My name is Gabby Lowen-Favreau, and I am one of the Reps for Happy Human Project. I am a third-year student at Dalhousie University with a major in sociology and minor in entrepreneurship and innovation. Throughout my degree I have taken part in various Dalhousie clubs, but it has been challenging to locate programs that focused on the Halifax community outside of the student population. My experience as a student at Dalhousie has been changed by engaging beyond the Dalhousie community through the program RISE by Apathy Is Boring.
I am originally from Toronto, Ontario so moving to Halifax was a big step. It was really hard to leave my family and friends. My first semester at Dalhousie was the last normal one before COVID-19 started, which meant I was able to somewhat ground myself in the Dalhousie community through classes, friends and clubs. Once the pandemic hit, it led me to spend most of my time inside with my roommates in an isolation bubble. I found it hard to stay motivated to do anything beyond schoolwork, as many people did. After spending three semesters online, inside and isolated I wanted to do something that would reconnect me with the outside world. I was unmotivated and nervous to do this seeing as I’d spent so much time inside and with the same people. After a lot of procrastination and overthinking, I finally forced myself to apply to a variety of jobs and organizations that are community-based. After hearing back from a few of the organizations I decided to join Halifax RISE by Apathy is Boring.
RISE is a program that is both youth-run and youth-targeted. It is focused on community engagement and resilience in cities. RISE has programs across Canada and runs projects for six-month periods. It is a volunteer position that anyone between the ages of 18-30 years old can apply for and no specific experience is necessary. Each six-month period is called a cohort, and within that time period, the cohort is responsible for developing a community-based project. The cohort can choose to take their project in any direction as long as it is filling the needs of a selected demographic of youth in their area. The cohort meets every week for three hours and then usually has additional work to do outside of that. The cohorts run for six months and throughout that time they go through the phases of planning and developing their project.
My cohort is working on a project that is targeted towards local artists called Learning to Become (Works of Art). This project is going to be a half-day event that will have public speakers for the purpose of teaching artists practical skills, such as how to apply for grants, file taxes, and build a resume. We conducted focus groups and used surveys as a way to understand and learn about artists’ practical resource needs in Halifax. Once we understood the demand, we began planning our event and delegating tasks. One thing I have really enjoyed about the planning process has been my ability to learn new skills and push myself to do things I wouldn’t usually do. After so long in isolation, I was nervous to lead a focus group; I had never done it before, but I felt very supported by the rest of my cohort and we all worked together to create a script and make sure everyone felt comfortable. The next six weeks of our project will involve marketing, budgeting, administrating and community outreach. All of those skills we will be learning together as a cohort with the support of Apathy Is Boring.
Being a student can feel like a bubble; sometimes I go weeks without leaving the campus or student neighbourhood. It can start to feel like the Dalhousie community is the only part of Halifax when you are a student, and that can feel overwhelming. I really enjoy being able to leave my house and regular social circle every week to meet up with my cohort. It has helped me to connect with people who aren’t students and have chances to talk with them about their jobs, family and life. It has honestly become a highlight of my week; it makes me feel grounded and reminds me that there is still a lot more to Halifax and life than school. I know how hard it can be to join something no matter what it is. I still get overwhelmed sometimes, but it is so worth it.
Our event Learning To Become (Works Of Art) Is still in the development stages, but it should be happening the first week of June. You can follow our Instagram @aisbrise_hfx to stay updated and applications are open for Cohort 10 which you can find at this link: https://www.apathyisboring.com/joinrise.
My name is Mallory Chislett, I am the VP of Engagement at Happy Human Project. I am very happy to be sharing my story with you in hopes of bringing awareness to the disease that I was diagnosed with, suffered through, and continue to battle today. In December 2021, I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis after suffering the effects of the disease for over a year. While I felt relief in knowing that with a diagnosis comes treatment, I also knew this was just the beginning of a journey I would be dealing with the rest of my life, and with that came a lot of fear and uncertainty.
January was a great start to 2022, and Happy Human Project kept the momentum rolling right into February!
Our team kicked off the month by introducing the world to our newest addition, the Self Love Candle. Not only was this rose and vanilla soy wax candle amazing to smell, all the profits went directly to Adsum for Women and Children, a local women & children's shelter that provides immeasurable resources and support for our local community. Our candles were met with great support, and were sold out in just four days. Happy Human Project was proud to announce our donation of $200 to Adsum to help support their incredible work.
Next, in honour of Random Act of Kindness Day, we launched our next initiative, Random Act of Kindness Postcards! These postcards are available for purchase on our Shop, and can be sent to a recipient of your choice. You write the message, and we deliver it! All proceeds go towards Kids Help Phone, an organization that provides e-mental health support to many nationwide. Shop today!
Then, Happy Human Project held our first Happy Human Open House to discuss the future of Happy Human Project with our growing community. It was a pleasure for our team to meet with our general members and chat about what initiatives and events they would like to see created in the near future as we plan ahead.
