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!  

    Our tax-exempt 501c3 nonprofit group passionately believes society can improve -- if individuals understand why they benefit from moving beyond a purely self-centered life. We offer practical, psychology based ways for both kids and grownups to act not for "me" alone but rather for "us." We hope you'll enjoy exploring our site.

  • I Care 2.0 … Something For Parents

    Posted By on January 27, 2015

    We are excited to announce a major expansion of our innovative, and highly effective, “I Care: Just Let Me Drive” teen driver safety program. Now comes “I Care 2.0,” something to teach parents how to help their kids drive safely. It’s an important new effort generously funded by a $15,000 grant from our great partners at State Farm, continuing the company’s consistent commitment to I Care.ICareLogo -- high res

    High school junior Rina Matarasso knows why this is needed. She recognizes that parents can be just as clueless on the highways as their teenage children. And she also understands this hugely influences the driving habits of those teen drivers. Our new I Care 2.0 campaign will show parents how to become better role models – and help reduce the auto accidents that remain the number one cause of deaths among U.S. teenagers. “Parents definitely need to learn that their driving behavior is a role model for their kids,” says Rina, who heads a student team working on the I Care campaign. “And too often it’s a very bad role model!” Research consistently proves parental driving habits significantly affect the on-the-road behavior of teen drivers. The Humanity Project’s I Care driver safety program, created by teens for teens, will reach out to adults in new ways so that parents understand this reality – and become effective anti-distracted driving educators for their children. I Care 2.0 will connect with parents in the community through local organizations, schools and State Farm agents, offering new tools and helpful information for parents. These will be developed with the active assistance of teenagers themselves. Our kid-to-adult message will be simple and clear: “Don’t tell us what to do on the highway. Show us what to do by always doing it yourself.” I Care already connects with thousands of teens in South Florida, and many tens of thousands more nationally, through Humanity Project sponsor, Google. The program includes a free full-color book and website (www.thehumanityproject.com/icare) as well as multiple social media pages, videos and more. I Care also is being used by three Florida county court systems to date, including Broward and Miami-Dade counties. As always, we are profoundly grateful to our friends at State Farm. We truly could not do it without this public-spirited company and we look forward to expanding our partnership with them through I Care 2.0. Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Barry University are co-sponsors of the I Care program and we are deeply appreciative for their support as well.  An alternative SF logo THUMBNAIL -- new Jan 2015

     

    As you may know, State Farm and its affiliates together make up the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. Their agents serve 81 million policies and accounts, including auto, home, life and health policies. For more information, please visit www.statefarm.com. And stay tuned as we create I Care 2.0 in the coming months. We’ll tell you all the important details about this bold new effort to save teen lives by working with parents. With help from State Farm and our teen volunteers, we may just be able to help many more parents get a clue at last.

    A Student’s Voice Against Bullying

    Posted By on January 19, 2015

    (Editor’s Note: This blog was written especially for the Humanity Project by Stephen Ross, a Florida high school student. Please also look for the link in this blog to Mr. Ross’s fine anti-bullying song and video, “Choose 2 Luv.”)

    Stephen Ross -- anti-bullying video -- Jan 2015

    Stephen Ross

    My name is Stephen Ross; I am a senior at Olympia High School in Orlando, Florida. In September of last year, one of my classmates committed suicide. It is believed that bullying had a lot to do with this tragic event.

    I really wanted to do something that could have an impact on bullying at my school and at other high schools across the country. I decided to use my love of songwriting and passion for music to create an audio-visual message that would hopefully create a “mind-heart shift” among my peers. So I spent about two weeks writing the lyrics and melody for “Choose 2 Luv.” When I was satisfied with the song, I contacted a friend to help lay the musical track and master the song.

    The harder part for me was coming up with the storyboard for the video. This was something that I had never done before. I had so many different ideas for the video. But with the help of the director, Ronnie Camilo, we agreed on a vision for the video.

    I played the song for my National Honor Society advisor and showed her the video storyboard; she really loved it. She agreed to send an email to all of the National Honor Society students at my school to suggest that they participate in the video shoot. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    Not quite, Stephen. Though that’s the end of Mr. Ross’s blog, we wanted to add just a few words more. The Humanity Project applauds his efforts to create a meaningful contribution to the growing number of anti-bullying art works of all kinds, musical, theatrical, visual and others. And we hope you’ll now click on this link to hear the result of his hard work: Watch the video, “Choose 2 Luv,” by Stephen Ross.

