The Humanity Project

To create and implement innovative programs that teach children and adults how to use cooperation and social connection for individual development and grassroots community improvement
  •    Welcome to the Humanity Project!  


    "Helping kids to help kids!"™

    That's what the Humanity Project is all about. This website shows you how we help kids to help kids -- and gives you free materials and other tools to join our efforts. Please use our social media links or Contact page to get in touch. (We've disabled new comments for added security.)

  • Welcoming A New Sponsor … And New Friend

    Posted By on October 25, 2016

    The Humanity Project is proud today to announce the addition of an important new sponsor — and a valuable new friend for our kids. You may not know the name right now … but you will. Because this educational center for teaching the Spanish language is an official arm of one of the most famous, prestigious universities in the world. We are honored.

    The new school is called ELE USAL Florida, which is an acronym for the full name in Spanish: Escuela de Lengua Espanola de la Universidad de Salamanca Florida. The Spanish Language School of the University of Salamanca in Florida. The institution in Spain is nearly 800 years old. The University of Salamanca was the school of Miguel de Cervantes and Hernan Cortes, among many other famed alumni. Christopher Columbus submitted the plans for his New World expeditions to a panel of expert geographers at the University of Salamanca. It is the third oldest university in the world, the oldest university in Spain and acknowledged all over the planet as a Campus of International Excellence.

    Now the University of Salamanca has opened its first Spanish language school in the United States. We are fortunate that this took place recently in the Humanity Project’s backyard, at Coral Springs, Florida … only a 30-minute drive from our office. As a new sponsor of the Humanity Project, ELE USAL Florida brings us not only vital new program funding but also fresh talents and resources to share with our organization. We welcome them to the Humanity Project family with open arms. Click here to visit the website of ELE USAL Florida. ese-usal-florida-logo

    Let me tell you a bit about the great things ELE USAL Florida is doing. Fully supported by the University of Salamanca, ELE USAL Florida offers a wide range of programs for all ages, starting at five-years-old and continuing through retirees. For kids, the school teaches afternoon immersion programs that focus on learning through the arts for younger children – much as we do at the Humanity Project. Theater, music, dance, literature and more are used as tools to connect with young hearts and minds. From ages 12 to 15, fun is mixed with a more academic approach to help these young people grasp the Spanish language. ELE USAL Florida also provides dynamic courses for older students as well as programs geared toward businesses and even Spanish teachers and senior citizens.

    With Spanish spoken now by more than a half billion people worldwide, most of us could use at least some knowledge of the language. Here in the United States, we are home to the second largest population of Spanish speakers, behind only Mexico. ELE USAL Florida is an innovative way to learn Spanish, taught by experts with a vast tradition behind them. And ELE USAL Florida promotes the Hispanic culture as part of all courses and activities.

    The Humanity Project is very proud to add ELE USAL Florida to our distinguished roster of sponsors. You can find the full list at this page: Visit the Humanity Project Sponsor page.  We very much look forward to working with the new Spanish language school and its remarkable owner, Rosane Santana, for many years to come. We believe our partnership can benefit children, families and the community at large in South Florida and beyond. Thank you, Rosane and ELE USAL Florida.


    Playing Peace

    Posted By on October 11, 2016

    As founder of the Humanity Project, I am a committed advocate for our organization’s core values: respect for all, the value of diversity, the importance of self-worth. And peace. As you might expect. But not when I was a kid. Back then, I was fascinated by war. I viewed war as heroic. I saw battles as desperate conflicts about good and evil — and of course, I was always on the side of good. Or so I imagined anyway. I fought many a titanic struggle in violent opposition to the forces arrayed against democracy, each a fantasy war played out by a child crawling through a dirt pile or scrambling through the Midwestern woods, toy gun in hand. iphone-new-009

    Why was this? Why did war seem glorious to me then? I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years. And I’ve also looked at my experience in the context of today’s kids. Children and teens are playing at war every day, if perhaps more often in ultra-detailed video games rather than outside in the fresh air. Why?

    My friend and distinguished colleague, Dr. Laura Finley of Barry University, has written about this issue in her own work as a vocal peace activist. She’s helped me to see even more clearly now the destructive role our society plays in encouraging violence as a form of play. Just think about it. Unless it’s a comedy, almost all blockbuster movies these days glorify violence in some form. So do many television programs, video games, websites and more. The vibe of American culture reminds us that it’s cool to be physically violent for a justified end — look at the action heroes who can take out four villains in a minute’s time. Cool. Explosions are awesome, automatic weapons are amazing, the ability to kill with anything at hand is a virtue. All very cool. As adults, we absorb that ethic too. But kids are especially vulnerable to having their values and beliefs, their thoughts and actions altered by this cultural bias.

