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Chester County Press

Kennett Y Promotes Happiness Through Ongoing Project

02/26/2015 10:10AM ● By Kevin

Put a smile on, Kennett Square! By elevating the happiness and well-being of our community through education, healthy living, and social connections, the Kennett YMCA has created "The Community Happiness Project." Chairperson Nancy Pia, along with "an amazing group of dedicated volunteers," focus on taking action through these steps. 

The Kennett YMCA was selected as one of the few YMCA’s in the country to run a pilot program called “Togetherhood,” Pia said. "Togetherhood" is the YMCA’s signature program for social responsibility. The program, which started in Kennett in November 2014, invites Y members to lead and participate in volunteer service projects that benefit the communities where they live.    

"Our goal with these projects is to make a sustainable impact for all community members," Pia said.

The Community Happiness Project has its on Facebook page, where residents and neighbors can stay up to date with the activities of the project. The Kennett YMCA website and Historic Kennett website also provide information.

The group has already completed a few projects, including:

Happy Thanksgiving - November 21

"There is scientific evidence showing that gratitude dramatically changes brain chemistry leading to a more peaceful mind, healthy body, and happy spirit.

"It is most fitting that we kick-off our Community Happiness Project during this season of Thanksgiving with a 10 day Gratitude Challenge.  Beginning on November 21 we ask everyone to post on our Facebook page three things they are most grateful for each day. No gratitude can be too small. Our FB page will include recommended books and videos, inspiring quotes, and happy pictures."

Happy Holidays - December 14

"Music, dancing, singing, Santa, gifts, healthy appetizers with take-home recipes and more… bringing  joy and holiday spirit to our YMCA children."

Happy New Year - January 1

"In order to be truly happy, the best resolution you can make for the new year is to do something that will benefit others. 108 turkeys provided by  Kaolin Mushroom Farms will be distributed by CHP volunteers to the Kennett Food Cupboard.  This food will be delivered to those less fortunate families  in our community."

Spreading Happiness - January 8

"Valerie Alexander, highly sought after speaker and author of the Amazon #1 best seller 'Happiness as a Second Language:  A Guidebook to Achieving Lasting, Permanent Happiness,' and the forthcoming book, 'Success as a Second Language: A Guidebook for Defining and Achieving Personal Success,' will share her insight on how to expand your happiness and well-being." 

Happiness Book Club - January 8

"This first class will be led in person by author, Valerie Alexander.  The remaining sessions (up to 10 available) will be co-hosted by the group leader and Valerie Alexander who will be skyped in from California.  The remaining classes will be held in the evening."

Happy Valentine’s Day   February 6 - 14 

"Happy Art - Artists will visit the Kennett Senior Center and assist the seniors in expressing  love and beauty through creative works of art. This program will continue throughout the year and at various locations."

Upcoming projects include: 

Happy Birthday - March 2

"The CHP will partner with the Kennett Square Preschool Cooperative  and participate in the celebration of Dr. Seuss’s Birthday with the Cat in the Hat on March 2.  The Cat will read the widely popular Dr. Seuss book, Fox in Socks. The children and their families, will donate fun, happy socks and put them into a class basket. Our CHP volunteers will also donate socks to the basket and will deliver the gift basket to the  A I DuPont Hospital for children on March 20 -  International Happiness Day."

Happy Food - March 6

"Partnering with the Unionville Elementary School, the Nutrition Magician will appear and teach a fun-filled presentation on healthy foods that make your body happy.  We will have dancing fruits and vegetables, and healthy food sampling. During the month of March, being National Nutrition Month, a dietician will be reporting throughout the month  via tv monitor healthy ideas for snacking and lunches. Teachers and parent volunteers will follow up with lessons, posters, and recipe hand-outs.  The cafeteria will also take an active part."

International Happiness Day - March 20

"400 take-out boxes have been generously donated to Unionville Elementary School from Catherine’s Restaurant in Unionville.  The children will take these home, decorate them and on March 20, International Happiness Day, all 400 children will be challenged to fill their special boxes with healthy happy foods and bring them for lunch.

"A variety of events will take place throughout the community on this day, as well.

"FREE Laughing Yoga, Meditation, Happy Hour, Happy music, films, and  art, high-five’s, free hugs, paying-it-forward in coffee shops, school activities, library happy stories, etc."

Happy Foods Community Garden - April

"Partnering with Kaolin Mushroom Farms, education and assistance will be provided for a community garden for the employees. A generous portion of the harvest will go back into the community to serve those in need."

Happy Days /Lacrosse  Game - May  

"Rival teams - Kennett/Unionville Girls Lacrosse  -will randomly be assigned to team A or team B so girls can play a competitive game with both Kennett and Unionville girls on the same team focusing on cooperation and friendship. They will also take up a collection for needy pets and donate to a local shelter.  (National pet week is first week of May)."

Pia also shared that there is a serious global movement going on right now prioritizing happiness and well-being and is gaining a strong momentum every day. The United Nations declared March 20 as International Happiness Day which is celebrated around the world which a variety of activities. 

"I suggest you check this out to get a better understanding of all the events worldwide," she said. "Nations around the world are gradually introducing happiness and well-being as an important part of sustainable development."

Locally, the response from the community has been overwhelming, Pia said, and more people want to get involved progressively.

"Who could be against happiness?”  Pia said.

The above photo gallery includes photos from author Valerie Alexander's speaking event to a sold out crowd of more than 150 people at Church of the Advent. Also included is Community Happiness Project volunteers partnering with Kaolin Mushroom Farms to distribute 108 turkeys for the new year. The rest of the photos are from the Happy Holidays Event held at the Y. Healthy treats only were  served along with handout recipes. Music, Santa, gifts etc. All photos courtesy of Nancy Pia.