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.
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To create innovative arts-based programs that help youth solve pressing social problems through collaborative efforts that emphasize the value of each individual.
What it means:
We're adults helping kids to help kids. We bring together young people to help their peers (and sometimes parents) solve tough problems such as bullying, teen driver safety and teenage social isolation -- issues where we can offer our experience and expertise. Together we create and implement all-original programs that reduce these problems while strengthening respect for the individual and promoting self-value. We call our unique approach "shared value."
Today we want to tell you a little more about a faithful friend of the Humanity Project — and a fine physician. He’s been my personal dermatologist for nearly 20 years. His name is Dr. David Sharaf of Skin and Cancer Associates and the Center for Cosmetic Enhancement in South Florida. Visit their website by clicking here.
He recently renewed his sponsorship of the Humanity Project, something he’s done consistently for the past several years. We are grateful as an organization. I am personally grateful as well.
Dr. Sharaf does this because he is a good man, someone who clearly cares about other people. I suppose that much is obvious simply by virtue of the sponsorship. It’s something he doesn’t have to do.
But let me tell you just very briefly about my experience with him as a doctor.
Dr. David Sharaf
When I was married, my then-wife was very fair-skinned and subject to pre-cancerous moles and such. One time, Dr. Sharaf discovered something more serious — melanoma. But he caught it quickly, diagnosed it correctly and sent us to one of the top specialists in the country, who happened to be in South Florida. She recovered rapidly and with little suffering along the way. I owe Dr. Sharaf for that. I trust him to find suspicious marks on my own body, also fair-skinned. And when I had something under my eye that needed treatment with a strong acid solution, well … there’s no one else I would have allowed to use caustic chemicals near my eyeball. But I had faith in Dr. Sharaf’s ability. Well-placed faith, as it turned out.
As you can tell, I think a lot of him. He didn’t ask me or the Humanity Project to say any of this, mind you. In fact, he discouraged me from saying anything at all. But when you’re lucky enough to know a good doctor who also is a good human being, I think people should know. Thank you, Dr. Sharaf! Thank you very much …
We wanted to share two fun new pics with you today. We were lucky at the Humanity Project to meet an energetic, community-minded woman named Susan Tomchin, a Girl Scout troop leader in South Florida. Ms. Tomchin contacted us about our I Care/Just Let Me Drive teen driver safety program: Could she give the program to her driving-age Girl Scouts? Yes, she could … and did. At no cost to her or the Girl Scouts or anyone but the Humanity Project. Our program is free, thanks to our sponsors.
Girl Scouts working on I Care to learn the dangers of distracted driving.
Girl Scout Troop #10717, with I Care books
Here is what this Girl Scout troop posted on the Facebook page of Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida: “Troop #10717 visited CarMax in Pompano Beach as part of their Driving My Financial Future/Buying Power badge work. Not only did they learn how to comparison-shop for a car, but how different features including safety ones factor into the car buying process. The girls also took a pledge to Not Text while driving as part of the Humanity Project/icare. Way to go, girls! What a great way to learn about making your first car purchase and staying safe while driving.”
We just delivered more than 100 copies of our highly regarded I Care/Just Let Me Drive teen driver safety program to a major Florida court for teens — at no cost to the court. As always, Humanity Project programs are free. (That’s why we rely on key sponsors such as State Farm, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Children’s Services Council of Broward County, Google and others … )
Dropping off I Care at a major Florida teen court!
This time we returned to Broward County Teen Court, which began to use our books last year. Broward County is home to the nation’s sixth largest school district, so there are lots of families and lots of teen drivers. I Care also has been used by teen courts in Miami-Dade County and Highlands County so far and we expect to reach out to additional courts in Florida and beyond in the coming months and years.
Other new I Care users in recent weeks include some State Farm agents in Florida and even a Girl Scout troop — more about the Girl Scouts soon. We have wonderful pics to share.
For now, though, we wanted you to know that some smart folks in our legal system recognize the impact and value of I Care, which avoids the usual scare tactics in favor of changing teen driving habits through friendship and positive peer pressure. Our unique approach works. And we love sharing it with as many officials, teachers, parents and others as possible so they can pass it along to their teen drivers. I Care was created by teens, for teens — kids helping kids. We know I Care can save lives if used as intended, which often requires adult supervision. This latest courthouse delivery is one more step forward. Of course, you can see for yourself what I Care is all about at our free website, also created by teens and for teens: www.thehumanityproject.com/icare. We hope you’ll pass along the link to a teen you love. Thanks!
She was elected by unanimous vote of our Board of Directors. At only 22-years-old, Stephanie Wong becomes the first student member of the Humanity Project’s governing body. As a Humanity Project Board of Directors Vice President, Stephanie will bring new perspectives, new ideas and her own great energy to our work of “helping kids to help kids.”
At the moment she joins our board, Stephanie is just finishing her Bachelor’s Degree work in psychology, with a minor in business, at Florida International University. She plans on graduate school in the coming years. After wrapping up her undergrad degree this summer, she already will have compiled an impressive record. Her credits include several months of study in Australia. Stephanie helped form FIU’s chapter of U.N. Women and is co-organizer of the College Brides Walk, a major South Florida event that draws attention to teen dating violence and domestic violence.
