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.)

       
  • Stories About Living More Fully

    Posted By on April 30, 2016

    A very brief post about some very brief stories you should read … stories about you and about all of us. These original Humanity Project tales offer valuable life lessons, something we hope you’ll share with the kids in your life. You’ll find them on the “Fables” menu tab … or just click here to visit the page: Check out the Humanity Project Fables.

    Here’s the beginning of one of those stories for you, with a direct link to the full fable. Enjoy, please … and pass it on to a kid you love!

    The Tale of the Teller Twins 

    Everyone in town called them “the twins.” Tripp and Terry Teller, identical in all ways – except one. As you will see. The Teller twins were tree trimmers and had a nice little business going too. Chopping at trunks, grinding down roots, thinning out limbs. The twins had grown up around this town and this town had grown up around the twins. Yes, this town was no small place anymore and the Teller boys had no small business either.Teller twins fable

    Tripp Teller seemed the driving force. It was Tripp with the charm smile and it was Tripp with the glad pat on the shoulder for everyone. Everyone, at least, who might need their trees trimmed. To Tripp Teller, tree trimming served one purpose only: to give him “the good stuff,” as he always called it. The good stuff meant the good car and the good house of course. Of course. But most of all the good stuff meant feeling like someone important around town, owner of a good business that was pulling in good money. Of course. Sometimes Tripp almost forgot that his twin brother really was his twin brother – almost forgot that Terry really was his brother at all. The tree trimming business to Tripp was all about “me.” Nothing else. Though he had to admit that Terry did help get all those trees trimmed much faster. Which of course allowed Tripp to have more of the good stuff sooner. Of course. …

    Click here to read the full fable!

     

    We Are Proud Of Them

    Posted By on April 23, 2016

    Yes, the Humanity Project is proud that two of our older student volunteers have been busy in the community during the past week. One of them was honored with an award. Another visited a school to lend his expertise to other kids. Both of these fine young people have been deeply involved with our acclaimed teen driver safety program, I Care. JDCH All STars -- Rina Matarasso for I Care -- April 2016 055

    Lat Sunday, Rina Matarasso was honored at a lovely event after being selected as a Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital All Star for helping us advance the I Care program for teens and create an addition to that program for parents. We have worked very closely with Rina for some time now — and she is among the most remarkable students who have assisted the Humanity Project. Congratulations to Rina. And as she heads off to college, we wish her the best of luck!

     

     

    On Friday, Jarret Voorhies visited Crooms Academy in Sanford, Florida, a magnet school known for issuing laptops to every student. Jarret is a professional race car driver and an extraordinary young man who loves speaking out to help fellow students stop distracted driving. He wrote a section of our booklet for parents of teen drivers and has created a video for the Humanity Project.Jarret Voorhies for THP at Crooms Academy -- April 2016

    We hope to continue working with him in the future. Jarret got a rousing reception from the Crooms students — and gave them an inspiring PowerPoint presentation about the importance of paying attention on the roads.

    Our thanks to both these great young folks … and to all the many, many students who allow the Humanity Project to live up to our motto: “Helping kids to help kids!”

    I Care 3.0

    Posted By on April 16, 2016

    The Humanity Project today announces a major expansion of our acclaimed teen driver safety program, I Care: Just Let Me Drive. We’re only now in the throes of creating important new additions to that part of the program aimed at educating parents of teen drivers. And at least for the moment, we’ve called that expansion I Care 3.0!I Care3.0

    Over the next few months, the Humanity Project will be working with both parents and teens to take I Care to the next level. One key to this will be offering live seminars for groups of parents, where we can teach I Care’s important lessons in person — lessons that focus on the central influence parents have in helping their children drive safely. Research has shown consistently that parents are the major role models for their teen drivers, whether the adults know this or not. If kids see their folks texting or eating or checking sports scores while driving, those young drivers are much more likely to do the same. We also will look for new ways to get our core I Care books to more teens and more parents and we’ll explore other opportunities to discourage distracted teen (and parent) driving through I Care. Those books include the teen-created comic book and other fun materials for parents, something we call I Care: Just Help Them Drive.

    None of this would be possible without the generous support of State Farm, our very good neighbors indeed. State Farm helped us create I Care from the ground up in 2012, with funding to work with teams of student writers, illustrators and photographers. This public-minded company also has continued to support I Care financially each year since then — funding that includes their latest grant to the Humanity Project.

    We’re proud to tell you that State Farm has just given us $15,000 for I Care in 2016 and we are deeply grateful. This will allow us the resources and time to bring I Care to more people in more ways. We also must mention that I Care is supported with grants from our wonderful friends at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Children’s Services Council of Broward County. These partners help us to help kids … and to help parents to help their kids as well. We are very, very appreciative to each of these fine organizations.

