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.

  • Kayla’s Song

    Posted By Bob Knotts on July 16, 2014

    Can you spare 54 seconds? Just 54 seconds to watch something inspiring? Yes, of course, I know. We’re all busy. Very busy. And we’re all inundated with this and that coming to us through our computers. This joke from a friend, that link from a colleague. Or whatever. But this particular link is something created by a special student who has worked with the Humanity Project for the past three years. 

    Her name is Kayla, an openly gay student and president of a Gay-Straight Alliance chapter at a South Florida high school. Kayla has graduated now. But before leaving South Plantation High School last spring, she put together this video for our www.thp4kids.com website — a site built from the ground up by magnet school students especially for their peers who may feel socially isolated, including LGBT students. If you’ve not checked out the website, please do. But for now, well, maybe you can start with “Kayla’s Song,” as she titled it. We believe you’ll feel it was 54 seconds well spent.

    Anti-bullying Resources For You

    Posted By Bob Knotts on July 8, 2014

    Anti-bullying Through The Arts in action!

    Yes, indeed. The Humanity Project’s highly regarded Anti-bullying Through The Arts program has generated many free materials to help you deal with bullying, especially if you’re a parent worried about aggression in school. Those resources are as close as another mouse click. Just look over in the right-hand column of this home page. Beneath our “head” logo and the signup for our email newsletter, you’ll find a listing of major pages on this website. Scroll down 11 items under Pages, until you find something called, “Anti-bullying Advice For Parents.” Additional anti-bullying writings are there too, including articles by our Humanity Project Board Vice President, Dr. Laura Finley of Barry University.

    But that’s not all. Not by any means. Open up our Videos/Music page, also here on this website. All-original Humanity Project anti-bullying videos are posted and so is our own anti-bullying rap song, which kids love by the way. Or click on our YouTube link toward the top left of the home page. Lots of anti-bullying videos there, all of them created by us … and available to you at no cost. Or maybe your teens would enjoy our website created by their peers: www.thp4kids.com. It offers them a large anti-bullying section to explore. All in all, we have much material that can help you and your kids to better handle school bullying. As always, we have to thank our sponsors for their financial support, which makes this possible for us to do free of charge. One hundred percent of our money goes into our programs. We’re proud of that. And we hope you’ll make good use of our anti-bullying information and other works whenever you may need them.

    Be Our Guest

    Posted By Bob Knotts on June 30, 2014

    Oh yes … We’d love to have you as our guest. Meaning, as an official Humanity Project Guest Blogger! You may have noticed in recent weeks that we’ve been posting guest blogs more frequently. Just scroll down a bit and you’ll find some of them. As an author of 24 books, and founder of the Humanity Project, I have been writing most of the blogs for our organization since we began in 2005. But I love welcoming other voices, other perspectives to our large and informative website. Voices such as Lisa Bonet, a mental health writer who last week told us about the physical illnesses that bullying can cause. Or Bob LaMendola, who works for the Florida Department of Health and also serves on our Board of Directors. Bob recently wrote about a session with other nonprofit groups at Children’s Services Council of Broward County that offered him an insightful view of living in poverty. All this to say, if you feel you have something to offer our many blog readers by all means please get in touch and pitch us your idea. We don’t pay anything, of course — 100% of our money goes into our programs. But you will have the satisfaction that comes from an enthusiastic readership as well as from sharing your experience with more of those people who may benefit from it. To suggest your idea, just go to the Contact page on this website and send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Bullying And Physical Illness: The Connection

    Posted By site administrator on June 19, 2014

    (Editor’s Note: This blog was written and provided to the Humanity Project by Lisa Bonet, a writer on mental health issues. We believe it focuses on a little understood consequence of bullying. A portion of the article and a link to the full story by Ms. Bonet are included in the post below.)

