As Creative Tampa Bay prepares to relaunch their 10/100/1000 contest, I caught up with Carissa Caricato, last year’s finalist from Hoola for Happiness to see what the group has been up to in the past year.
The project started as the charitable initiative of Hoola Monsters, a local organization that provides hoola dancing instruction and performances, but it has grown into so much more. Hoola for Happiness is not only spreading joy through events, but creating a social movement through laughter, play and a sense of community.
After the publicity received from of being a finalist in our contest, Carissa, the group’s founder and organizer decided to quit her job to focus on Hoola for Happiness on a full time basis.
“To take hoops around the world and spread joy was my dream from July 2010, but God opened that door a whole year later to leave my job and make it a reality. It was definitely encouraging to have community support and awareness of this idea through outlets like Creative Tampa Bay and Creative Loafing. The outpouring of support I received both verbally and monetarily came quickly after the announcement of the finalists, adding legitimacy to our ideas!” comments Carissa.
The group is now an official non-profit entity, and they have traveled the world to places such as Kenya, Uganda, London, Camboria, Haiti, Liberia, Brazil, Cuba and Dubai. They’re also helping the homeless through partnerships with Feeding Children Everywhere, Hope Children’s Home and Metropolitan Ministries.
For future plans, they plan to continue to spread the joy on a global level. They will also begin teaching hooping classes in South Tampa soon, and have launched a new “Hoola for life” benefit line.
For more information, visit: http://hoolaforhappiness.org.
by: Megan Hendricks, buzz editor
source: Carissa Caricato
Also published in Creative Tampa Bay’s buzz, 2.15.12