Posted By site administrator on June 15, 2013
(Editor’s Note: This blog was written for the Humanity Project by Gabriela Pinto, Vice President of the Humanity Project Board of Directors. Ms. Pinto is the creator of the website http://www.heal-anxiety-and-depression.com.)
As a society we have agreed on general beliefs about what is right and what is wrong. What it means to be successful and what it means to not make the grade. But it is a limited perspective on life. We are all individuals, not molds. As a result, often times we carry on an internal struggle. We impose an image on ourselves of what we think we should be or what others expect us to be rather than what we really are. Instead of befriending and trusting the individual we truly are inside, we sometimes try to deny it or even annihilate it. For instance, if your heart tells you to pursue a career in acting or painting instead of a 9 to 5 office job, what is really keeping you from doing it? The only thing that moves us to be something we are not is fear. Fear of criticism, fear of lack of approval, fear of failure. It is here where you should ask yourself: Should I trust a made-up version of myself or the real version? Which one would better guide me through life? Which one can I rely on? Being authentic and true is not only a gift to us but a gift to humanity. Discovering our true talents, embracing our limitations and trusting the individual we have inside is what will really fulfill us. Our uniqueness makes for us a unique path to walk. And walking that unique path will teach us unique lessons that will benefit us all. By revealing who we truly are inside we enrich humanity as a whole. An education towards authenticity should be mandatory. It should be the purpose in all stages of life.
Posted By Bob Knotts on June 9, 2013
Yes, we have a whole new website created by kids … for kids! From the Humanity Project. It is a website intended specifically to serve a largely ignored population of special children: socially isolated middle school kids, including many LGBT students. The site is called thp4kids (“The Humanity Project 4 Kids”) and you’ll find it at this link: http://thp4kids.com It has been under development by talented students at a Florida magnet school for two years, with intensive work during the 2012-2013 school year thanks to a generous grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. Our staffers at South Plantation High School created a complicated custom-designed site using the latest Flash technology — and this means the website is best viewed using the Internet Explorer 10 browser. (We plan to work over the summer on cross-browser compatibility issues, which bedevil even professional adult web developers these days. For now, the site is functional in other browsers but at its fastest and best in IE10 with a good Internet connection on a PC. ) We are very excited about this new major addition to the Humanity Project’s programs — and we hope a national, even international, audience of school kids will find the site and benefit from it. Because thp4kids isn’t for every child, as you’ll see. It’s for kids who are smart and lonely, perhaps struggling with sexual identity issues.
Thp4kids home page!
Kids who want to know and understand but feel confused at this point in their lives. We believe our new Internet destination can offer them an online friend as well as guidance, insight and encouragement. Check it out for yourself and you’ll see. For instance, look in the “You’re NOT Alone” section and watch the amazing “Hearing Voices (Inside Your Head)” animated features, one of them created just for boys and another just for girls. And listen to the ultra-cool song, “All Alone, But Not.” Or in the “Being … YOU” section, look at such videos as “Life Can Be Tough” or “How It Is: Life!” These and all other materials are original, made by the Humanity Project and our student staff. That includes the music, videos, writings, everything. It’s fairly impressive, if we say so ourselves. There’s even a “ChillSounds” relaxation feature that offers more than three hours of chillout music and nature sounds for kids to unwind after a hard day. Please pass the link along to your friends and family — to anyone who may help us spread the word about thp4kids. We know this unique website can help thousands of struggling kids. Now we just need help to make sure those kids know we’re there for them, any time they need us.
Posted By Bob Knotts on June 1, 2013
The Humanity Project is proud to be part of the LGBT equal rights movement. We have spoken out about lesbian gay bisexual and transgender issues in this space and elsewhere. Our highly regarded Anti-bullying Through The Arts program always has had a common bond with efforts to end bullying against LGBT students. Now we’re almost ready to launch a new website for socially isolated middle school students, including many LGBT students: thp4kids. “The Humanity Project 4 Kids.” We also meet regularly with an alliance of South Florida nonprofits that work to make life better for the LGBT community. Why? Everything the Humanity Project does is based on these ideas: that human beings each struggle for that all-important sense of individual value … that this struggle is at the root of many individual and social problems … and that those problems are greatly lessened whenever people begin to feel better about themselves in some way. We believe humanitarian programs are much more effective when they accomplish a practical goal such as stopping bullying through helping individuals to gain a greater sense of importance. Because many LGBT kids and adults often have encountered negative messages about themselves, the Humanity Project wants to add our voice to those trying to change public attitudes. With thp4kids, we can offer some positive messages of our own at the same time. As it happens, June is LGBT Pride Month. The Humanity Project salutes those working to end discrimination against the LGBT community in the U.S. and around the world. It is a cause we believe in, the great civil rights issue of our time. Progress is obvious in recent years but much more needs to happen, of course. June seems an appropriate moment to remind ourselves about this and to redouble our work toward that end.