    The mental impact of bullying is well-known, with anxiety and depression in later life being heavily linked with childhood bullying. However, what isn’t as well known is the physical impact bullying can have. Tension headaches, muscle pain, stomach problems and weight fluctuation can all be a physical result of bullying. This startling information indicates that bullying is a huge issue which needs to be stopped in order to save the health of those being bullied. If you’re being bullied or know someone who is, this article tells you the physical affects it can have on you and advice on what you should do. The beginning of the article is here:

    The Humanity Project works to stop bullying

    Physical Effects Of Bullying

    Government figures show that at least a quarter of children experience bullying at school and according to the Workplace Bullying Institute more than a third of adults are bullied in the workplace. While bullying has a serious impact on mental well-being, with victims more prone to anxiety, low mood, disturbed sleep, reduced confidence and problems with low self-esteem, bullying can also trigger a range of physical health problems. From aches and pains to increased susceptibility to infections and digestive upset, experiencing harassment at school or work can leave you more vulnerable to ill-health, which in part explains why you are more likely to take more sick days when bullied. Here we take a look at the physical effects of bullying and why they occur.

    The Stress Response

    Bullying doesn’t just place you under mental stress; it places your body under physical stress as well. Exposure to stress triggers a series of physical changes within your body, known as the fight-flight response, designed to protect you from danger. In its simplest terms, when your brain recognizes a stressful situation, it stimulates the release of a hormone that encourages your kidneys to release epinephrine. This in turn triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which raises your blood pressure and pulse, increases your blood sugar levels and prepares your muscles for action, while suppressing less essential processes such as immune and digestive function. While these changes are effective at protecting us from danger, when triggered on a daily basis due to bullying, this is bad news for us and explains the physical effects experienced by victims.

    Read the rest of this article.

    Walking A Mile

    Posted By site administrator on June 7, 2014

    (Editor’s Note: This blog was written especially for the Humanity Project by Bob LaMendola, treasurer of the Humanity Project Board of Directors. Mr. LaMendola is a former journalist who specialized in health stories. He now is in Community Affairs at the Florida Department of Health in Broward County.)

    I have gone through my whole life thinking I’m pretty good at handling money. But now I have tasted crow. A mere three hours of pretending to survive on a subsistence paycheck showed me and 67 other middle-class people the incredible difficulties of living without means. This eye-opening and humbling experience was a poverty simulation sponsored by the Children’s Services Council of Broward County and the University of Florida. It’s an exercise that every elected official should undergo. If they did, they may not be so quick to cut social services when times get tight.

    Each person at the exercise was assigned to play a character with a life story spelled out. Then over the three hours, we all tried to get through a month of paying bills and keeping ourselves fed. Spoiler alert – my family had no food for a while, and we ended up getting evicted. I played a 52-year-old woman with limited English who was making about $12 an hour working a steady job. My disabled “husband” could not work, so he stayed home taking care of our school-age granddaughter and grandson, the boy with attention deficit disorder.

    Now in real life, I’m the kind of guy who pays the bills on time and in full, and would rather stash money in the bank than buy myself the latest electronic device or new shoes. I figured I could stretch even a small household budget, no prob. In the simulation, it was a struggle catching the bus to work so my husband could use the car to run errands and manage the kids, who would have been a handful even for Bill Cosby. Our first week, we let the rent go and spent the paycheck on a car payment and another bill. Plenty of month left for rent. We felt like we were getting by. In the second week, we got a notice telling us we had not bought groceries and the kids had no food. What the .. ? How did that happen? My husband had paid utilities but never made it to the market. I was always working when the store was open. Jeez, we had been neglectful. But we were doing better than some others around us. One family was so short of money, they happily kept some cash the neighbor dropped on the ground. Others pawned appliances. The third week, we got a kick in the gut. The car broke down. We had no transportation vouchers left, so I couldn’t get to work. I told myself I would have called the boss and explained my absence, so we spent our money getting the car fixed. Now we were up against it on the rent. Our next check had to go to the bank. But when I showed up for work on Monday of the final week, I was in deep ca-ca. The boss said she never heard from me when I missed work, and had been told by her boss to cut the staff. I was it. I tried to explain, but remember, my English is not so good and it was too late. Fired!

    I rallied my husband to drag the kids to get some social services, and through the kindness of a social agency, I found another job. But when we all dragged ourselves home at the end of the day, we had been put out of our home. The exercise was over. We had failed to make ends meet. We had spent virtually no quality time with the kids. Our entire existence was spent in the rat race of keeping heads above water. The majority of the other participants in the simulation – mostly workers or volunteers from non-profit groups and government agencies – had failed in some ways, too. A few succumbed to drugs or wound up on the street. One family committed robbery. Others said they would have had sex with someone for money, if they had been given the chance. Granted, this exercise was just a simulation, and it was set up to put us under time constraints much worse than in real life. Nonetheless, in the end, every person left that room humbled by the difficulty of the daily grind when there’s no money to oil the machine. We all learned something.

