Project Happiness comes to Township


Sophomore Krishna Chinnasamy holds up a Project Happiness logo. Photo courtesy of Chinnasamy

Dora Betts

A new educational initiative called Project Happiness is now being utilized as part of the high school’s plan to focus on students’ social-emotional health during the coronavirus pandemic.

Project Happiness is a pro-purpose non-profit organization with the aim of promoting the social and emotional well-being of both students and adults. Having begun over ten years ago by CEO Randy Taharan, the project has amassed a large following, including millions of followers on their Facebook and hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram. The project’s educational curriculum, available in just over 120 countries, has now been applied in the high school with the help of the project’s Head Ambassador and MT Sophomore Krishna Chinnasamy. 

Chinnasamy’s own emotional and mental struggles in school along with his immense test anxiety acted as a catalyst for his involvement in the project: “I wanted to have a coping measure or a way to change my outlook on tests. Reading a lot of [Project Happiness] articles, getting their daily quotes to my email, and following them on my Instagram all helped in a way,” Chinnasamy says. 

After becoming an ambassador and having many Zoom calls with Taharan, Chinnasamy connected with Mrs. Ziegler, the high school’s college and career counselor. While planning for Freshman Academy last year, some of the school counselors began to explore topics that would promote success among students in and out of high school. When the school closed in March and challenges related to COVID-19 began to arise, the department adjusted plans for advisory and instead tried to focus on topics that would help students’ social-emotional health. 

As part of this initiative, Chinnasamy and Mrs. Ziegler have worked together to utilize the organization’s educational curriculum by including projects and prompting discussion regarding mental health during advisory periods. The curriculum incorporates Social Emotional Learning and is based on the science behind happiness. Its aims are to teach young adults how to manage their emotions, reduce stress, develop empathy, and more. This past fall, students were asked to investigate their strengths and explore the benefits of gratitude.

We know that when students’ social-emotional needs are met, they are in the best position to learn and grow. We hope that by spending some time on these topics we can help set students up for success in school and in their personal and work lives,” said Mrs. Ziegler. 

Chinnasamy is currently working with other administrators and counselors in the school district to apply a similar educational curriculum in MTMS, Landis Run, and elementary schools in the district. He hopes to accomplish this by the end of the school year and begin to expand to other school districts across the region. 

While Project Happiness is currently being used as a valuable resource, it will have the chance to be evaluated and approved by the school board for its implementation into the MT educational curriculum. 

“It’s always a right day to make someone happy and I feel like Project Happiness does it the best,” said Chinnasamy.