Posted By Bob Knotts on May 24, 2013
This post will be brief. There’s no need to dwell on the obvious beyond a simple fact: The devastating Oklahoma tornado shattered many lives, and ended others … and the people there need our help. The stories have been heart-rending and sometimes inspiring too, like that of the teacher who laid on top of her students during the height of the storm to protect them, risking her own life. She survived. Some of her kids didn’t, despite her courage. I was in tears listening to this brave woman recount those frightening moments from her hospital bed. There are many, many other such memories among survivors. As always after these awful events, we ask ourselves the question: How can I help? Well, of course we can begin by making a donation. Every one of us can afford at least $10 and the simplest way to give that amount is to text the Red Cross. Just text their name as one word, REDCROSS, to 90999. I did this and it’s quick and painless. We also can send out our thoughts and prayers to the Oklahoma residents struggling to recover. And we can do something else. We can appreciate our own good fortune, our blessings and our comforts … and use those positive feelings to help us treat others with more respect and kindness. To me, turning tragedy into something that improves the world is the best way possible to honor the dead and the injured and the suffering, doing all we can to tranform the world’s boundless supply of misery into an expanding pool of hope.
Posted By Bob Knotts on May 19, 2013
The Humanity Project was proud to be part of an event this weekend here in South Florida, where our national nonprofit organization is based. We helped to plan and then participated in the big “Above the Influence” march and rally in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Despite some heavy rain at times, more than 2,000 students and adults turned out on May 18 to show their support for smart, healthy decisionmaking by youths. Above the Influence means above bullying, above substance abuse … and more.
Humanity Project Board of Directors and friends at the May 18, 2013 "Above the Influence" march
The march harkened back in some ways to our own Humanity Project “Thousand Youth March for Humanity,” the nation’s first mass children’s march against bullying. That event was held in November 2008, well before the bullying issue became topical across the United States and beyond. We were lucky enough to have had perfect cloudless weather for our march. Above the Influence saw some heavy tropical rain at times … but you know what? That turned out to be an inspiring opportunity for the student participants. As they walked in a cold, pelting downpour, some of these kids organized impromptu chants that showed their spirit would not be dampened by something as trivial as the weather. I found their enthusiasm was contagious — and I’ll always remember these kids as an example to the rest of us about how to turn a negative into a positive. They were terrific. Above the Influence was spearheaded by Broward County Public Schools, the 6th largest district in the country, as well as by the local United Way. Rain or not, it was memorable in many ways. The Humanity Project was glad to lend our support.
Posted By Bob Knotts on May 11, 2013
(Editor’s Note: This post is adapted from the May 2013 Humanity Project email newsletter, Humanity News. You can sign up to receive the free newsletter once each month by clicking on the “Go” button in the right-hand column of this home page under “Sign up for our Email Newsletter.” We ask only for your email address.)
Wow! We really hope you’ll check out this new website, totally created by teens, for teens … for the Humanity Project. Talented students in Ms. Madeline Rosario’s web design classes took our I Care book and ran with it — and came up with this site for our program. They even recorded a music version of the I Care book’s rap poem, then created an animated video to go with it. You’ll find this on the home page, which is shown in a screenshot photo posted with this blog. (The video is a large file and can take a moment to load on some browsers. Just click and wait briefly … and have your speakers on for sure!) Here’s the I Care website address: www.thehumanityproject.com/icare At the core of this new website, of course, is our innovative book, created with funding from our great friends at State Farm. Students can download it (and the cool friend-to-friend safe driving pledge) for free at that same web address. We promoted that book in April to about 500 senior students at South Plantation High, where Ms. Rosario teaches. Now we’ll use the new website to attract many more teens all around the country to that book so they can share I Care with friends … and possibly save their friends’ lives in the process. There’s lots more happening to promote our cool teen driver safety program too. Including other clever videos as well as I Care sites on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. The Humanity Project still is doing all the great stuff we’ve always done such as our signature Anti-bullying Through The Arts program. The common thread among our work is this: The Humanity Project creates programs that offer new ways to use cooperation and social connection to tackle problems. Those problems now include school bullying, distracted teen driving and socially isolated youth, especially LGBT youth. Many major nonprofits such as CARE offer a variety of programs that center around a larger goal, not just one narrow task. At the Humanity Project, we believe that same approach provides a core mission for our work but allows us to innovate in any area where we feel our contribution will be new and valuable to the community. We really do care — and our I Care website and other program elements are simply one more expression of this.