    More information: Children’s Services Council of Broward County, www.cscbroward.org or 954-377-1000.

    Thanking Our Sponsors

    Posted By Bob Knotts on May 30, 2014

    Sometimes you just have to stop and say, “Thanks!” That’s what I’d like to do with this brief post. Thanks to those who make it possible for the Humanity Project to do what we do – thanks to our sponsors and community partners. If you take a look at our About page on this website, you’ll find a very interesting fact: 100% of our money goes to our programs. That’s still true, after nearly nine years of full-time operation. No one at this organization draws a salary. Yet we put in huge amounts of time … as our results should prove to you. We also give away all of our programs for free. We charge for nothing except memberships. But like all organizations, we have significant unavoidable expenses. Rent, gasoline, Internet and all the usual things. Plus we pay for computers for schools that provide us with volunteer student assistance and, for the past two years, we’ve also purchased very expensive software for those computers. We make monthly payments to Adobe for that software to give the students a great educational experience as they work on projects for us. That’s where our sponsors and partners come in, with some additional support from individual donors. Nearly all our funding comes from public-minded, forward-thinking companies such as State Farm, our major sponsor. And equally public-minded, forward-thinking organizations such as Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Children’s Services Council of Broward County, Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, Fred Gellert Family Foundation and others. Broward Sheriff’s Office has been our major community partner for several years now. Google sponsors us, as does Sears and Dr. David Sharaf’s Skin and Cancer Associates. And Barry University. And Tease Salon. And Boomers amusement park. Without them, we can’t pay that rent, can’t buy those computers, can’t even get to schools to present our programs or work on service-learning projects with students. Without the vital funds from our sponsors, we can’t accomplish much. So yes, today we say, “Thanks!” Thank you to each and every sponsor for each and every dollar or other assistance they provide to us. We’re proud of our accomplishments during the past nine years – and we believe the Humanity Project’s best days are ahead. But we’re aware, very well aware, that we couldn’t do much without the loyal support of these great companies and organizations. Thanks, indeed! Thank you very very much …

    See Our Program For Yourself

    Posted By Bob Knotts on May 24, 2014

    A short post today about a video you really should see. Most Humanity Project friends and supporters have never had the chance to attend one of our live, in-school anti-bullying presentations. Now, though, you can view some very brief excerpts in this YouTube video.

    Our acclaimed Anti-bullying Through The Arts program is the Humanity Project’s powerful response to the national bullying problem in our schools. We tackle it head-on, but in a way that’s also fun, artsy and memorable. Basically we go into elementary schools and, in a variety of ways, send this message over and over: “Bullying hurts everyone in this school – and it takes everyone to stop it!” Then we show the young kids why this is true and how to take constructive action. Anti-bullying Through The Arts helps students who are being bullied as well as bystanders and, yes, even the bullies to feel better about themselves by stopping bullying. That’s the common denominator in all Humanity Project programs, by the way: Each one taps into a student’s need for social approval to motivate action that brings about individual development and grassroots community improvement. Take a look for yourself by clicking on the video link. And please, share this blog with a friend or family member. Working together, we can dramatically reduce school bullying in our schools.

