The Humanity Project®

Kids Speak For Themselves

A very brief blog to suggest you spend just two minutes doing something else — watching our new video. It shows young girls offering their honest, unscripted, unprompted opinions of our Humanity Club after being in that Humanity Project program for one full year. Check it out! It’s sure to make you smile … and show you more of what the Humanity Project really does.

Garden Of Respect

Doesn't something called a "Garden of Respect" sound like a wonderful place to be? Well, the Humanity Project has created just such a place with lots of help from the kids at Morrow Elementary School ... and vital funding from our friends at Children's Services Council of Broward County. It's a permanent large garden that reminds children daily about the importance -- and the beauty -- of respectful behavior.

The idea came about through our innovative Humanity Club program, where the Humanity Project works with a core group of all-girl student leaders of color. These girls came up with the original design, including a birdbath. With our generous money from Children's Services Council of Broward County, the Humanity Project bought a huge amount of garden plants, decorative items, mulch and more — including that birdbath of course. And rocks. Hundreds of Morrow Elementary students then painted the rocks on the theme of respect and incorporated the decorative rocks into their Garden of Respect.

Just some of the Respect Rocks painted by the students at Morrow Elementary

Everyone at Morrow is so taken with the garden that the school administrators have expanded the plantings beyond the original concept … and decided to keep adding to the garden in the weeks ahead. Already stretching across much of the front of this school, the Garden of Respect will see additional student-painted rocks and more plants soon.

Take a look for yourself at a few more pics. A lovely enduring example of a partnership among a wonderful school, Children's Services Council of Broward County and the Humanity Project. We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help.

Our Summer School

Some of our summertime Humanity Club student leaders

This is a very busy summer at the Humanity Project!

For the first time in our nearly 14-year history we’re running three full summer programs, each of them through the Broward County Parks & Recreation Department. On Tuesdays, we’re at Boulevard Gardens Community Center with one group of all-girl student leaders. On Wednesdays, we’re at Lafayette Hart Park with a second group of girls. And on Thursdays, the Humanity Project goes to Sunview Park for an all-boy club that’s working on our I Care program.

So rather than take up a lot more time with words just now, let us show you a few more pics you may enjoy!

Our great summer intern, Noel Murray, with one of the girls

We love working with these enthusiastic, very smart girls

The guys of our I Care Club, helping us teach others about #respectontheroads

An engaged group of young men who care

A Great Partner: Our Fund

It’s no secret. Money is the lifeblood of any nonprofit. We wish it weren’t so — but it is. Without money, the Humanity Project can’t work with kids, parents and other adults to inspire respect for the equal value of individuals and the unique value of humanity. We can’t provide our acclaimed antibullying program or our innovative Humanity Club. Our Fund understands this — and recently awarded the Humanity Project and 20 other fine nonprofits generous funding to continue our work.

We are deeply grateful to everyone at Our Fund, including the Board of Directors, the Grant Committee, and the great staff that includes Mark Blaylock and Obed Caballero. But we especially must thank Our Fund’s amazing CEO, David Jobin, who is an admired friend among the South Florida LGBTQ community and beyond. David works tirelessly to make this the most livable place in the United States for the LGBTQ population … and thereby, more enjoyable, more diverse and yes more livable for everyone. Our Fund is the third largest LGBTQ foundation in the country and we thank them for this important recent $10,000 in funding for the Humanity Project’s work.

So let us finish up this online acknowledgement and thank you by showing you something we believe you’ll like. This is a new 2-minute video we recently uploaded to the Humanity Project YouTube channel. It shows unscripted honest thoughts about our Humanity Club by a few of the girls who took part in the program at Morrow Elementary School in North Lauderdale, Florida from September 2018 through June 2019. These girls are future leaders who learned through the Humanity Club about the importance of respect for every human being, regardless of who that person loves, how they dress or anything else. They in turn helped their entire school understand these same lessons … and now will take their knowledge with them to spread among their peers in future years. This is how a community achieves equality. It should make you smile. And should make you appreciate the support of Our Fund all the more. That’s certainly our reaction here at the Humanity Project.

