Ridgewood High School Encourages Students to Find Their Happiness


Brian and Emily from Project Happiness lead an assembly of 900 students at Norridge High School

Ridgewood High School wants to see students happy.

Not a day without homework happy. Not ‘we’ve got a sub today’ happy. Not free pizza in the cafeteria happy. But really happy, exuding real and lasting happiness regardless of exterior factors.

Ridgewood officials are so committed to the effort that they spent several hours Oct. 25 working with students to identify true happiness. The effort included students viewing the award-winning film “Project Happiness,” which follows a senior high class from California on a journey to discover the true nature of human happiness.

Ridgewood also brought leaders of the national Project Happiness group to the school for the Oct. 25 program, hoping to reach students and get a Project Happiness Club started.

“It’s so simple and it can be so powerful,” Emily Crubaugh, Project Happiness educational director, said of youth using positive psychology, conflict resolution and mindfulness. “In just 28 days, four weeks, you can be up to 25 percent happier.”

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What Do We Do in the Face of Senseless Tragedy?

Last week, in Aurora, Colorado, we witnessed one of the largest tragedies of its kind in U.S. History. 12 people died and 57 were injured, and it leaves us wondering, WHY? What propels an individual to be so tortured to resort to mass murder of innocent people in a public place? And how do we cope with the aftermath – the sorrow, the trauma and the sense that you never know…

In an odd replay of fiction come to life, so many of the characters in the Batman movie are flat out insane – disconnected from their community, their own inner compass and their very hearts. It’s one thing to watch that on the screen and another to see it acted out in real life with real life consequences. But where do we draw the line?

There is no denying that we are all influenced by the people and the emotional atmosphere we are surrounded with, whether positive and uplifting or harmful and toxic. In Aurora, 70 people have suffered because one person was at the point of no return. Let’s be clear that there is NO excuse for harming anyone. The challenge is what can we do as individuals and communities to try to plant new seeds so this tragedy has less of a chance of erupting again. We can point fingers to one young man who was so sick that he became a mass murderer. But that will not solve the core of the problem. The call to action is for each of us to look at our own lives, attitudes, choices and actions. The question is: can we make any internal changes that can help, both for us and the next generation? From this tragedy of lost lives, hopes and dreams, here are 5 ideas worth considering:

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The New Project Happiness Film Trailer!

We are thrilled to debut the first of our film trailers for the Project Happiness film screening nationwide!  If you would like to schedule a screening in your area, contact Brian – brian@projecthappiness.com


Sneak Preview of Project Happiness in Los Angeles

The Interfaith Council at the University of Southern California will host a special preview screening of the documentary film “Project Happiness” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 19 at the Ray Stark Family Theatre in the George Lucas Building on the USC campus. The movie screening will be followed by a Q&A discussion featuring Project Happiness creator and executive producer Randy Taran and members of the USC Interfaith Student Council and moderated by Varun Soni, USC Dean of Religious Life. The event is free and open to the public.

The film focuses on ordinary young people leading us on an extraordinary journey to explore the nature of lasting happiness and end up starting a movement. Each student faces personal obstacles to happiness: loss, alienation and the everyday challenges of being a teenager passing into adulthood. Project Happiness introduces them to their peers in Nigeria and India and quickly leaves lectures and books behind. In addition to connecting with each other, the teens engage in conversations with cultural icons and at the end of their year together, the three groups converge in Dharamsala, India for a rare private interview with His Holiness, the Dalai Lama—an event that rocks their expectations, brings more questions than answers and marks a new chapter in their lives.

Among those featured in the film are: actor and activist Richard Gere; neuroscientist Dr. Richard Davidson; film director and educational luminary George Lucas; and His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. After viewing the film, George Lucas called Project Happiness “a wonderful film and a great achievement.” The film is produced by Randy Taran and directed by John Sorenson.

Want to join us for this special evening? Sign up for your free tickets through the USC Events page. If you would like to host a screening or request one in your area, contact Brian at Project Happiness – brian@projecthappiness.com.