    Getting Better All The Time

    Posted By on January 10, 2015

    There’s a line from a wonderful song by the Beatles that goes, “I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, a little better all the time.” As 2015 begins, that’s our message from the Humanity Project to you. Despite the headlines, despite all the tragedy and illness and death that seem to surround us, things in the world actually are getting better. Want proof? Consider some statistics. The World Health Organization last year reported life expectancy is up globally. Infant mortality is down. More people have access to clean water. Read more about this. Then there’s social improvement, from wider acceptance of gay rights to the worldwide anti-bullying movement.

    Gay marriage is gaining acceptance

    Gay marriage is gaining acceptance

    Right here in Florida, where the Humanity Project is based, the ban on gay marriage ended only this week. That comes after years of legal battles and much struggle by loving gay couples. Look around for yourself, really look around, and compare what you see with the way things looked in our society even a decade or two ago. Though the U.S. and many other nations have a long way to go to achieve racial equality, we nonetheless have an African-American president — something I wasn’t sure I’d ever live to see. That’s progress. Our own Congress today is made up of a broader cross-section of our country than ever, including more women and Hispanics and blacks and Native Americans. Things are changing …. for the better. We like to believe that the Humanity Project, in our own small way, is contributing to these changes. We help kids, with unique programs that no other organization offers. Anti-bullying, teen driver safety, help for socially isolated youth including LGBT teens. Take a look at our programs if you’d like to learn more about us. Yes, the general trend in society worldwide is upward, positive, encouraging. There is much for all of us still to do, obviously, but we’re on the right track. That’s good reason for hope as the new year dawns. As usual, the Beatles had it right: Things are getting a little better all the time.

    Happy 2015!

    Posted By on December 31, 2014

    Happy 2015

    Everyone at the Humanity Project wishes you a joyful, healthy 2015! May we all make

    great leaps forward!

    From Us To You: Happy Holidays!!

    Posted By on December 23, 2014

    The Humanity Project Board of Directors wishes you the very best in this season of peace ...

    The Humanity Project Board of Directors wishes you the very best in this season of peace …

    Imagine …

    Posted By on December 16, 2014

    Short post today about a big topic: World peace. Followed by a question — can a song help bring about world peace? At the Humanity Project, we’re doing our part to contribute to a charming, and inspiring, effort to make a more peaceful world through music. Our Humanity Project Board of Directors just dropped our own version of John Lennon’s classic anthem, “Imagine.” You can hear and see us in this video: Watch the Humanity Project perform “Imagine.”

    The THP Board Imagines!

    The THP Board Imagines!

    As you’ll quickly learn, we don’t exactly sing as well as John Lennon, or have the filmmaking skills of Steven Spielberg for that matter. Not in this one-take iPhone video anyway. But you will find us most definitely in the proper spirit of the ongoing Imagine project, which is sanctioned by Yoko Ono. And UNICEF, which receives a $1 donation for every upload of “Imagine” using the TouchCast app. Please consider making your own version of “Imagine” by downloading TouchCast to your smartphone or tablet. The Humanity Project believes meaningful world peace really is possible, in some form, at some time … and we know we’re not the only ones.

    The Humanity Project On iTunes

    Posted By on December 9, 2014

    Yes, indeed! The Humanity Project is now available anywhere in the world through the enormously popular iTunes by Apple. You can listen to our new podcasts, and many of our older ones too, by going to iTunes at this link: Visit the Humanity Project Podcast on iTunes. If you have an iPhone, just go to the iTunes store, search for “The Humanity Project Podcast” and subscribe. You can hear us right on your phone. Of course, since you’re on this website you can simply click on the Podcast link on our menu to hear even more of our insightful shows. But the iTunes posts allow many other folks to find us and hear our positive message. We have programs stretching back for years on a wide variety of topics related to our mission. Check them out.

    Monarch High students give us a check for our I Care program

    Monarch High students present check for our I Care program

    Our latest, “Teens Saving Teens,” is an interview with two of the high school students who are helping us to bring the Humanity Project’s unique I Care: Just Let Me Drive teen driver safety program to lots of their peers. That photo shows them handing us a check for I Care from the proceeds of a bake sale at their school, Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Florida. Great school with some wonderfully involved students, including Rina and Kevin in that pic along with me in the recording studio. Thanks to them and to their teacher, Greg Kennedy.

    And a big shoutout to our Humanity Project Board of Directors Vice President, Matt Corey, who is a greatly talented guy — and who got us up and running on iTunes. Matt is a classical musician, multiple award-winning sound designer for theater …. oh yes, and CEO of Insight for the Blind, which records talking books and magazine articles for the Library of Congress. That’s Matt’s studio you see in the background, by the way.

    Finally, we also want to thank our major sponsors, State Farm and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, for supporting these podcasts. You’ll find their logos and links on the podcast page. We couldn’t do it without them!