Thank you, Our Fund!! Here’s that video: Watch the new Humanity Project YouTube video!

Teaching Young Hearts Through The Arts

Morrow Elementary students creating posters about respect-for-all

At Morrow Elementary School, in North Lauderdale, Florida, the Humanity Project is teaching every student what respect for others really means. And the means to that meaning, our tool for teaching, is the arts.

That’s always the key to our acclaimed Humanity Project programs — teaching with play, teaching through the arts. As you see in the collage photo above, our kids this week and last week took part in drawing their own posters focused on respect for every person. Grades K - 5 were involved, from very young children to those just about ready for middle school. That art project is only one of many efforts the Humanity Project is heading up this entire school year at Morrow, even as we visit other schools with our Antibullying Through The Arts program. And continue promoting our I Care program as well, of course.

In the forefront of our work at Morrow is the Humanity Club, nine all-girl student leaders who have been part of our afterschool workshops throughout the school year. These fun but informative sessions taught the girls about respect-for-all, diversity and self-worth. Now our young leaders are helping us bring those ideas to their peers through the art project, through a three-week schoolwide respect contest (first prize: an iPad!) and finally through the construction of a Garden of Respect. (Funding for that garden was provided to the Humanity Project generously by Children’s Services Council of Broward County.)

The Humanity Project believes the best way to reach young hearts, and teach lessons that stick, is through the arts. The results over the nearly 14-year life of our nonprofit suggest that it’s a very good approach indeed.

"Beyond Me" - Finding Love At Humanity's Core

A Personal Blog

by Bob Knotts, Founder of the Humanity Project

This is highly unusual, to say the least. The Humanity Project does not exist to promote the work of me or any other individual. It exists to help others, especially to instill our three core values of respect for the equal value of every individual along with an appreciation of diversity and the need for self-worth. But we’re making an exception here — for a good reason. My new book deals directly with those very topics and others that relate to the Humanity Project’s work as well as my reasons for founding this nonprofit in the first place.

So we hope you may want to read my 25th and latest book: “Beyond Me: Dissecting Ego To Find The Innate Love At Humanity’s Core (A New Psychology As Philosophy).” Here’s a link to the Amazon book page offering “Beyond Me”: Visit the Amazon page for “Beyond Me.”

Let me give you a small sample of this highly unconventional and lengthy book. This is a short section from Chapter 1:

“ … Over the years I noticed that my self-doubts caused me many many many problems in the world. You will read about some of those too. Unhealthy relationships, destructive reactions, irrational judgments that bubbled up from my relentless confusions about Bob, the who and the what of me. I also observed that my problems frequently twisted themselves into problems for other people, from family to friends to colleagues to strangers. Things I said or didn’t say to them, things I did or didn’t do. My obsession with me created most of the damage that I inflicted upon both myself and my fellow human beings. The older I got, the clearer this became to me.

And over the years I noticed that you suffered precisely the same misery, whoever you were. The details didn’t matter much. As best I could surmise after travels on six continents, every other you on the planet also suffered from it. In this way you each were pretty much like me. Meaning it was all ‘me’ nearly all the time for everyone of us. The daily pursuit of immediate self-interest, the anxieties and fears and angers that emerged from our individual doubts, the desperation for outside appreciation, the harm to ourselves and others when the appreciation didn’t come. Every individual at the center of their personal universe.

Oh yes, I concluded, this is human nature. Clearly just the way we are.

Except that it isn’t.”

In a nutshell, this is the essence of “Beyond Me.” Over the course of 600 pages, the book argues that our destructive self-centered ways, our egocentrism, isn’t natural but rather learned — and can be unlearned. And untaught to our children. Instead, “Beyond Me” says, there is an innate core of love in human beings … but not the kind of love most people think about when they hear that word. The book explains in empirically based detail the what, why and how of all this. If you read it, you’ll see what I mean.

You can find another sample to read at this link, something a bit longer: Read the opening pages of “Beyond Me.”

