Project Happiness (PH) teaches students the skills to build emotional resilience, self-awareness, and empathy. Informed by neuroscience, positive psychology, and mindfulness, PH “teaches kids to be happy and strong from the inside” and helps adults strengthen social and emotional skills as well, said founder Randy Taran.
Project Happiness was selected as an Early Entry Prize Winner of the Building Vibrant Communities: Activating Empathy to Create Change competition. For more about how Project Happiness teaches empathy skills, check out the project video.
Taran strongly believes that tackling the increasing levels of suicide, aggression, low self-esteem, and low-graduation rates among young people will require teaching students empathy skills and helping them strengthen these skills through practice.
"Bullying and the issue of empathy is not going to be solved by telling people what not to do,’” Taran said. “We have to address it at the root level. Individuals—whatever their age—would greatly benefit from the skill of self-awareness . . . it creates that pause between action, the trigger or stressor, and the reaction . . . it allows a person to consider and respond, rather than react, which promotes kindness and connectedness.”
A growing number of innovative schools across the United States are recognizing the importance of social and emotional learning for both student well being and academic success. Recently, a large scale study found that preschoolers who improved social and emotional skills were more likely to be engaged in learning.