    Giving Tuesday

    Posted By on November 30, 2014

    Have you heard about “Giving Tuesday”? It happens on December 2 — a day when nations and nonprofits, companies and individuals encourage giving back. We love the idea. It’s a relatively new thing, started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York as well as the United Nations Foundation. The basic concept is simple: Find a way to help others this Tuesday. And it’s catching on around the world, as this link helps explain: http://www.givingtuesday.org/global/. You can celebrate Giving Tuesday any way you like. Volunteer with a charity that’s doing good work in your community. Buy some sandwiches and hand them out to the homeless.Sondra logo -- RESIZED -- no flash -- Feb. 2012 Of course one of the big ways people give back is by donating money to worthy causes. We hope you may feel the Humanity Project is one of those. So we want to make it easy for you to give to our efforts on Giving Tuesday — or any other day. Here’s another link for you, our Join/Donate page on this website: Visit the Join/Donate page. It will tell you how to give to the Humanity Project if you want to, and what we can offer you as a way of saying thanks. Remember that 100% of our funding goes toward our programs. So your donation will be helping people in real ways. But whether you give to the Humanity Project or to another quality organization, whether you donate money or time, please do something. We have Black Friday and Cyber Monday to save you money. Now we also have Giving Tuesday to share what you have with others. It’s a meaningful way for all of us to express our gratitude during this holiday season.

    Happy Anniversary, Humanity Project!

    Posted By on November 24, 2014

    We just turned 9-years-old …. well, a couple of weeks ago anyway. On November 3, the Humanity Project celebrated (quietly) our ninth birthday. In a world where nonprofits come and go quickly and often, that’s an accomplishment in itself. We’ve survived some very tough times too. The early days when our programs were just taking shape — and no one knew about us. Then came the Great Recession, which we think historians ultimately will judge a true depression. Most contributors stopped contributing. Most sponsors stopped sponsoring, taking away funds from not only us but other fine organizations. Nonprofits all over the world folded up and blew away for good. We didn’t. In fact, the Humanity Project grew, creating our now-acclaimed Anti-bullying Through The Arts program in 2008 and taking it to the schools the next year. We also held our big Thousand Youth March for Humanity just as the recession really gripped our nation: Nov. 16, 2008, with more than 2,100 kids and adults marching through downtown Fort Lauderdale streets to stop bullying. Since then, we’ve put together a great Board of Directors and wonderfully loyal sponsors, such as State Farm and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Children’s Services Council of Broward County. We couldn’t do it without them. Please check out our sponsor page to visit their websites by clicking here: Go to our Sponsor page. We now have a unique and effective teen driver safety program as well as a very special website for socially isolated teens, with an emphasis on the LGBT community. We have free materials on bullying that are being used all over the United States and beyond. We have our PeacePage, a collaboration of nonprofits and individuals from all seven continents. I hope you’ll explore this website and our social media to learn more. At the Humanity Project, we’re very proud of the things we’ve done so far. But we know our best, most productive years are still ahead. That’s not a cliche in our case — it’s the truth. At 9, we’re only just getting warmed up.

    2 + 2 = 1

    Posted By on November 16, 2014

    Now there’s an odd equation for you: 2 + 2 = 1. But in this case, it makes sense. That’s because for the first time in Humanity Project history, we ran two programs in two different schools at the same time in one day. On Friday, November 14, our team gave two presentations of our acclaimed Anti-bullying Through The Arts program to children at Collins Elementary School in Dania Beach, Florida. At exactly the same time, students involved with our awesome I Care: Just Let Me Drive teen driver safety program presented two flash mobs for the 2,400-person student body at Monarch High School in Coconut Creek, Florida.

    At Collins Elementary, 11/14/14

    At Collins Elementary, 11/14/14

    We think that’s pretty cool. Yes, much larger, better-funded nonprofits do this all the time, with several programs operating simultaneously. But the Humanity Project is different … in many ways. We’re small but with a national reach, sometimes even international. The Humanity Project offers several websites and lots of helpful materials used by thousands of people at no cost. Also 100% of Humanity Project funding goes toward our programs — few other nonprofits can make that same claim. As one police department administrator told us, “The Humanity Project does a lot with a little.” So indeed we’re quite pleased with this latest sign of growth for our group. You might enjoy checking out this short video, which shows one flash mob at Monarch High last week. It helped promote the I Care program to teens who will use our materials soon, learning to drive without distractions through our unique system. On Friday, though, it was all about having some fun as we reached out to teens at the same time we connected with young kids about bullying. Friday was a good day.