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.)

       
  • 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 www.thehumanityproject.com/icare.

    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 www.thp4kids.com 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.

    A Challenge For Parents – And A Warning

    Posted By on June 30, 2016

    (Editor’s Note: This blog was written especially for the Humanity Project by Hilary Smith, who writes about the challenges of parenting in the digital age. She is the mother of two children, ages 4 and 9, and lives in Chicago.)

    By Hilary Smith 

    Today, we hear stories about how teens are leaving Facebook in droves to find new social media hidden from our prying eyes. In an effort to keep Mom and Dad out of their online affairs, they are looking for ways to build a safety wall around their social media use to keep us out. This secrecy makes it essential for parents to put a little extra effort into understanding the new apps and sites our kids are frequenting and downloading. One new app our children are discovering is Burn Note.iphone new 010

    The Ins And Outs Of Burn Note

    Burn Note is just one of many disappearing apps that feature “self destructing” messages. All Burn Notes will eventually “burn” or erase after they have been viewed by the recipient. It was developed to help office employees keep sensitive messages from being viewed by people not intended to see the content. Understanding the original purpose is essential, because one of the biggest selling points to teens is that all Burn Notes are gone after they are viewed. Gone.

    Burn Note And Kids: Behaviors To Be Looking Out For

    We need to realize that Burn Note offers our children a liberating freedom. This disappearing app allows people to enjoy authentic communication without fear of censorship or judgment. Most teens might enjoy sharing stories about their new crushes or arranging plans for the upcoming game. The fleeting nature of this app can reduce the pressure to maintain a clean and proper digital trail. Burn Note allows children alternatives to traditional social media that keeps a running timeline of every comment, like, and photo, with the potential to harm future ambitions and employment.

    However, the ephemeral qualities and lack of accountability of Burn Note can backfire. The disappearing nature of this app might encourage children to see the freedoms as an invitation to send inappropriate or cruel messages to another person. This digital harassment without fear of being caught can quickly escalate into cyberbullying.iphone new 030

    5 Essential Tips For Parents

    Burn Note is a fun app that serves a purpose in our kids’ technology usage. However, we owe it to our sons and daughters to empower them to safely handle this social media application. Listed below are five suggestions to help our children enjoy Burn Note without getting burned:

    • Teach and instill social media etiquette in our sons and daughters. Starting when our children are young, we need to teach a sense of right and wrong when it comes to technology. As our kids age, we can also discuss touchier topics like cyberbullying, sexting, and oversharing.
    • Follow the “grandma rule.” Tell your kids to only post items they feel confident wouldn’t make grandma and grandpa blush.
    • If a child is a victim of cyberbullying, open and read all Burn Notes together. Don’t allow your child to read these messages alone. You will be there to offer a shoulder to lean on and can help document the bullying.
    • If a child receives cruel messages, instruct them to ignore the menacing words. Responding to a bully’s messages often only fuels the cyberbullying, continuing a vicious circle. As the adult, you need to address the bullying for your child … but do it offline.
    • Monitor a child’s online activity. Parents need to know what sites a child frequents, who their friends are, and how they behave online. Afterall, it’s the loving thing to do.

    For more information about Burn Note and how it works, please watch the following video from TeenSafe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl3IYc5tFgQ

    A Heads-up For Parents

    Posted By on June 21, 2016

    Crash 1Perhaps you are a parent or maybe a grandparent of a teenager. Or possibly you’re an educator who works closely with teens. We have something you should hear: a new podcast with advice that might save the life of your teen driver. Listen to the podcast.

    You’ll hear a lively and informative conversation with two parents who now also are grandparents — and as you might imagine, they have much experience and wisdom to offer. We also chat with our good friend, Jose Soto, from State Farm about that great company’s push to save teen lives as well as their loyal support for the Humanity Project’s innovative I Care teen driver safety program. We’re just now beginning to plan the expansion of I Care, taking it live through PowerPoint presentations to parent groups. Our sessions will be fun and funny … and they’ll make an important point for parents: You must drive in the way you want your teenagers to drive. You are their role model.

    There are lots of scary statistics we can tell you about. Did you know that teens have the lowest seat belt use of any age group? Did you know 60% of teen crashes involve distraction? The frightening facts are there if you want to look them up. But we would rather help you, the parents or grandparents or educators, simply understand that teenagers need guidance to drive well. And that the key source of that guidance comes from parents, with influence from others who are around teens including grandparents and educators. Gandhi urged us each to be the change we want to see in the world. When it comes to teen driving, we each need to be the kind of driver we want to see in the lane next to us.

    Meeting Hate With Love

    Posted By on June 12, 2016

    Pride Center vigil: June 12, 2016

    Pride Center vigil: June 12, 2016

    It is the day of the mass shooting in Orlando as I write this. It has seemed a long day — and obviously a very sad one for all caring human beings who are aware of this tragedy. But even as a gunman took so many lives out of his hate for gay Americans, even on this very day, something hopeful already emerged. I wanted to tell you about it while it’s fresh on my mind.

    I’ve just returned from a vigil at the Pride Center in Wilton Manors, Florida, something hurriedly arranged to help LGBT folks and allies come together to help each other cope. The Humanity Project is a proud LGBT ally — never more proud or resolute than now in our determination to teach children the importance of respect, diversity and self-value. Our work with kids recently was sponsored by Our Fund, a foundation that serves the LGBT community. We attended the Pride Center vigil to show our support. But while I was there something remarkable happened.

    A speaker standing on the podium asked the crowd of at least 500 people to each think of one word. He said, “I want you to shout out the one word that’s most on your mind today, the thing you really want to share with the world. Tell me — what is the one word you each want to say out loud right now?”

    The resounding answer: “Love!” I’ve never witnessed anything quite like this. I’m a former journalist who covered many events of many types, including violent crimes. I’ve traveled to 53 countries and sampled many cultures in many ways. But no, I’ve never seen anything like this. Think about it: On the day of a mass slaughter directed at the LGBT community, the one word shouted by hundreds of LGBT people and allies as a response to the shooter’s hatred was … “love.” I think that says a lot about the LGBT community. And about human beings. There are a lot more of us than there are of them – many more people who want to live love rather than hate. In the midst of an awful day that will be remembered for hatred, some of us will recall it differently. Oddly, June 12, 2016 turned out to be a day of love.