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.)

       
  • 350 Students Learn Safe Driving Through Fun

    Posted By on May 21, 2015

    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 …)iPhone pics new -- May 2015 112

    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.

    “Helping Kids To Help Kids!” — Behind Those Words

    Posted By on May 12, 2015

    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. Thp4KidsLike 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.

    New Mission, New Slogan … New Possibilities

    Posted By on April 28, 2015

    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!” Endeavor Primary Learning Center -- Sept 2014 322

    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!”

    Congrats To Our Team

    Posted By on April 21, 2015

    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.

    Meet Our Board of DirectorsMatt 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.

    Distracted Driving And Your Kids

    Posted By on April 14, 2015

    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. IMG_0969With 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?”

     

    Into The Community

    Posted By on April 5, 2015

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    Humanity Project Making News

    Posted By on March 30, 2015

    Thank you, El Sentinel! This newspaper is one of the most important Spanish-language newspapers in an area of the United States that is heavily Spanish-speaking: South Florida. And the Humanity Project is featured in El Sentinel’s new edition, with a major story on the expansion of our innovative I Care: Just Let Me Drive program: Read the El Sentinel story. That expansion is called I Care 2.0, aimed at helping parents better understand why and how they influence the on-the-road behavior of their teenage drivers.

    If you want to know why this is such an important issue, here’s a sobering fact for you: More teens die from auto crashes than from any other cause. Illustration on phoneAnd new information from AAA shows us that distraction is the reason for most of those accidents. According to their study, fully 60% of teen crashes happen due to distracted driving. Put two and two together and we come to the obvious conclusion: Distracted driving is killing our kids. I Care helps teens avoid distraction through a clever, witty use of positive peer pressure and friendship. Now I Care 2.0 will get parents into the act too. If we teach parents to practice what they preach about driving, we’ll take another big step toward reducing those teen accidents. That’s because other research tells us parents greatly influence their kids’ driving behavior. We’re pleased that El Sentinel recognizes the importance of I Care and now I Care 2.0 – and is helping us spread the word about our program en Espanol. Muchas gracias, amigos!

    Positively Good News

    Posted By on March 23, 2015

    We like to think of the Humanity Project as a relentlessly positive nonprofit group. We focus on what we can do to improve things rather than wringing our hands about all the problems in the world.

    Visit our I Care website too: www.thehumanityproject.com/icare

    Visit our I Care website too: www.thehumanityproject.com/icare

    With that in mind, we think you’ll enjoy the new podcast we posted just this afternoon – a program with lots of good news about our innovative I Care: Just Let Me Drive teen driver safety program. With a new $15,000 grant from State Farm, we’re creating a major expansion of I Care … this time aimed at parents. Research shows that parents greatly influence their kids’ driving habits. So I Care 2.0 will help dads and moms understand this, showing them how to become better role models.

    Check out the I Care 2.0 podcast, with two great guests from State Farm. Jose Soto and Melba Ballard talk about what’s new with I Care and how State Farm is helping us bring the program to many more families: Listen to the podcast.

    Melba Ballard and Jose Soto present a big check to the Humanity Project's Bob Knotts

    Melba Ballard and Jose Soto present a big check to the Humanity Project’s Bob Knotts

    As always, everyone at the Humanity Project thanks State Farm and our other major I Care sponsor, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. We’ll be telling you a lot more about I Care 2.0 when the expanded program is ready to unveil, of course. For now, our new podcast will share with you some of the very good news about I Care.

    Meet Our Board Of Directors

    Posted By on March 14, 2015

    We’ve added a new, and overdue, page to this website. Now you can find photos and bios for our entire Board of Directors. We’re proud of our distinguished board — and we must explain that we’ve waited to create a page like this until now for only one reason. Our organization is about “us,” about the value of helping others. Not about “me.” Our concern was a bio page for our board might send the wrong message, as if our work revolved around egos rather than efforts to improve society. Our good friend Kim Trumbo, founder of the Generosity Philosophy Podcast, was among those who persuaded us to change our mind so you would know the people behind the Humanity Project. The new page is linked off our existing About page: Visit the new Board of Directors page. But we wanted to make it easy for you to see what was new — so you’ll also find the same content in this blog. Thanks. We think you’ll enjoy meeting these wonderful folks!

