highest number of safe driving commitments will win grants of as much as $100,000. The top two schools also receive a concert from The Band Perry – performed at their school. To register, just go to the Celebrate My Drive website: Visit Celebrate My Drive. At the Humanity Project, we believe that Celebrate My Drive helps to engage thousands more teens in an effort to make driving safer for themselves and their peers. Remember, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among teens, killing more young people than cancer, homicide and suicide combined. That’s a powerful incentive for all of us to do what we can to stop these tragedies. Celebrate My Drive is one part of the solution and we are proud to be State Farm’s partner in the campaign.
Posted By Bob Knotts on August 21, 2014
We love to get comments from you. So today, we’re reminding you the easiest ways to do that. Comments, questions, suggestions, constructive advice — all are welcomed by everyone at the Humanity Project. One quick route to our attention is by going to the Contact page, which you’ll find among the horizontal menu listings above. There’s both a phone number and an email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Just give us a shout by phone or email. Then we have all kinds of social media where you can send us a comment or post your thoughts. Here’s a list of those addresses for you:
So yes, remember that we love to hear from you any time. Drop us a comment soon, won’t you?