February 2012 Newsletter


In This Issue

CineCause presents Project Happiness
CMIA Construction Resumes

Thanks to all of you!

Quick Links

Project Happiness welcomes Jill Pettegrew
As Project Coordinator, Jill acts as office manager, and manages the organization’s vast database of schools, volunteers, donors, and other friends of the project.

Jill comes to Project Happiness with over 15 years in non-profit experience ranging from healthcare to theatre to spiritual institutions. She holds a masters degree in counseling psychology with a specialty in somatics (mind/body), and is completing her training hours to become a licensed marriage and family therapist. Jill keeps a daily meditation and gratitude practice, co-facilitates women’s dance healing circles in the Bay Area, and has a long-standing massage therapy practice.
Film Screenings
Dalai Lama Films
The Project Happiness Film is screening worldwide. Here is a partial list of our upcoming events. If you would like to attend one of our events or would like to schedule a screening in your area, contact Brian Rusch – brian@projecthappiness.com

Santa Monica, CA – 10th
Santa Monica, CA – 12th
Kathmandu, Nepal – 23rd
Tehuacan, Mexico – 23rd
New York, NY – 27th
Sydney, Australia – 27th
New Greenwich, RI – 28th
Palo Alto, CA – 29th

Berkeley, CA – 8th
San Mateo, CA – 17th
Los Angeles, CA – 17th
Western Springs, IL – 20th
Palatine, IL – 23rd

U. of San Diego, CA – 10th

To keep up with the latest on all our events, be sure to check out the events page of our web site.

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our videos on YouTube
Agent of Happiness Spotlight: Rachel Pastiloff

We originally met Rachel Pastiloff via Twitter when she had tagged us in several of her Twitter posts about happiness.
As one of our team of guest bloggers on the Project Happiness site, Rachel brings honest, raw emotion to her posts and we love having her voice as a contributor.
Rachel lives in Atlanta with her husband and two young sons, ages 5 and 2 1/2. In 2009 Rachel’s oldest son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Prader-Willi Syndrome, with a diagnosis of autism to follow shortly after. The diagnosis was traumatic and forever altered the course of her life. Rachel has made it her mission to educate the world about children who have special needs and parents who raise children with special needs.
Between doctors appointments, therapy sessions, and the normal stuff everyday parents do, Rachel writes a blog – 3wordsfor365.com. Rachel and her sister Jennifer also run a charity called G.A.M.E. Yoga (www.gameyoga.org) that provides yoga for free to children with special needs. We are thrilled to have Rachel as an Agent of Happiness and are looking forward to many more contributions from her!

radiant heart

Sharing the Caring

Randy Taran
Randy Taran

Valentine’s Day is next week. What does it represent to you: commercial exploitation by the greeting card, flower and chocolate industries to make you buy more? Or can it be a reminder of the capacity for pervasive love that we all carry within? From the day we are born, we not only need love for biological survival; we constantly give and generate love. It is truly how we are wired. Who cannot remember a special interchange that stirred the heart and opened up a deeper level of feeling alive? Why wait till Valentine’s Day to reflect on this topic? Love is a powerful catalyst of connection and as we give it more expression, it expands.

While romantic love can stir the senses, hormones and take over our lives, I invite you to consider a caring type of love, where we show compassion to ourselves and also demonstrate caring to others. It does not have to be spectacular or showy; deeply authentic and consistent expression builds the trust that is a pillar of lasting happiness. Be there for yourself, and care about others – family, friends, humanity. We are all in this together and have more power than we know to shape our collective future.

With love to all,


Randy Taran

Founder, Project Happiness

CineCause Opening Night Celebration Featuring Project Happiness


Ask anyone what they want most out of life and here is the most popular answer: To be happy. But what does it really mean to be happy? Stress is at near epidemic proportions in our schools. Depression is on the rise, and our globalization is causing problems all over the world. So what are the keys to everlasting happiness?

CineCause is a dynamic new organization striving to showcase films with meaning and their first showcase is all about happiness! Project Happiness headlines three award-winning films that all address the question – what does it mean to be happy?

Tomorrow, Friday, February 10th is the opening night reception for this weekend of happiness! This red carpet event is at the Edgemar Theater in Santa Monica and brought to by by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Yes! Magazine and Whole Foods. It will feature a Happiness Town Hall with Project Happiness creator Randy Taran as well as one of the students who participated in the original film and several of our Agents of Happiness from Southern California will be making special appearances. It will be a night you won’t soon forget!

In addition to the Friday night event, Project Happiness is also the closing night film for the showcase on Sunday, February 12th. Members from the Project Happiness team will be on hand to answer questions following the screening.

Tickets to both of these events are still available. Visit http://happinessshowcase.eventbrite.com to get yours today!

Construction Resumes on Creative Minds International Academy

Emanuel with kids

Despite waves of violence over the last month, we are pleased to report that construction on the new 5-classroom block for Creative Minds International Academy is well underway in Nigeria. Now that the turmoil has settled somewhat, the foundation has been laid and Emanuel has reported that they hope to have everything completed and roofed by early March 2012 before the rains come.

This project is possible thanks to the contributions of people like you. Emanuel has been able to raise approximately $9000 for the building efforts. If you would like to make a contribution toward helping Creative Minds International Academy, email brian@projecthappiness.com.

Thanks for all of your support!


Project Happiness thrives thanks to the support of people like you! This year so many of you have made contributions of time, knowledge and of course, money.

The Project Happiness team has worked passionately with the help of so many wonderful volunteers to expand the work of our organization throughout the United States and the world and we are well positioned to make an even bigger impact in 2012.

If you would like to be a volunteer with the Project Happiness offices in California or if you would like to volunteer to help bring Project Happiness programs to your area, please contact Emily Crubaugh – emily@projecthappiness.com.

If you prefer to make a financial contribution, Project Happiness is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and your tax-deductible gift would help to provide cholarships to schools in underserved communities, widen access to our programs for students in the U.S. and abroad, and keep extending the impact of our social change.

Thanks again for being part of the movement!

About Us
Project Happiness, a 501(c)3 organization, specializes in emotional resilience-building programs that are used by people of any age and endorsed by public schools, private institutions and universities around the U.S. and the world. Our purpose is to provide proven techniques to cultivate one’s own authentic happiness.

Drawn from research in positive psychology and neuroscience, Project Happiness’ strength-based approach teaches vital social and emotional skills. Using books, film and educational programs, we’re empowering children, families and communities to create happier, more meaningful lives.