    So I wondered: Why can’t compassionate writers and peace-loving directors and socially responsible production companies or video gamemakers … why can’t they get together to try changing this? I think it’s possible. As an author of 24 books and five plays, I know something about writing. And my experience tells me that I could create a screenplay or theatrical drama or video game that glorified … peace. Instead of teaching our kids to play war, why not demonstrate how to go about playing peace? It would be challenging but do-able to create characters who defuse tense situations with wit and intelligence rather than with guns and fists. And this only sounds boring because we’re so accustomed to the opposite. Action flicks and exciting scenarios must involve violence — that’s what we’ve learned. But they don’t. Dramatically portraying the passion and compassion of a remarkable human being who confronts enormous odds could be at least as exciting as all the guns and bombs, even more so when this human being overcomes these intense problems to save the day. With peace.

    The movie “Gandhi” wasn’t boring, was it? Yes, Gandhi and his supporters stood up to acts of terrible violence shown in the film but I don’t think that’s why the story worked so well. I just watched it again for the umpteenth time recently. It worked because the character was so compelling — and inspiring. The same approach could be explored in different ways with fictional characters and video games. I hope at some point our entertainment community presses for new models to amuse and divert us, the millions of adults and children who are today’s cultural consumers. I believe showing inspirational rather than violent examples of being cool might go a long way toward teaching all of us an important lesson: Violence isn’t cool in reality. It never was. What’s cool is peace.

    Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital/Memorial Healthcare: GR8 Partners!

    Posted By on September 27, 2016

    We had a wonderful meeting last week between the Humanity Project and our longtime sponsor, Memorial Healthcare System/Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. The results of that meeting mean that the Humanity Project’s innovative program for middle school children will reach many more kids in 2016/17 – children who will learn valuable and memorable lessons about respect, diversity and self-value as part of our Humanity Club program. We’ve agreed to continue this program at Gulfstream Academy and to take it to another school beginning in early 2017. It’s part of the Humanity Project’s acclaimed work of “helping kids to help kids,” something we’ve been doing for nearly 11 years now.JDCH -- smaller but still usable

    But as we get rolling with our Humanity Club, we have to pause a moment to thank the many wonderful people who work with us at Memorial Healthcare System/Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. They are our friends as well as friends of the community. They are among our key partners and sponsors, which includes their support for our effective I Care teen driver safety program. Memorial Healthcare System/Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital recently agreed to another year’s sponsorship funding for the Humanity Project, vital money that we’re expecting to arrive at our door soon. So yes, today a big thank you is in order. Please take a moment to read some of the many names of these friends and partners. They help us to help kids … and to make life better for many families in the South Florida community and beyond.

    We must start with Memorial’s dynamic new CEO, Aurelio Fernandez, who we met at a recent meeting. And Scott Singer, Associate Administrator at JDCH. Another important friend and partner is Milin Espino, Community Relations Director, along with such fine staffers as Jennifer Belyeu and Theresa Garcia among many others. We also have to thank Joanne Joicin of Memorial’s Youth Force program at Gulfstream, and Joanne’s administrator, Cammie Cacace – and other folks in Memorial’s Community Services too, including our longtime friend Tim Curtin and Marilyn Camerota and … And we can’t forget the Humanity Project’s buddy, Lotsy Dotsy the Clown, also known as Linda Herbert. (You can listen to our podcast with her at this link: Hear the podcast with Lotsy Dotsy.)

    Lotsy Dotsy visits the Humanity Project

    Lotsy Dotsy visits the Humanity Project

    The list goes on. Great folks, each of them. Memorial Healthcare System/Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital does significant work that helps many thousands of people annually – work that is aided in unique and valuable ways by the Humanity Project’s arts-based youth programs. We are proud to call these institutions and these people our friends. Thank you.

    Our Eventful Work

    Posted By on September 18, 2016

    The Humanity Project has existed for nearly 11 years now. And each year, we connect more and more closely with our community. For us, “our community” means South Florida, where we are based. It also means the United States and Canada, where Humanity Project programs are promoted by our sponsor, Google. Our anti-bullying and anti-distracted driving and other materials are used by students and educators and families in many states and provinces. That helps us to help thousands more kids.