    We’ll keep you posted on the progress of I Care 3.0. Please feel free to check out our existing free I Care resources on this website, which you can find by clicking on this link: I Care: Just Let Me Drive. Meanwhile, we want to thank State Farm again for making possible the latest expansion of our I Care program — with a special nod to Jose Soto, State Farm’s amazing Public Affairs Community Specialist for Florida. Jose and his colleagues at State Farm along with our other community partners are making a valuable contribution to society: helping to prevent accidents, injuries and deaths on the highways.

    Too Much “Me”

    Posted By on April 9, 2016

    A more personal blog from me today as founder of the Humanity Project – but on a topic that very much involves our organization’s mission. For some long while now, I’ve been noticing something new in our society. I can sum it up in one word: “Me.” Cowgirl jeans fashion woman with long blonde hair. Standing against wooden wall.

    Our culture always has rewarded a me-first attitude, of course. Children are encouraged to compete against others and win rather than to compete against themselves and improve. Adults are encouraged to go for the bigger title and more pay whether or not that’s fulfilling for them and helpful to others. There’s nothing new about this habit in Western society, especially the United States: “Look at my new hat, look at my new car, look at my new shoes, look at my new haircut, look at my prestigious award or my exotic vacation or my gorgeous spouse.” And social media only has intensified this trend. Now we have selfies of … everything. All me, only me, all the time, me me me. You get to see my breakfast eggs and my Happy Hour and my dog’s Halloween outfit. “Hey, look at me!”

    But now all this “me” appears to have a new outlet. Our language. And this is my point. If you listen closely to people talking, many folks nowadays use the word “me” in a way that I find different and disturbing. Because the word “me” often precedes every other name in a sentence. I hear this all the time. I hear it from famous celebrities and actors and talk show hosts. I hear it from politicians. I hear it from everyday people. It may be a sentence of the grossly ungrammatical variety: “Me and Jim went to the ballgame.” Or it may be simply a revealing reversal of the standard wording taught in schools and in educated families during decades past: “The ballgame was a fun day for me and Jim.”

    I’d always learned the opposite. The other person’s name comes first, as in “The ballgame was a fun day for Jim and me.” Or if expressing the idea in the first example above: “Jim and I went to the ballgame.”

    In some ways, obviously, this is a very small thing. But again, I find it revealing. And yes, troubling. To me, it suggests that more and more people are becoming more and more obsessed with “me” at a very deep psychological level. Acronym of AAM for All About MeMe first, always – even in the way we speak our casual thoughts. And here’s where all this ties in with the Humanity Project’s mission. We are a nonprofit that helps kids to help kids, children teaching their peers through collaboration that strengthens feelings of self-value for everyone touched by our programs: the kids who create and teach the programs, the kids who learn the programs’ lessons. We firmly believe that the only way to live a truly fulfilling life is to focus our talents and experience on helping other people in meaningful ways. It’s not about self-obsession, it’s about rising above self. Our programs show young people how to lift themselves in the process of helping to lift others. And this requires teamwork. It requires “us,” not “me.”

    So I offer this minor observation today about a new social trend in hopes of getting more of us to think. To think about the role of “me” in our own lives. And more importantly, to think as often as possible about “us.”

    We Couldn’t Do It Without You!

    Posted By on March 29, 2016

    Sometimes you have to take a few moments from a busy day to thank the people who matter to you. For no other reason than that – just because they are special in one way or another. They make your life better.

    For the Humanity Project, those people include some wonderful folks from some wonderful organizations. Too many individuals to name them all … But we can thank them by thanking their organizations: Our great Humanity Project sponsors.

    For starters, of course, there’s State Farm, a public-minded company that has been a major supporter of the Humanity Project since 2008. We can’t thank them enough An alternative SF logo THUMBNAIL -- new Jan 2015for their vital funding and other assistance, which continues now in 2016.

    Then there’s Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and their parent, Memorial Healthcare System, which not only provide much-needed money but also many community resources to help us help kids. JDCH -- good current thumbnail

    And our longtime friends at Children’s Services Council of Broward County, also loyal to the Humanity Project since 2008. And there’s Google. And Barry University and Monarch High School. Dr. David Sharaf and his Skin and Cancer Associates and the Center for Cosmetic Enhancement. And Blue Gallery and, recently, First Impression Printing.CSCLogo -- smaller resize

    We thank them all, most sincerely and most gratefully. Quite literally, they and the good people who work for them are the only reason we can give our programs to thousands of schoolkids each year. For free. These organizations make that possible for us. So on behalf of the Humanity Project, and on behalf of the kids we help … thank you once again to our sponsors! We hope you’ll reward their generous spirit by doing what you can to support them so they can continue to support our kids.