    Get In Touch With Us

    Posted By Bob Knotts on May 15, 2014

    We love to hear from you! And yes, we are available to help when you need something from us. How do you get in touch with the Humanity Project? Well, there are several ways. First, of course, go to the Contact page above. You’ll find our phone number and email address. If we’re not immediately able to talk with you, we’ll get back to you very soon. Then there’s our social media. Look over on the upper left side of this home page and you’ll see them: Social media tabs for our main pages. (We actually have additional pages on Facebook and Twitter but these icons will take you to our major social media sites.) You can always send us a message or post something on those pages. And though the Humanity Project isn’t a crisis center or hotline, we now offer something for teens who need help right away. Check out our amazing teen-created website for socially isolated teenagers, including many LGBT students. www.thp4kids.com — “The Humanity Project 4 Kids!” It now includes a national hotline, something we can provide through our partnership with the North American Alliance of Child Helplines. Here’s a link to our info page for kids about this hotline: 121help.me … I’m telling you all this today for a couple of reasons. First, because we want to hear from you. We’d welcome your feedback, suggestions and any support you may care to provide for our efforts. Second, I will be out of the country for a few weeks starting soon. NO Humanity Project money is being spent on this travel, by the way. But I’ll be in some exotic places for a while. In my absence, Humanity Project Vice President Gabriela Pinto will be in charge of things. Again, you can contact us as always through our Contact page info or social media. The Humanity Project is always here for you … through our websites, through our social media and more. To see what we offer, browse through this main website — there’s a lot already posted here that may help answer your questions about things like school bullying or teen driver safety. And if not, feel free to get in touch with us. No kidding, we love to hear from you!

    Testing Shows I Care Program Works

    Posted By Bob Knotts on May 9, 2014

    Yes, early results are in … at last. Surveys conducted by Barry University sociology majors for the Humanity Project show that our unique I Care: Just Let Me Drive teen driver safety program works — just as we always thought it would. We also have some results from students at Royal Palm Beach High School. And those numbers tell us the same thing. I Care works! Remember, this is a very new program. Two years ago at this time, we were supervising a talented team of high school journalism students just to complete the written portion of the program. That’s our I Care book, the centerpiece of our efforts. And one year ago, other high school students were wrapping up work on the I Care website. Now we have the book posted on that website for free downloads at www.thehumanityproject.com/icare … and we also have I Care pages on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. Wow, lots of progress in a short time. We’re very pleased that, through a generous grant from our major sponsor, State Farm, we have been getting the book across the state of Florida. From Tallahassee to Jacksonville, from Palm Beach County to Miami-Dade County. And I Care is an official part of teen traffic courts in Broward County and Miami-Dade County. Not bad, huh? So, ok, let’s get back to those test results. They show that about 85% of students tested say the I Care program changed their personal driving habits, making them “more aware of the need to avoid distractions while driving.” That was true for those tested by Barry University and others tested by the adult advisor of the SADD Club at Royal Palm Beach High School. We believe it’s such a great program that I Care needs to be more widely available nationally. That’s our goal. Meantime, State Farm continues to be the key supporter for I Care, joined now by new official sponsor, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. We were confident of the results. But now empirical evidence is proving we were right all along. Most definitely, I Care works.

    Kids Hospital With A Heart

    Posted By Bob Knotts on May 2, 2014

    Today, we thank our loyal friends at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. They have stepped up now as an official sponsor of our truly innovative I Care: Just Let Me Drive teen driver safety program.

    With longtime JDCH clown, Lotsy Dotsy

    JDCH also renewed their longtime sponsorship of our acclaimed Anti-bullying Through The Arts program. Both programs now will be offered through their great Community Relations Department, headed up by the dynamic Milin Espino. The Humanity Project is excited about this new level of partnership. In addition to our own efforts, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s extensive community connections will help us to reach many more kids who need us. The major sponsor of our I Care program continues to be State Farm, which generously helped us to create it and now provides the vital funding to expand I Care each year. We couldn’t make this happen without State Farm. A year ago, JDCH became very interested in I Care and wanted to help us spread the word about the program. Now Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is even more excited about what they see happening: I Care is in Florida schools from Tallahassee and Jacksonville to Palm Beach and Broward counties and down into Miami-Dade County. We’re also an official part of the teen traffic court system in Broward and Miami-Dade. And survey results are proving what we always suspected: Teens report that I Care is changing their driving habits — and they say it also can help many other teens to do the same. As a result, JDCH stepped up with additional support this year for I Care. Their logo and link even are on the back cover of the I Care book, along with the logo and link of State Farm. We believe this is a partnership that can connect with thousands of teens all over Florida and well beyond, helping to save young lives on the highways. The Humanity Project, State Farm … and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. For more information about JDCH, visit their website at www.jdch.com. I Care is demonstrating a new way to prevent distracted teen driving — through friendships and positive peer pressure. Our amazing partners are helping us accomplish this by showing how much they care.