Ultimately, “Beyond Me” is an enormously hopeful view of our humanity, offering new perspectives and new solutions to many of our problems. And much like the Humanity Project itself, the book stresses that each individual is equally valuable — and the human species is uniquely significant. By the time you read the whole book, I feel sure, you are likely to have a different, more optimistic view of yourself, others and our world.

Parents Saving Teens

The daughter? Or the mother? Parents greatly influence their teenager’s driving habits.

A brief post today. Just long enough to tell you about a new podcast you’ll want to hear, especially if you are the parent of a teenage driver. Click here to listen.

Like this blog, it’s called, “Parents Saving Teens” and features insightful discussion from two experts on safe teen driving: Jose Soto from State Farm and Melissa Branca from Florida SADD. The podcast’s focus is on parenting — ways that parents can instill in their young motorists a genuine respect for the dangers posed to their lives and the lives of other people on the roads. Research shows parental driving habits are the largest influence on the driving behavior of teens, who die from auto crashes far more than from any other cause in the United States.

We hope that you’ll take the time to listen carefully to our discussion — and that you’ll pass along the link to friends and family who may benefit as well.

A New Fable: The Tale Of The Two Windows

Copyright © 2019 Robert Spencer Knotts All rights reserved

This is the 12th in a series of original modern fables for parents and other adults, created and copyrighted by Humanity Project Founder, Bob Knotts. They are short, fun, fictional tales that can be shared with older kids to teach important lessons about helping others. Each story also includes a simple moral at the end, as fables have done for centuries. You can find the other fables on our website at this link: Read the first 11 fables. Please enjoy them!

The Tale of the Two Windows

A fable by

Robert Spencer Knotts

Look!

Two windows.

In different rooms.

Both above the playground.

With children outdoors, many laughters.

Together they joyful play.

Or maybe not.

Most curious …

Look!

Oh yes, yes, oh yes yes yes yes yes. This was a scene most indeed curious to see, this was yes indeed.

Waldo had seen this curiosity indeed now for some many months or more. And each time Waldo saw, oh yes, the curiosity caught his breath up in some snort of surprisement yet again.

Two windows. Different rooms, yes, same scene below.

Or maybe not.

Hmmmmm …

You see, Waldo’s curious seeings started something like this, yes, just exactly like this those seeings began. Because Waldo woke up on one extrashiny morning as the sun in narrow lightslivers slipped between his slatted blinds, all the new day’s brightlight filtering inside among the slats to poke Waldo awake warmly on both his sleeping eyelids.

Despite this distinctly sunwarmed wakening, Waldo soon felt distinctly unsunny.

Scowling and scratching the scruffy mornstubble of his beard, he pulled a thin white cord to raise the slatted blinds of the bedroom window. Peering squinteyed through the sunwarmth, Waldo peeked down at a playground mostly unsunny to see, oh yes a playscene below quite plainly playless.

Oh no, oh yes yes indeed.

The unplaying children smiled little, smiled hardly at all. Quite listless, quite playless, five boys tossed a ball. Four girls just ran round in a small silly ring. Three kids more found some sour song to sing. Two teachers, it seemed, were both bored to tears. And one lost lonely child sat huddled by fears.

Shaking his scowl and scraping his scratch, Waldo unwelcomed the long day ahead – yes the endless workingday at a workingplace not much unlike that playground below him. All the playless hours to come in his unfun office cubicle, with Waldo himself all fullup with feelings quite listless and bored quite to tears. Unwelcome thoughts indeed as Waldo walked a few short steps down the short narrow hallway toward his short kitchen for coffee. Espresso, short.

And then, well, it happened.

Yes, this was when Waldo curiously peeked curiously through the round window in the square kitchen wall. Peeked down at that same playground he’d peeked only one short moment ago, peeked first now then peered next until both his scowl and his scratch had nearly fallen off his face.

He saw five beaming boys, so strong, playing catch. Four girls raced round in a short footrace match. Three choirkids practiced some sweet ancient song. Two teachers both cried from laughing too long. And that boy? He hunched over a big frog that he’d found, a frog hopping happily through that sunwarmed playground.

Hmmmmm …

Two windows. Different rooms, no yes, same scene below.

Or maybe not.