    A Loyal Following

    Posted By on March 21, 2016

    In our last post we talked about the many ways you can read about the Humanity Project’s work of “Helping kids to help kids!”This week let me follow up with a bit of news about our loyal group of social media fans – some figures that may encourage you to join them, perhaps, and also might interest our great sponsors and supporters. March Photos 012

    The Humanity Project now has eight social media pages, with the main links available through the icons on this home page. We’re proud that our organization actively used social media very early on, long before many large national and international nonprofits offered pages on sites such as Myspace and Facebook. We don’t post on Myspace anymore, of course, but our Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram pages have attracted thousands of folks who like to keep up with the latest Humanity Project efforts.

    As of today, the Humanity Project has 7,496 followers on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. And though these numbers may not be quite in the viral category yet, the online world now understands that sheer numbers alone don’t mean much. It’s not really how many followers that matters, it’s how many engaged followers. We believe those people who keep an eye on the Humanity Project’s social media actually care about what we do … and what we have to say about our supporters such as State Farm, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Children’s Services Council of Broward County and all the others you’ll find listed on our “Sponsors” page. Please take a look at that list — these are the organizations that allow us to do our work and then give it away free to those who need it. So today, a big thank you to each of them. We hope you may want to become part of our team one way or another, as a sponsor or member or volunteer. Or an online follower. You’ll find that the Humanity Project can do more than helping kids to help kids. We also can help you to find more of the many hopeful, inspiring things all around us.

    Join Our Online Family

    Posted By on March 12, 2016

    The Humanity Project wants you to join our work — or at least to keep up-to-date with our efforts of “helping kids to help kids.” Of course we’d love you to actually become a member, which gets you our cool t-shirt, member card and useful book about shared value, an empirical philosophy that explains how to live a fuller and healthier life through helping others. To send us your membership, just go to our “Join/Donate” page listed on the menu above.Baby Love2 -- Aug 2013

    But even if you don’t want to make that commitment yet, you can sign up for our free email newsletter. We ask only for your email address and we send out a single email newsletter monthly. No solicitations for money, no onslaught of emails. Look to the right-hand column on this home page under the video intro where it says, “Sign up for our Email Newsletter.”

    Another way to keep up with the Humanity Project is through our social media. We have eight social media pages, with the main ones linked through the icons on our home page. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter, Instagram or Tumblr or YouTube. Above the Influence event -- March 2016We think you’ll find this a fun way to get frequent doses of inspiration from the Humanity Project’s amazing kids, who work with us to help their peers prevent bullying and distracted driving and social isolation – always as part of improving their fellow students’ feelings of self-value. And please, explore this website as well as the I Care and thp4kids websites, which are linked here on our “Just4Kids” page.

    The Humanity Project helps thousands of kids (and their parents) in South Florida and all around the United States. Our programs are free … and we believe you’ll find them uplifting and hopeful when you learn more about us. As you can tell by now, we’ve made that easy for you to do.

    Take The Challenge

    Posted By on March 2, 2016

    The Humanity Project is always looking for fun, innovative ways to teach young people. We help kids to help kids — and we often find new methods to get across our lessons. Recently we created a simple game that we’re taking to community events as part of the Humanity Project table. And it’s a hit!

    At last Sunday’s Tour de Broward for our great partners at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, we offered a fresh, clever challenge to make an important point: No one is good at multitasking! Meaning, distracted driving is never safe. We may think we’re great at texting or chatting or checking sports scores while behind the wheel. But chances are good the driver behind us wouldn’t agree. So along with our entertaining I Care event wheel, with information about distracted driving, the Humanity Project also has the I Care Tootsie Roll Challenge.

    Taking the I Care Tootsie Roll Challenge!

    Taking the I Care Tootsie Roll Challenge!

    Try it yourself, whether you’re young or old. It’s not easy!

    As you see in the photo and especially the video at the link below, we asked young visitors to our table to toss a tennis ball in the air with one hand repeatedly while trying to unwrap a Tootsie Roll with the other hand. No fair using their teeth or bodies to help. It’s a small but telling demonstration that proves people are meant to do only one thing at a time. And everyone who tried it agreed with us. They got the message, along with some good laughs at themselves. I Care Tootsie Roll Challenge — watch the video! I Care Tootise Roll Challenge -- multitasking

    Our I Care teen driver safety program is sponsored by our loyal longtime friends at State Farm along with Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Children’s Services Council of Broward County. Now we have a new game that helps us reach more people in memorable style. Just one more engaging way the Humanity Project is trying to connect with kids, teaching young drivers and soon-to-be-drivers that texting and driving isn’t as easy as it looks.