    But let me focus today on the local community. We believe in hands-on efforts, taking our acclaimed programs directly to schools, parent groups, organizations, companies as well as to community events. Earlier this month, we gave our first-of-the-school-year Anti-bullying Through The Arts program to more than 400 students at Sunshine Elementary School. Great kids at this school, where they eagerly took part in our anti-bullying lessons.

    Anti-bullying at Sunshine Elementary: September 2016

    We also attended the big Back to School Community Extravaganza, which was organized and led by Children’s Services Council of Broward County. It was a wonderful event, bringing out families who were looking for advice for their kids … and for help with things like books, shoes, clothes. We talked to many parents about bullying and diversity and building respect among students as well as the dangers of distracted driving for folks with older children. It was a great day.

    This past week the Humanity Project was very pleased to set up our table for the large Behavioral Health Resource Fair at Broward Community College. Indeed the Humanity Project was a sponsor of this event and we worked on the organizing committee to plan the fair. This was another excellent day for us, bringing together hundreds of teachers and social workers, therapists and nonprofit leaders to discuss possible collaborations. We’re excited by some of the colleagues we met and the great potential to work with them to pool our talents and resources.

    Behavioral Health Resource Fair

    Behavioral Health Resource Fair

    Yes, each year the Humanity Project does more to connect with our community, locally and beyond. We hope to meet you at a school or fair, seminar or event some day soon. Or you can simply contact us by email or phone to talk about one of our programs. We’d love to connect with you.

    Anti-bullying Through The Arts … Again!

    Posted By on September 3, 2016

    The new school year has begun. And this means our acclaimed Humanity Project anti-bullying programs are about to start too. Anti-bullying Through The Arts is our longtime and highly successful core anti-bullying program. We focus our presentation and the follow up booklet for teachers on one simple concept for elementary schoolkids: “Bullying hurts everyone in this school and it takes everyone to stop it!” By delivering this message powerfully and memorably, our program helps these young kids become an effective anti-bullying force among their peers. If you’d like to learn more about Anti-bullying Through The Arts, click on this link: Read more about the program.

    Or … Or you can take a quick look for yourself by checking out one of our YouTube videos. It’s a short sample of the 40-minute program. We think this will give you some sense of what we do:

    If you’d like to bring Anti-bullying Through The Arts to your school, please get in touch with us. The program is free, fun … and effective.

    Human Rights Education … & Us

    Posted By on August 28, 2016

    hreusa-logoThe Humanity Project last week received an invitation to join Human Rights Educators USA, a new national network that works to promote human rights education. We were honored at the request – and yes, we joined this worthwhile coalition. Other partners include the American Red Cross, Amnesty International USA and the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights. Visit the Human Rights Educators USA website.

    Human Rights Educators USA  (HRE USA) defines human rights education as “…a lifelong process of teaching and learning that helps individuals develop the knowledge, skills, and values to fully exercise and protect the human rights of themselves and others; to fulfill their responsibilities in the context of internationally agreed upon human rights principles; and to achieve justice and peace in our world.”

    At the Humanity Project we help kids to help kids, creating innovative arts-based programs with talented students, then tapping student leaders who bring these programs to their peers. Part of this work involves helping our students to respect themselves and all other people, an appreciation for diversity among individuals. We believe our efforts align nicely with the goals of HRE USA and we’re proud to join their ranks. Human Rights Educators USA is only one of the valuable state, national and international partners who count the Humanity Project among their members. These organizations include Charter for Compassion and the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.

    Our work remains helping kids to help kids prevent bullying and distracted driving and to encourage self-value and respect-for-all among their peers. We think Human Rights Educators USA and our other partners are important allies in that effort.

    State Farm Agents & I Care

    Posted By on August 17, 2016

    Nearly 700 State Farm agents now have full access to the Humanity Project’s unique, effective teen driver safety program. That’s every single State Farm agent in the state of Florida who can download and share our I Care program with teen drivers and their parents. For free. And more of these agents each week also are requesting hard copies of both I Care books. “I Care: Just Let Me Drive,” created by teens, for teens … and “I Care: Just Help Them Drive,” created by parents and teens specifically for the parents of young drivers.An alternative SF logo THUMBNAIL -- new Jan 2015

    Our program avoids scare tactics, which research shows do not effectively alter driving habits. Instead we use humor and clever writing to connect with young drivers and parents of young drivers. We also have a website with videos, an animated rap song and more. You’ll find that site at

    We must give a big shoutout to our great friend at State Farm for helping us reach these Florida insurance agents, who of course handle many thousands of clients for the largest insurance provider in the United States. Jose Soto is Public Affairs Community Specialist for State Farm in Florida – and he’s a man who is highly regarded by the many nonprofits and other community partners who know his work. We think the world of Jose and we’re always grateful for his vital assistance in helping the Humanity Project to expand our I Care program, thereby helping to prevent accidents, injuries and deaths.