To conclude the month, Happy Human Project collaborated with Jack.org to host a special mental health Jack Talk! This event was a great opportunity to share an introductory level of mental health knowledge, resources and aid at a time when this knowledge is needed most with COVID-19. Thank you, Jack.org, again for assisting with this incredible chat!
We look forward to sharing March's updates soon! Keep an eye out on social media for continued announcements.
Time to kick off 2022! Our team began the year with a heavy emphasis on mental health. As lockdowns began again across the country, our team advocated for ways to protect mental health and show our daily lives in our new "Day In The Life" videos that we share weekly on Wellness Wednesday! Check them out on Instagram.
Then, on Bell Let's Talk Day, we shared tips for helping end stigma surrounding mental health. In addition, Aidan Bonner (Founder & President), Mallory Chislett (Vice President) and Victoria Davis (Events & Initiatives Director) hosted an Instagram Live event with mental health advocate and author, Hailey Rodgers, for an incredible conversation surrounding mental health. You can watch the replay on our Instagram!
To close out the month we began our next initiative, Kindness Cards. Kindness Cards asked our community to send in messages of kindness to be handwritten on postcards and sent to seniors. This initiative was a smashing success and we can't wait to get the postcards in the hands of seniors in our communuity.
Thanks for a great start to the year! See you next month.
December, as always, is an extremely busy time for all students on campus, with classes and exams in full-swing! Happy Human Project announced an event in early December, to help students unwind! "Candles and Cookies: A Holiday Pop-Up Event" was held on December 3rd, and invited students to buy our new Self Care candle, with all profits going to Feed Nova Scotia, and decorate delicious cookies alongside refreshments, thanks to our community sponsors, Sobeys and Red Bull!
In just a few days, our candles completely sold out! We raised a total of $300 for Feed Nova Scotia, just in time for the holiday season, where food banks typically run dry. It was an incredibly successful event, and a great way to finish off the semester! Thank you to our incredible campus, community and supporters nationwide for your support. We cannot wait to show you what we have planned in 2022!
We began November, promoting the importance of Movember! We started early November promoting our Movie Night for Movember, that occurred on November 17th. Movie Night for Movember was a great success, where many students came to watch a screening of classic film 'Mean Girls', all while enjoying snacks and drinks, thanks to our community sponsors, Red Bull and Prime Student. In one night, we were able to raise over $215 to support Movember and their incredible causes.
To conclude November, we introduced our community to the new addition to our Shop; the 'Self Care Candle' in collaboration with Drift Studios. To read more about this exciting addition to our shop, read up on our upcoming December 2021 update!
Recently, Aidan Bonner, Founder and President of Happy Human Project, joined the See Me Show, hosted by Hailey Rodgers, to chat about the power of authentic community and how this idea correlates with the mission of Happy Human Project! Aidan and Hailey chatted about what authentic communities are, the kinds of communities you can get involved in, how to go about finding authentic people and communities, and much more! Be sure to check out See Me Show, and to listen to the entire episode, click the button below.
After a momentous first few months as an organization, Aidan Bonner, Founder and President of Happy Human Project was asked to sit down with Dalhousie News to chat about its already strong impact on our campus and our greater community. Aidan chatted with Dal News journalist, Miles Anderson, about the creation of our movement, what we have done, where we are headed, and how students and community members can help us by getting involved! To read the entire article, click the button below.
We kicked off October by reflecting on the effects of mental illnesses and sharing important statistics on our social medias in light of Mental Illness Awareness Week. We also shared some important resources including helplines, educational pages and websites that those interested can check out. Next, we held our first in-person event, Gratitude & Goodies, where our community contributed to a collage of sticky notes sharing what they were grateful for. And of course, those who contributed were able to grab a cookie, candy and some Red Bull. Thank you to our sponsors, Prime Student for helping with the event, Red Bull for supplying "wings", Skullcandy for giving away a pair of headphones, 3M and Avery for supplying the team with sticky notes and supplies for the event! Be sure to check out the photos of the event below. To close off October, we recognized Spirit Day, a day that celebrates standing up against LGBTQ+ youth bullying and harassment. Our team was proud to stand with LGBTQ+ youth on Spirit Day and as always, continue to be an ally on campus and in the community. For more information on spirit day check out glaad.com/spiritday.
September brings back to school season! Our executive team put together an incredible list of tips for our new First Years at Dalhousie University, including studying tips, ways to take care of yourself and more.
September also brought a federal election to Canada! We shared a guide full of important resources on voting, dates to keep in mind, stances of party leaders, ways to vote, to our primarily first-time voting community! We also exercised our right by heading to the polls as a team, right here on campus. Our team was also present at the Society Fair! We got to talk to hundreds of students and shared our values and in the process, hit an incredible milestone: 100 members on our team! Finally, to wrap up September, our team participated in Autism Nova Scotia’s Walk Your Way fundraiser! Through our walking and sharing of the incredible work that Autism Nova Scotia does, we were able to raise $300.00. Thanks everyone for your support!