Hoola for Happiness – laughter, play and fun!

15 Jun

Creative Tampa Bay’s 10/100/1000 Challenge finalist, Hoola for Happiness (H4H) hopes to bring joy to the world through hooping!

The project is the charitable initiative of Hoola Monsters, a local organization that provides hoola dancing instruction and performances. Using the motto: “Start Local, Go Global,” Hoola for Happiness is spreading joy, one hoop at a time through workshops and events. The events are hosted on the local and global level with both youth and adults, creating a social movement through laughter, play and a sense  of community. They have brought hoops to the homeless and even traveled to Haiti on mission trips. Their next trip will be to Uganda in July.

Carissa Caricato, who also works at the Crisis Center for Tampa Bay, is H4H’s founder. She first got involved in hooping while taking classes at Hoola Monster’s South Tampa location. Abby Albaum from Hoola Monsters was her teacher and inspiration. Abby left her marketing career to follow her passion for hooping and creating positive change in the world. It was at Hoola Monsters that Carissa learned about the “travel hoop” and decided to blend her new found love for hopping with her passion for missions work in local areas and developing countries. She took some travel hoops with her to Haiti in December 2009, and since then the project has taken off both globally and locally through many nonprofit collaborations. It’s the synergy of these partnerships that keeps H4H going!

The project’s goal is to create a community-focused social movement through play and laughter. The hoola hoop is simply a tool to build that community; it is a playful conversation starter. Hooping is an emerging art form that allows people to embrace creativity in movement and dance with freedom. H4H plans to grow by hosting community “hoop jams” in local parks to get people moving and laughing. They are also planning more workshops in at-risk neighborhoods to spread the joy of hooping to children. They will donate hoops to local nonprofits and recreation centers, and are starting a youth advisory council to host mini fundraisers so they can send even more hoops around the world. The fundraisers will also provide scholarships for teens to go on mission trips with hoops.

H4H will be partnering with REALM to host Saturday morning Community Hoop James the downtown Tampa Curtis Hixon Park. For more information, visit:  www.HoolaforHappiness.com and like Hoola for Happiness onFacebook.

by: Megan Hendricks
Buzz editor, Creative Tampa Bay
Source: Carissa Caricato, Hoola for Happiness
Also published in Creative Tampa Bay’s Buzz, June 15, 2011

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