And she’s one of the coordinators of a peer education program called P.I.E.R, or “Peace In Every Relationship.” In addition, Stephanie is active in FIU’s National Organization for Women club and has worked as a child advocate volunteer at the Association House of Chicago. She also loves the arts, with a special affection for theater — as a high school student in South Florida, Stephanie was actively involved in theater productions. These days, she handles some website design on the side, creating the College Brides Walk website.
As you can tell, we’re not exaggerating by saying this young woman already has an impressive record. Most important, though, is what lies ahead for her and for the Humanity Project in our work with kids (and sometimes parents). We believe Stephanie will find fresh creative and dynamic ways to engage the students we help, allowing us to have an even greater impact on the community. Welcome to the Humanity Project, Stephanie! We are very happy you’re here.
How cool was this? Very cool … The Humanity Project just wrapped up a big high school scavenger hunt that used our I Care teen driver safety book for all the clues. More than 350 students took part at Monarch High School in South Florida, with a hunt so challenging it required two weeks of work by some very smart students. Here are our three prize winners, along with me. (Oh, by the way — I’m the one in the blue shirt. The knight did not win anything and isn’t affiliated with the Humanity Project, I assure you …)
First Prize was a new 16-gig iPad Mini with second and third prizes of iTunes gift cards as well as a small cash award for second place. And Humanity Project t-shirts for all three winners.
Actually, we think every student who participated in our I Care High School Scavenger Hunt is a winner. They each cared enough to learn about the importance of paying attention to the road when driving a car.
Check out this one-minute video with our three winners, a bright and engaged bunch of teens. Congratulations to each of them — and our thanks again to Monarch High School. It’s all just part of our continuing, and expanding, effort to prevent the number one cause of teen deaths, traffic accidents. With help from great kids like these, we’re making some progress toward that goal.
As you’ve probably noticed by now, we have a great new trademarked slogan at the Humanity Project: “Helpings kids to help kids!” So let us explain those words to you just a bit more. All of our programs, one way or another, rely on collaboration among young folks to make the programs work. Our Anti-bullying Through The Arts program, nationally known and often praised, shows elementary school students how bullying hurts everyone in school and why it takes everyone to stop it — then we demonstrate those two main points to them through a fun, arts-based assembly that sticks in their minds. We give the school free original Humanity Project books for every teacher to follow up and reinforce our message. But ultimately it’s all about teaching kids to involve themselves when they see a fellow student being bullied. Kids helping kids.
Our I Care/Just Let Me Drive teen driver safety program avoids scare tactics, which research consistently has proven do not work. You can’t scare a kid into driving safely. You have to make them want to drive safely. To accomplish that, our program draws on close teen friendships and positive peer pressure. And a study last year by Barry University shows us I Care’s approach is effective in curbing distracted driving. Kids helping kids.
Our third major program is our unique website for socially isolated teens, including many LGBT students. Like the I Care program, it was created by teens, for teens. The site is at this web address: www.thp4kids.com and we hope you’ll check it out. We’re proud of this website, as we are all our programs. It offers advice and videos and music and games and a pretty amazing feature called “Hearing Voices (Inside Your Head)” in the “You’re Not Alone” section of the site. All that along with blogs, poetry and even a 24-hour hotline, a terrific resource run by organizations such as Covenant House and Boys Town. So yes, thp4kids once again has the same approach: Kids helping kids.
Our mission is to help young people to help their peers. We also sometimes help kids to help parents, which in turn assists kids as a result of the things their parents learn. We’re pleased to offer this new slogan as a way for you to remember what the Humanity Project really is all about: Helping kids to help kids (and sometimes parents …) in ways that emphasize the value of each individual. Oh yeah, definitely. “Helping kids to help kids!”™ That’s the Humanity Project.
We are very excited at the Humanity Project to announce some major news for us. As the blog headline says, we have a new mission statement that better reflects our work with kids. You see it over there in the right-hand column, along with a new “What it means” statement that more clearly expresses the specific goals of our organization. We’ve also come up with a slogan that matches the mission, and we have trademarked that slogan: “Helping kids to help kids!”
Take a new look at our Programs page, please. Or our About page or any of the other pages on our website’s menu listing above. You’ll see the new mission reflected in everything we offer.
So why did we do this? Afterall, a new mission statement is a big step for any nonprofit group — why did we need to change? Because this new mission and slogan and what it means statement, along with a new vision statement on our About page, tell you what we really do. We help kids to help kids … and sometimes help kids to help parents, as the what-it-means statement mentions. We find ways to harness the talents and energies of children from kindergarten through high school to help their peers solve pressing problems, all while stressing the importance of each individual. Our Anti-bullying Through The Arts program does this. So does I Care/Just Let Me Drive and www.thp4kids.com, our website created by teens for their socially isolated peers, including many LGBT students. Our upcoming I Care 2.0 program for parents does it too, as we’ll explain when the program is completed.
