Happy House territory has expanded into the Northern California region. The first official remote Happy House chapter was just recently acknowledged at the Happy House Headquarters in Northridge.
The name of the new chapter located in San Jose is “Community United,” quite an appropriate name because its activities do just that, unite communities.
We all had the opportunity to meet face to face with Co-Directors Donna Stewart and Jan Nikitin, who flew in to meet with Nancy and other Happy House volunteers. The excitement mounted as they told us some of the great things that are already happening with this new chapter.
Because of Donna’s interest and desire to help children who have been abused and neglected Donna received her CASA (Certified Court Appointed Special Advocate) certification last year. Through her work as a CASA Donna saw first hand the need for a community program that could help “at-risk” youth and their parents.
Donna and Jan decided to form Community United with other interested volunteers to provide a vehicle to help families by using the information found in the book The Way to Happiness. They began by delivering “The Way to Happiness Course” (in Spanish) to parents who were members of a local neighborhood group. The parents expressed great success from this course:
The Way to Happiness seminar has been important for me because they are gold rules that if you put them in practice all around us we can prevent problems, be happy and affect others in a positive way. We can make a difference. C. B.
With this course basically I remember and reconfirm concepts that I forgotten and had learned as a child. I found answers to many questions that I have now. I cleared many doubts about things that I had confused in my mind. I gave two books of Way to Happiness to two people that I thought needed them and one of them showed a very positive personal change. I found and learned a better way to communicate and help children and how to be better citizens and better persons. Thank you, C. L.
This course of Way to Happiness helped me to learn how to live better with people. The themes are very important: “respect” is one of the primary themes to get better the family and how to be patient with children. To talk to our children about gangs, we have to give a good example: we shouldn’t fight with people, we need to look to live better with persons. Talk to our children about the consequences that come from bad behavior. Show them to respect the parents, and be good children, so they can be good parents in the future. Thank you very much, M.G.
Community United was also invited to join the City of San Jose Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force. This is an organization which consists of city groups, schools, churches, non-profits and community groups that offer programs to address the issues concerning gang-related crime and crime prevention.
Using a pilot version of the TWTH book written especially for youth, Community United next delivered a 6 week program to children ages 8-12. Fifteen to twenty children attended each week. Then a 7 week program was delivered to teens ages 12-17 with another 15-20 attendees each week. Key to the training is the use of TWTH PSA DVD which is included in the program. What lucky kids!
Their successes read as follows:
- To pursue a goal and you can accomplish it. Don’t do drugs, it could mess up your life. Treat people good like you would want to be treated. Be active and do the best choice you can make in your life. K.L.
- The thing I liked about the program is that people always came in to talk to us. They talked to us about their lives and what they changed about their lives. I liked the pizza and the staff of Good Choices. O.U.
- I learned to respect others and they will respect you the way you want to be respected. J.M
- I learned that to respect people and they will respect people the same and trust other people and they will trust you. A.O.
Things kept blossoming from there and Community United has participated in various community activities such as the First Annual Crime Prevention Summit, their district Councilman’s Annual Resource Fair, their Neighborhood Association’s Family Giving Tree Program, and the annual Spring Egg Hunt an event which made the front page of the San Jose Mercury News Sunday edition.
Community United is very interested in building better communities by helping to build better families. They have received a large amount of support from their city and its full speed ahead!
Keep up the good work. It’s an honor to have you on board and may your community flourish like never before!