diversity

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.

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!

Goodstock

You know about Woodstock, of course. Let us introduce you to Goodstock!

Exactly 50 years after the original three-day celebration of peace, love and music in the New York State countryside, the Humanity Project will hold our own festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It’s also a celebration of peace, love, music — and respect for every human being as well as humanity itself. We’re calling it, “Goodstock.” Or to be precise, “The Humanity Project Presents Goodstock.” The event begins at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 18, serving as an important fundraiser for our acclaimed free programs. If you’ll be in South Florida then, or can make your way here, please join us!

We’ve already got many bands lined up, offering a diverse assortment of musical styles. With more acts coming on board all the time. The cost will be $24 in advance, which is the same price charged for a three-day ticket to the original Woodstock festival in August 1969. We’ll be setting up a page on Eventbrite soon for you to grab your Goodstock tickets. At the door, guests will pay $30. But whether you buy in advance or day-of, you’ll also get a free drink at the delightful Kelly Brothers Irish Pub, which hosts live music regularly on their stage. They are putting on Goodstock at no charge … and we’re deeply appreciative. (Visit the Kelly Brothers website.) Plus, you’ll be able to buy a t-shirt with our cool Goodstock logo, which you see above.

We anticipate a big turnout, with lots of excellent music and warm relaxed fellowship. As one of our Humanity Project organizers for Goodstock wrote in a social media post, “This is going to be epic!” Thanks, David (and Laura, who sits on our Board of Directors). We’re pretty sure you’re right.

Or maybe we should just say, “Right on!”

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.”

Welcoming The World

Screen capture: Humanity Project website visitors

Just take a good look at that photo above -- it's a screen capture from December 19, 2017, two days ago as we post this blog. Or glance through a similar photo below, snapped only moments ago. These are representative pics that show us something new: We now know that people from all over the world regularly and frequently visit our Humanity Project website. 

Wow, how cool is that?! India, Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan, China, even Syria among many other countries whose citizens visit us. 

Yes, we've long understood that our reach is broad. Of course we connect with many folks in our own area here in South Florida and all over this state as well as around the United States and Canada. We also have heard from lots of people over the years from a variety of nations around the globe. But until now, we didn't know how many other people from Asia and Europe, from South America and Oceania/Australia and Africa use this Humanity Project website. A new analytics app from our friends at Squarespace, which hosts our site, shows that humans spread throughout the planet watch our videos, read our fables and blogs and other free writings. They listen to our music and check out our podcasts. They learn from our programs. The videos and fables especially are popular. 

 

This is exciting news to us. We've always envisioned the Humanity Project as an organization that could enable a broad range of people to help themselves through helping others. Our kids do this by helping other kids. Our Board of Directors, Leadership Council, members, donors, volunteers, supporters, social media followers -- all gain in some way or other through applying the shared value philosophy created by Humanity Project Founder, Bob Knotts. It's an empirically based concept grounded in solid psychology, the main idea being that individuals feel better about themselves by treating everyone else with unconditional respect. You can read more about shared value at this link: Read the Shared Value essay. 

But until now, we didn't know for sure that so many diverse populations derive so much inspiration and information from our free website. 

This is all we can say to each of you who read this, to everyone who visits and gains anything of value from the Humanity Project. Thank you! Thank you so much ... and welcome! We're so glad you're here. 

The Moral High Ground

Amid the violence and the hostile rhetoric, amid the disrespect and distortion of facts, the Humanity Project remains committed to our three core values: respect for all as well as the importance of diversity and self-worth. We teach these values to kids through our acclaimed programs, we work hard to practice them in daily life. But we see these values under attack. The United States is going through a highly challenging period just now. We have no doubt that in the end sane voices will be heard above the harsh din. We all will be okay. 

What seems more uncertain, though, is how long this attack will persist and how much suffering it will cause before greater respect prevails. As a nonpolitical and nonreligious organization by law, the Humanity Project is not preaching politics here. What we are doing is calling for everyone who shares our values to unite in a peaceful and yes respectful movement. Indeed, we have long felt that a movement of this type is needed worldwide -- a large group of people joined in a common call for respect as a foundation for meaningful dialogue, a solid base for improving our civilization. Fine groups and small movements of all kinds exist already, of course: They ask us to work together for compassion, for peace, for a better environment, for fair wages, for gender equality, for the right to love and marry whoever we choose. But surely underlying all those significant goals is a more basic prerequisite: respect. Respect for self, respect for all others. Without this, it's hard to make progress in other areas. 

With that in mind, then, we offer one more suggestion to those who might be sympathetic to a broad movement for respect. If these attacks on respect and decency continue for long in the U.S., we must consider a new approach in response. Nonviolence. No group that hopes to sway opinion within a modern society can hold the moral high ground by answering violence with rage or with more violence. No matter how understandable and justified such a response may feel. Gandhi, King and other great moral leaders -- they understood that nonviolence changes minds far more effectively than street battles ever can. We must as a nation, and as a world, find new ways to hold within us a fundamental respect for every human being. Even for those who want to harm us. That's not submission, not giving in. As history proves, it is the highest, most courageous and most persuasive form of resistance. 

The Transgender Experience

The butterfly seems a good place to begin ... The transition, the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly has represented many inspiring things to many people over the centuries. At the Humanity Project, we think it's a fine symbol of the transgender experience ... as it ought to be: Human beings changing for the better, finding ways to be more of who they are. 

Unfortunately, it's rarely that easy and uncomplicated. The Transgender Experience is our latest podcast and we encourage you to listen. We talk with Tatiana Williams and Arianna Lint, two transgender women who also are community activists -- and the discussion about the challenges of transgender life is frank, wide-ranging and moving. It's all part of the Humanity Project's mission to create programs and materials that advance our core values of respect, diversity and self-worth. Please take the time to learn more about the transgender experience by going to our podcast page and listening: Go to the Humanity Project Podcast.