    We’re very pleased to know each and every State Farm agent in this large state now can share I Care with families from Tallahassee to the Keys. And later this fall the Humanity Project will unveil a new live version of I Care that we’ll bring to parent groups through an entertaining PowerPoint presentation. Stay tuned for more on that exciting news. For the meantime, our thanks again go out to State Farm – good neighbors indeed who help us to connect with more kids and parents who need our valuable teen driver safety program.

    Our Fund: The Podcast

    Posted By on July 29, 2016

    We will keep this post very brief today for one good reason. We hope you’ll listen rather than read.

    Our Fund NEW 2

    Just click on the logo to visit the podcast!

    There’s a new Humanity Project Podcast recently posted here on our website and on iTunes. We spoke with two top officials from Our Fund, the LGBT community foundation that now sponsors the Humanity Project’s Anti-bullying Through The Arts and Humanity Club programs — and we think you’ll find the conversation entertaining and informative. The program also includes a brand new piece of music composed by Humanity Project Founder Bob Knotts especially for this program, a short classical piece called, “Elegy for Orlando.”

    Please take a listen. We’re sure you’ll enjoy what you hear: For the new Our Fund podcast, click here or on the Our Fund logo.  (Then just click once more on the arrow at the top of the page to launch the program. Volume adjustment activates once the podcast is playing.)

    **Note: For iPhones, click here to visit the Humanity Project Podcast on iTunes.

    An LGBT Adult Speaks To LGBT Kids

    Posted By on July 23, 2016

    About a week ago, the Humanity Project received a moving email from a 28-year-old man named Jared Kenwood, who lives in South Florida. Mr. Kenwood’s email included these words: “I was 11 years old when I came out as being gay, not only to my parents but to my whole school. From then on depression, isolation, insecurities, and suicide attempts have taken place.” His email continued, “I want to become a public speaker … and share my story, how I overcame adversity and have been able to move on from homophobia, bullying, and all the things that can lead to suicide and gay bashing …”

    One of the ways that the Humanity Project helps kids to help kids is by teaching the importance of diversity, self-value and respect for all people. And our website (“The Humanity Project 4 Kids”) was created to be an online friend by teens, for teens who feel isolated and lonely. So we are pleased to share Mr. Kenwood’s email with you — and his video. We hope you’ll watch it and send the link to anyone who may benefit:

    The Peaceful Child

    Posted By on July 16, 2016

    Wouldn’t it be lovely, though? If every child was a peaceful child … By that I mean a child who lives without being exposed to violence. A child who knows that their home and their school, their streets and stores are safe. Most of all a child who feels like a valuable human being — and so is at peace with herself or himself. Yes, wouldn’t it be lovely?

    Every child deserves a peaceful, loving childhood

    Every child deserves a peaceful, loving childhood

    The Humanity Project has just joined the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, a collection of organizations that share one goal: To promote sensible gun laws and gun violence prevention. Visit the website of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence. Fla Coalition to Prevent Gun ViolenceThe coalition is organized and led by the League of Women Voters of Florida and if you check out their website, you’ll find the Humanity Project listed among its members. The Coalition already has some wonderful accomplishments, helping to block laws such as Campus Carry and Open Carry that would have made guns more prevalent in Florida. Now we’re all working to ban assault weapons and expand background checks.

    You may ask yourself, “How does this fit the Humanity Project’s mission – and the goal of ‘helping kids to help kids’?” We believe it does because kids need a peaceful society, free of gun violence, to grow into responsible and healthy adults. A violent world only encourages fear, self-obsession, anger and ultimately more violence. We see it in the headlines every week lately. The young men who killed in places such as Orlando and Dallas and Nice were not people who had peaceful childhoods. They grew up frightened and angry. And they became violent as a result.

    So the Humanity Project Board of Directors does indeed believe that preventing the spread of guns is well within the appropriate mission for the Humanity Project. Our focus continues to be on anti-bullying and safe driving and teaching the value of diversity and self-value through peer-to-peer programs. But kids need help from adults to accomplish these things. And now they need our help to limit gun violence too, so they can mature surrounded not by violence and hatred but by peace and love.