The Happy Post Project will ask you one question only: What makes you happy? The GOOD Maker finalist globe-trots to collect answers on Post-It notes.
“What makes you happy?” For GOOD Maker’s “Stories for GOOD” finalist The Happy Post Project, this question acts as a springboard for all of its global movements, ranging from art displays at festivals, college campus visits, TEDx conferences, and man-on-the-street interviews.
Launched as “a social experiment to spread happiness,” Happy Post has individuals capture the joys in life—small to large—right onto the bright confines of a 3x3 Post-It note. The resulting 10,000 testaments of adoration, collected from more than 20 countries around the world, range from ice cream scoops to frog legs, TV shows to Tina Fey, sports team shout-outs to love notes. Scribbles, letters, doodles: all are welcome.
Through the Maker challenge, we asked the GOOD community to share how storytelling unites their community. While the project is all about spreading good cheer, Happy Post began in December 2010 from an unpleasant place in co-founder and Chief Happiness Officer Mario Chamorro’s life. The Colombia native immigrated to America with little English language skills and a resume that quickly filled up with waiting tables and parking cars.
Still, he became a success story, earning a master’s degree at Columbia University and landing a job at a Wall Street banking firm. His good fortune came to a screeching halt though, thanks to the financial crisis. He lost his job, broke up with his girlfriend, and was diagnosed with cancer. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Chamorro was able to turn his unfortunate life events into something positive. The question that he learned to carry in his heart was “What makes you happy?” and it has since fueled the Post-It projects that have brought smiles in 23 countries.
The Happy Post Project has been to Japan to help collect and spread positive messages of hope and happiness to Tsunami victims. In the Bronx, organizers paired up with artist Dan Paluska as part of the “This Side of Paradise” installation, in which Happy Post filled an entire room with Post-Its and invited visitors to add their thoughts.
The project has visited cities across the United States and set up an installation in landmarks like Times Square and Chicago's reflective Cloud Gate. The next project involves heading back to Chamarro’s roots in Colombia to in attempt to spread happiness to three communities affected by the nation’s ongoing civil conflict. The project has even received the stamp of approval from President Juan Manuel Santos.
“In our most recent trip back, we visited a hospital where injured soldiers were being treated,” says Community Manager Brett Chamberlin. “We were invited to come back and bring the project in some capacity. We’re taking Happy Post to conflict areas to spread happiness.”
The project in Colombia will serve as a pilot program of sorts, as The Happy Post transitions into a full-fledged organization called The Make it Happy Foundation, adding a mix of initiatives, artists, and entrepreneurs to further enhance the project’s impact. Future plans include visiting more conflict areas—the organization has received requests to visit Uganda and Gaza. If you’d like to set up a positive wall of Post-It goodness in your community, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and check out an assortment of Post-Its from around the world via Tumblr.
Photos courtesy of The Happy Post Project