We tackle social problems in areas where our own experience and expertise can help kids — then work with them to help us help themselves and their fellow students. It’s a win-win approach that is at the heart of the Humanity Project’s original guiding philosophy, which we call “shared value.” (Read a short article about shared value by clicking here.)
We think you’ll find that the new mission statement and other new elements allow you to better understand just what the Humanity Project is all about: “Helping kids to help kids!”
We’re very proud of our entire Board of Directors. They’re a great bunch of smart, caring, hardworking folks who help make this organization what it’s become over the past nine and a half years. But this week, we want to let you know that two of our Board vice presidents just won important awards for their efforts in our community.
Matt Corey is CEO and President of Insight for the Blind, which records books and magazines for the Library of Congress’ Talking Books program. Matt also is a very talented musician and sound designer, working with the top regional theaters across South Florida. His talents help to make plays into experiences that connect with all the senses of theatergoers. Matt just won his sixth Carbonell Award for creating the special music and sounds used in dramatic performances — count ‘em, six! The Carbonell is the Tony Award of this part of the United States, the top theatrical prize. Of course, Matt also is the sound engineer and producer of the Humanity Project Podcast, which I host. We’ve recorded more than 100 of these programs and I rely on Matt’s expertise to make them sound as good as they do. Congratulations, Matt, on your latest recognition.
Dr. Laura Finley is Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Barry University and the author or co-author of 13 books. And she is a very busy peace activist in the community, for example organizing and leading the annual College Brides Walk in South Florida to draw attention to dating violence. Dr. Finley was just given a wonderful award by her colleagues at Barry University, a prize that recognized her for “Engaged Scholarship.” At the Humanity Project, we see just how engaged this particular scholar really is as Laura digs in enthusiastically to assist our many efforts. She also recently published her latest book called “School Violence,” a work to which I was fortunate enough to contribute a brief section on bullying. Congratulations, Laura, on your new award from Barry University, evidence of continued appreciation by your colleagues of your commitment to peace.
Of course, we’re focusing on Matt and Laura today. But Gabriela Pinto and Bob LaMendola from our Board of Directors are just as accomplished and talented in their fields — and we appreciate them just as much. (Read their bios on our Board of Directors page by clicking here.) All in all, a terrific board … working as one great team helping kids to help kids.
April is national Distracted Driving Awareness Month. It’s a very good moment to pause and think about your own habits as parents – or as any adult whose behind-the-wheel behavior may be seen and copied by young drivers. With help from our great major sponsors, State Farm and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, we’re doing our part here at the Humanity Project to encourage attentive driving. Our work this month includes talking with teens and parents at many community events. We’re even chatting with young kids who only ride in cars, encouraging them to urge their parents or other adults to pay attention when driving.
We’ve just delivered 350 copies of our awesome I Care teen driver safety book to a South Florida high school, each copy to be used by its young owner and then shared with three best friends. And both parents. That’s potentially 2100 people who will be learning safer driving from I Care in April at this one school alone. We’re also part of youth events such as an I Care scavenger hunt. And we’re giving away an iPad Mini and iTunes gift cards to students who use I Care books and pass a test to show they retained the anti-distracted driving lessons.
Of course, the Humanity Project works year round to teach safe driving to teens and parents. It’s one of our three major programs, including our acclaimed ant-bullying work and our unique website for socially isolated students – an online resource created by teens for their peers. Check out our Programs page for more info. And remember to mind your driving, please. You never know how many young drivers notice you checking email, texting or chatting away on the phone while you’re driving … and then decide, “Hey if they can do it, why can’t I?”
More and more, the Humanity Project is getting out and getting in … Out into the community, in conversations with kids and moms and dads and teachers and nonprofit colleagues at events around South Florida. Of course, we’ve always done our best to connect with our neighbors.
Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital spring event — April 2015
But now we’re doing a lot more of it. So today, just a few recent pics to show you some of the folks we’re lucky enough to meet.
We’ve even created some fun new ways to start chats at these events, an opportunity for us to discuss our three main programs and educate the public about important topics like safe driving and school bullying. Visit our Programs page.
Our new I Care prize wheel starts conversations
Take a look at our latest gadget, created specifically to promote our innovative I Care: Just Let Me Drive program: A prize wheel. It’s a good tool for talking to teen drivers and their parents but also to young kids who ride in vehicles with adults. Everyone enjoys the wheel, often returning to spin it again and again. And we give out prizes too, including some of our cool Humanity Project t-shirts. A fun way to discuss distracted driving – what it is, why it’s so dangerous.
At the Barry University Bride’s Walk event, February 2015
We hope to see you at one of our upcoming events if you happen to live in South Florida. And if you’re among our many fans in other parts of the United States or in other countries, please feel free to get in touch with us by email or phone. We love to talk with you about our programs and ways you might want to get involved … and we’re always eager to help if you have a problem that overlaps one of our program areas. A child being bullied? A teen getting her first license? A son or daughter who struggles with social isolation? Check out our programs page and other free materials first – and then if you need more information, just let us know.