    Our Kids Tackle The Big Issue

    Posted By on February 20, 2016

    In the previous post, we told you something about our Humanity Club. This time we want to let you know about one of the most exciting things about that new program, which is a live extension of our amazing www.thp4kids.com website – created by teens, for teens.

    The Humanity Club, finishing their meeting with meditation

    The Humanity Club, finishing their meeting with meditation

    The website helps kids feel more connected to each other by teaching them about diversity, sharing and giving, kindness toward themselves and others, compassion.

    We now have eight middle school students who have formed our first Humanity Club,  a team of leaders. With Humanity Project guidance, they’re finding innovative ways to take the thp4kids website’s ideas to their entire school, creating a climate of greater understanding and less bullying as a result. A remarkable thing, if you think about it. But here’s what I really wanted to point out to you today. These 6th and 7th grade students from Gulfstream Middle School in Hallandale Beach, Florida are directly tackling arguably the deepest, most meaningful issue in human life: How we see ourselves. Self-value. As Henry David Thoreau famously said, “What a man thinks of himself, that is what determines his fate.” Of course, Thoreau was writing in the 1800s when people used the term “man” to represent everyone. But his meaning is clear – and accurate. The quality of our lives flows from self-image. Our health, our work, our contributions to society, our relationships. Everything revolves around that core of our humanity.

    We’re excited that our lessons on this profound topic already seem to be connecting with the Humanity Club members, lessons we’re teaching them through stories and videos and music and games and exercises of all kinds. If they can absorb the basic concept as expressed by Thoreau, we believe they also can discover methods for helping their peers to understand it. We’ll keep telling you how things are going as the club progresses. So far, we’re encouraged … and excited by these bright and engaged young minds. And we’re hopeful they can help us to help all the kids at Gulfstream Middle School to treat themselves and every other student there with greater respect. The Humanity Project, helping kids to help kids!

     

    “Humanity Club”

    Posted By on February 8, 2016

    We’re announcing something new today … the birth of our “Humanity Club” for kids. It’s a program that allows us to teach student leaders about ideas such as self-value, leadership, diversity and compassion. We work with the students to develop creative methods to carry those ideas to their fellow students, showing their peers why every kid at their school should feel like they belong. It’s another example of our Humanity Project slogan in action, “Helping kids to help kids.” It is the Humanity Project leading a small group of kids who will assist many of their fellow students in valuable ways.

    First meeting of the new Humanity Club

    First meeting of the new Humanity Club

    We’ve already launched our very first Humanity Club, with a little help from our friends. Gulfstream Middle School is part of the nation’s sixth largest school district here in Broward County, Florida, where the Humanity Project is based. The good folks at Gulfstream are giving us the chance to develop this compassionate form of leadership in six of their student leaders — great kids … We are impressed so far with their intelligence and potential to make these ideas stick with their peers all around Gulfstream. In addition to Assistant Principal Christine Moss, we’re getting important help from Jamie Wood at Memorial Healthcare System. Memorial is the parent of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, a longtime Humanity Project sponsor and partner. Our thanks to Christine and Jamie, as well as other folks at Memorial Healthcare who helped us get going including Tim Curtin and Marilyn Camerota. And of course we appreciate the consistent support of Milin Espino and Jennifer Belyeu at Memorial as always.

    We’ll be telling you more about our Humanity Club in the coming weeks. What we’re doing, how it’s going. But we can’t finish this blog without a big shoutout to another amazing Humanity Project sponsor and partner of long standing: State Farm. Our Humanity Club is a live version of our innovative www.thp4kids.com website, which was created by teens for their peers over a three-year period. This web project wouldn’t have had the same success without a major national grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board. We thank State Farm, their great YAB and our wonderful local State Farm partner, Jose Soto, for supporting our vision: Making a website that serves as an online friend for socially isolated teens, including many LGBT students. The Humanity Club will become an extension of the positive ideas on that site, a live format for connecting with every student about the importance of self-value.

    Finally, a big thanks to two of the Humanity Project’s own Board of Directors members, Stephanie Wong who really created the Humanity Club, and Ferial Youakim, who’s contributing to our in-school sessions with the kids at Gulfstream. It is truly a team effort. We believe our Humanity Club can help us to help many kids at Gulfstream Middle School — and beyond. It is an opportunity to create an environment of cooperation among young students, to show them why every kid in their school deserves respect and appreciation.