Same ball yes, same running path yes. Same kids, same teachers too. All, all, all, all just exactly the same through this window, then through that.

But then, no, of course the same not at all.

First unhappy below, then happy.

First joyless children, then joyful.

How could just the same all suddenly seem just so different?

Yes, even his hearings had so changed from one window to the next with one same sound sounding so sourly through this, so sweetly through that. Yes, just the same child soundings separated only by short seconds and short footsteps of floor.

Waldo sat down with his coffee, most indeed curiously confused. And he thought back on what had come to him through the two windows.

Unhappy, then happy. Joyless, then joyful.

How curious yes, Waldo wondered during some coffeesipping and then some soapshowering as he prepared for work. All all so curious, yes, it seemed all so curious indeed as Waldo somehow found himself with no scowl at all now, no scratch at all either. And then undreading the long day ahead, he soon hustled off to his workingplace through the sunwarmth outside.

And so things went on for some many months or more. First seeing this, then seeing that outside his two windows. Hearing sourly hearings here, followed by sweetly hearings there. Not always only playground children either, but windowseeings and windowhearings of rainstorms and roadtraffic, of songbirds and spanielwalkers.

Each time both scenes outside the two windows just exactly the same.

But each time each scene outside the two windows just exactly as different as each time before.

Here unhappy, there happy.

Here joyless.

There joyful.

Day after day after day, his apartment’s two windows revealed two worlds to Waldo. Day after day after day, Waldo never could decide which of these two worlds was true, which world real.

Was it all a place of sadness down below him, grim and grimacing, everyone scowling and scratching to endure the endless unplayful hours? Or was it a place of energies and enthusiasms, with songsweet laughter bubbling effervescent through roadtraffic and rainstorms, all playful to cheer the songbirds and spanielwalkers alike?

Once himself outdoors down below the two windows, Waldo could never decide which was what. Day after day after day Waldo walked down the walk beside the roadtraffic, through the rainstorms, passing beneath the songbirds and passing past the spanielwalkers with Waldo himself all fullup of feelings indeed most curious. And mostly quite confused. Even his cubicled workingplace seemed different now somehow – but why, and how?

The which and the what, the why and the how of it all seemed ever as muddled as ever before.

And then, well, it happened.

Because one day after one day and another day, Waldo found one most curious wondering among the many wonders that wound through Waldo’s own head. Yes, one day Waldo himself snorted in surprisement over this most curious wonder: “Maybe both the unhappy and the happy, yes, maybe both were both always there. On the playground, in the rainstorms and the roadtraffic and all the rest. Joyless and joyful both always both just as real! Hmmmm … I wonder why I never noticed before?”

The why and the how and the which and the what of it all, Waldo never could quite explain. But instantly he just knew it was all so. And Waldo would never let himself unknow all the two windows had taught him for some many months or more.

Yes, Waldo always had found just what he wanted to find below a windowpane. No, it was no difference below now making those two windowscenes unsame. He could find the world scowling, much like Waldo’s own scowls. Uncuriously all playless with soursongs sounding like howls. Or he could find the world playful with sweetsongs of joys. Curiously no scowlseeings to see with no hearings of noise.

Playless and sour.

Or playful and sweet.

Waldo decided this hour by hour when up looking out windows or down walking the street.

He could hear it all just as noise or could hear it just as all song – and not one of his hearings really was wrong. Just the same with his seeings, both unhappy and happy were real there outside. But which seeings he saw there he’d somehow decide.

A snort of surprisement seems a wise way to react when two different windows show two quite different facts.

Yes, all joyful the play there! Or no, maybe not.

People can only discover outside them, yes, the things inside them they've already got.

Moral: The world always has both good and bad but we decide which one most influences our life.

The Humanity Project Store!

A screen capture of our new online store, which links with the “Store” page on this website

For at least the past ten years of our 13-year existence, the Humanity Project has wanted to run an online store. Until now, it wasn’t possible.