     

    Bob Knotts

    Bob Knotts

    Bob Knotts, Founder and President: Author of 24 books, five plays and many poems, lyrics and nonfiction articles. He founded the Humanity Project in November 2005 to create practical applications that would help people based on ideas expressed in his writings. Mr. Knotts is among fewer than 50,000 Americans whose biographies appear in the prestigious Marquis “Who’s Who in America” and “Who’s Who in the World” reference books. A lifelong musician, he also creates and performs much of the Humanity Project’s original music including the Humanity Project Podcast theme. http://www.rsknotts.com

     

    Laura Finley

    Laura Finley

    Dr. Laura Finley, Vice President: With a Ph.D. in sociology, she is Associate Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Barry University. Dr. Finley is also the author or co-author of 13 books as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. Her latest book is called, “School Violence.” Dr. Finley is actively involved in local, state and national efforts to promote peace, justice and human rights. In 2008, she started the Center for Living and Teaching Peace, which provides training and education related to the promotion of peace in all its forms. https://www.barry.edu/sociology-criminology/faculty/finley.html

     

    Matt Corey

    Matt Corey

    Matt Corey, Vice President: CEO and President of Insight for the Blind, a long-established nonprofit that records books and magazines for the Library of Congress’ Talking Books program. He also oversees technical aspects of Insight’s recording, holding both a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Applied Music from the University of Miami. Mr. Corey remains very active in the South Florida arts as a composer, sound designer and performing musician and has won the region’s highest theatrical award multiple times for best sound design. A bassoonist with the Boca Raton Symphonia, he teaches bassoon and music production at Florida International University and Nova Southeastern University. http://www.insightfortheblind.org/

    Gabriela Pinto

    Gabriela Pinto

     

    Gabriela Pinto, Vice President: After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts, she worked for some of the most significant museums in Bogota, Colombia, including the Museum of Modern Art and the National Museum of Colombia. In 2000, she joined the Fondazione Leo Matiz in Milan, Italy as Archive Director and took part in a Matiz retrospective in Madrid, Spain. In 2002, Ms. Pinto moved to Fort Lauderdale where she began working for prominent art galleries. In April 2010, she created www.heal-anxiety-and-depression.com, a website for the community to learn about dealing with emotional distress without medication. The website material is based on both scientific research and her personal experience. She also helps to present the Humanity Project’s Anti-Bullying Through The Arts program at elementary schools. http://www.heal-anxiety-and-depression.com/

    Bob LaMendola

    Bob LaMendola

    Bob LaMendola, Secretary/Treasurer: Community Affairs Manager for the Florida Department of Health in Broward County, Florida since October 2013. He helps create and maintain strong contacts with community organizations and the public, as well as conducting writing and speaking projects to educate the community about health issues. Previously Mr. LaMendola was a staff manager for the Broward County HIV Planning Council, a volunteer panel that oversees HIV-related spending and services. Prior to entering the health field, he spent 35 years as a daily journalist, including 25 years on health and local government beats for the South Florida Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. He is a longtime bass guitar player and currently leads his own jazz band called the Jazz Survivors. http://www.jazzsurvivors.com/

    A Day For Hope … For Us All

    Posted By on March 8, 2015

    They call it “International Women’s Day.” But, really, it’s a day for everyone — men and women and kids alike. I’m writing our blog on this day designated to encourage women’s equality, and I’m writing it for a reason that fits very much into the mission of the Humanity Project as I’ll explain in a moment. First, though, I want to add this organization’s voice to the millions around the world, all celebrating the achievements of women.

    Girls like these need the chance to share their best with the world

    Girls like these need the chance to share their best with the world

    I do believe it’s a day that can help everybody through strengthening the global women’s movement, bringing us a step closer to tapping the wasted potential of so many females in so many countries. (Visit the International Women’s Day website.) Look at the photo I snapped during a 2012 trip to China, those two adorable young girls holding hands as they enjoy popsicles. They need the same opportunity as boys to find what they do best and share it with us all. The world can’t afford to squander the talents of half our people any longer. In that sense, we each only can benefit by helping to change outdated attitudes about women that still linger in societies everywhere, even here in the United States where the Humanity Project is based.

    The Humanity Project is about sharing in ways that help others and ourselves, all at the same time. Our three innovative programs accomplish this by tackling pressing youth problems that our group has the expertise to address, creating collaborative arts-based efforts that also celebrate the value of each individual. We call our original approach “shared value.” (Find out more about shared value.) Or click on our PeacePage link here or in the menu above. You’ll find that our nonprofit group believes that every human being has equal worth and an important role to play in contributing to an improved world. That’s what International Women’s Day is about too. We need every one of us, male and female, for humanity to move forward now.