Posted By Bob Knotts on May 3, 2013
We have some wonderful news to share this week. Our friends at Sears now have provided financial support for the Humanity Project’s acclaimed Anti-bullying Through The Arts program — and have joined our list of official sponsors. We are grateful to add this long-respected retailer to our growing roster of great sponsors and community partners. You can see them all by clicking on the Sponsors/Community Partners menu tab above, with such names as State Farm, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Broward Sheriff’s Office, Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, Children’s Services Council of Broward County and Google among them. Sears and the Humanity Project have been partners in a joint anti-bullying effort for about a year now, the company’s “Team Up To Stop Bullying” online resource for those who need information and help with bullying issues. The Humanity Project has been proud to be part of that website, which includes dozens of other fine anti-bullying organizations around the United States. www.sears.com/teamup
For now, we simply want to welcome Sears to the Humanity Project family of community minded organizations and companies, donors and members and friends. And to say a sincere thank you to Sears too.
Posted By site administrator on April 26, 2013
(Editor’s Note: This blog was written especially for the Humanity Project website.)
My name is Angelo Marchelletta, also known as “A-Lo.” I am a singer and songwriter from Windsor, Ontario. My newest single is called “Alive” and it is an anti-bullying song. I grew up in Windsor, a border city with Detroit, so I grew up in a rough neighborhood. There was always trouble wherever I went. It felt like being the tough guy was the thing to be, and it seemed like they could smell out the weakness in people. I remember waking up every day for school and being terrified to go, because I knew that there was this group of bullies that picked on anyone who was weaker than them. They thrived off of it. Eventually I learned how to stand up for myself and for others around me. I didn’t want to be like them so I guess that made me kind of an outcast. I turned to music to try make people feel better about situations they go through on a day to day basis, to try to make them feel like they’re not the only ones going through it. One day I was writing a song and all those memories of growing up and being bullied just came to me again. And I wondered if I could make an impact on people’s lives by connecting with them on a different level through my music. I wanted to write a song that both the bullies and the ones being bullied could understand, a song that expresses how much bullying affects someone mentally. I just want people to know that they’re not the only ones who have been through hell and they have to keep going. If not for themselves, then for the people in their lives who love them and would miss them dearly. I hope you’ll enjoy the video and music of my new song, “Alive.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Rw9ZgedwuM Thank you for listening to this important message of hope!
Posted By Bob Knotts on April 20, 2013
Martin Richard with an enduring message
It has been a tough week for those of us in this country, here in the United States. The Boston bombing, the ricin mailings, the chases, the shootings and arrests … and of course the deaths and injuries that followed another terrorist attack. At such times, it helps to look toward the light. And toward faith — faith in other people, ironically enough. Whatever your personal religious beliefs, a faith in humanity surely must be part of a useful belief system for any person. Toward that end, we offer this inspiring and heartbreaking photograph of eight-year-old Martin Richard, one of those killed in the Boston Marathon attack. And we also want to share some quotes from great minds that understood we need to rise above our pain to see the larger truth: The advance of humanity is slow and painful, and often halting. But it is real. Emerson called it “advancing on chaos and the dark.” And so the Humanity Project this week encourages a greater faith … in people:
- “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” Mohandas K. Gandhi, 1869-1948, Indian spiritual leader
- “We cannot despair of humanity, since we ourselves are human beings.” Albert Einstein, 1879-1955, U.S. physicist born in Germany
- “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929-1968, American clergyman and civil rights leader
- “If you want to awaken all of humanity, then awaken all of yourself. If you want to eliminate the suffering in the world, then eliminate all that is dark and negative in yourself. Truly, the greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” Lao Tzu, 6th Century B.C., Chinese philosopher and founder of Taoism
Posted By Bob Knotts on April 13, 2013
(Editor’s Note: This post is adapted from the April 2013 Humanity Project email newsletter, Humanity News. You can sign up to receive the free newsletter once each month by clicking on the “Go” button in the right-hand column of this home page under “Sign up for our Email Newsletter.” We ask only for your email address.)
See that new logo in this story? Cool, isn’t it? This boldly redesigned I Care logo is only the beginning of all the great new elements coming to our Humanity Project I Care teen driver safety program. We’re about to launch teen-created videos and memes as well as Tumblr and Twitter pages to join our Facebook page … even a whole website devoted to I Care.
New student-designed I Care logo
All of it will be intended to offer fun things that attract more teens to our I Care book, which just may save their lives. The work is being carried out by talented students from South Plantation High School, a magnet school in South Florida, as well as by communications majors from the University of Miami. Our great friends at State Farm are providing the critical funding for this innovative program, which relies on teen friendships and positive peer pressure rather than ineffective scare tactics. For now, we wanted simply to show you the new logo and let you know what’s coming soon. Stay tuned … the awesome I Care videos and lots more are on the way.