But today it’s not only possible, it’s a reality. The new Humanity Project Store, hosted by our partners at Cafe Press, offers a wide range of inspiring gift items with unique Humanity Project artwork on the front. You’ll find t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, bumper stickers, keychains, holiday ornaments, caps, even flip-flops. Click this link to go directly to the online Humanity Project Store!

A sizeable portion of every sale goes directly to our programs for children and parents. So you’re not only buying gifts that celebrate your values, you’re helping us to help many more kids and adults at the same time.

Cafe Press is known for its high-quality merchandise, great customer service, no-questions return policy and safe online purchasing. Once in our store, just click on an image to look through the broad variety of Humanity Project gift items. We are excited to add this new feature for our many Humanity Project supporters, sponsors, donors, friends and followers — and we think you’ll be impressed with the selections and one-of-a-kind designs. Please explore, shop and share the link with friends and family. We really appreciate it!

You Are Stardust

Hubble telescope image courtesy of NASA

How do you teach a young child concepts such as the importance of respect for every individual, the value of diversity and the need for self-worth? Ideas that even many adults couldn’t explain clearly …

At the Humanity Project, we teach through play: videos, music, games, roleplaying and more. Art inspires the emotion that helps concepts to stick in the mind. One of our arts-based ideas for teaching also is science-based. We show kids that among the many reasons each person deserves respect is this amazing fact: Most of the materials inside every human being are formed from stardust. Literally. Science knows that elements such as carbon, oxygen, iron and nearly everything else that makes up you and all of us can only be manufactured by the extreme temperatures created within stars.

That’s an extraordinary notion to learn — for kids and adults both. And so we suggest you check out our latest video, just posted on the Humanity Project YouTube channel. It is called simply, “You Are Stardust.” Watch the video!

It’s short, it’s engaging, it’s factual … and offers us one more way to connect with kids. It was made with help from our Humanity Club girls at Morrow Elementary, many of them appearing in the video. And now they will help us bring the video and a short talk about this topic to every student in their school, classroom by classroom. The goal is to encourage the entire student body to treat everyone in school with respect, part of our year-long Humanity Club project at Morrow. Kids teaching kids, kids helping kids … That’s what we do at the Humanity Project.

Imagine ...

Imagine… Imagine a diverse group of adults, all working toward the same goal of helping kids — entirely without pay of any kind. Imagine that these folks actually all get along, genuinely enjoy each other’s company, consider themselves an extended family. And imagine that they really do make a demonstrable difference in the life of thousands of children (and parents too) each year.

Welcome to the Humanity Project!

We think you can tell an awful lot about any organization by getting to know the people who do the work. So in this post, we’re offering some photos to show you a bit more of our team. These pics were taken at the mid-December Humanity Project Holiday Party, which we held for free at Insight for the Blind. (Our Board of Directors VP is Matt Corey, who is CEO of Insight for the Blind. Matt kindly offered his lovely offices for our party.) Take a look for yourself. You’ll get a better idea who we are at the Humanity Project. And don’t miss the below link to our video, which shows some of us singing our version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Imagine that …

Some Humanity Project Board of Directors and Leadership Council members (& friends) sing “Imagine.”

New Members Of Our Team

Welcome to the Humanity Project, Sasha Medvinsky and Victoria!

Meet our newest Leadership Council parent-child team.

Sasha was born and raised in Ukraine, leaving for Florida in 1992. She’s a registered nurse who manages Outpatient Services in the Pediatric Ambulatory Department of Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital. Her daughter, Victoria, is an honor roll student and a recognized leader in her school, often fundraising for causes that help children in need.

Of course, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital is a longtime sponsor of the Humanity Project. So we think Sasha’s involvement with the Humanity Project seems especially appropriate.

Our Leadership Council was formed several years ago to serve as an in-house consulting and creative group of parents who partner with their child, collectively offering guidance to make sure our programs become even more kid-friendly and parent-friendly too. Since then we’ve added key new members to that team. We know Sasha and Victoria will bring their experience and talents to our work now — and we’re grateful.

We think of the Humanity Project as a family: not only our Board of Directors and Leadership Council but also our great volunteers and the many students and teachers and administrators who work with us closely. Together, we help kids to help kids. Together, we really do make a difference.