Downtown Tucson will Celebrate Community Happiness this Weekend

March 19, 2015

Happiness spreaders will be out for the International Day of Happiness.

By Cristina Manos

Anita Fonte was on to a trend well before it became an international “thing.” This amazing trend – spreading happiness to the community, is something that Tucson got an early start on thanks to Do Happy Today.

Do Happy Today is a cooperative, volunteer run community happiness collaboration born from Fonte’s earlier project and business, Community Renaissance. The idea for a happiness collaboration, and the actions toward an organized effort to boost happiness in Tucson, came through the vision of Fonte during her time at Community Renaissance, which is a locally owned business that specializes in community development. Fonte saw the potential for a movement to inspire personal and local happiness, and she went for it.

By interacting with, and sharing this happiness vision with others in the community, Do Happy Today was born in July of 2014. The goal is to increase Arizona’s rating on the Gross National Happiness Index. There’s no better place than Tucson to collaborate and lead our state to happiness for all of Arizona’s communities. Do Happy Today has a goal of working to get Arizona into the top ten states that are most happy.

It’s a curious concept, that of promoting and spreading happiness and taking measurements to see if the efforts are working. The good news for Arizona is that it ranked higher on the happiness scale in 2014 than in 2013. In 2014 Arizona ranked 20th out of 50 states, up from 31st in 2013. It’s a trend indicator, and Arizona is apparently on the rise and well on the way to being a happier state.

Do Happy Today sets out to increase happiness in Tucson by promoting community involvement, promoting equitable and sustainable socio-economic development, conserving the natural environment, and establishing good governance. Do Happy Today has been made possible by the benevolent financing of Casa Libre. Do Happy Today’s primary objective is to bring people together through activities, events and connection to resources that increase happiness.

Anita Fonte, left, wants to raise Arizona on the Gross National Happiness Index.

Downtown Tucson will have a chance to see Do Happy Today in action this weekend starting at 11:45 on March 20, at Jacome Plaza at the corner of Stone and Pennington as the Tucson community participates for the first time in a local event to celebrate the International Day of Happiness.

A proclamation by Tucson’s own Mayor Jonathan Rothschild will kick off the weekend event. Following the speech is one of the most nurturing activities – sharing food with your community. A community lunch with seats for 50 guests will start at noon and will be catered by Truck 54/Café 54. The luncheon will end with an activity called “planting seeds of happiness” through the help of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona and Civano Nursery.

There are dance and music performances in the plaza after lunch by Dancing in the Streets and The Napskippers. There’s an interactive art event headed by David Kish, who is known for three-dimensional sculptures with focus on marginalized populations, and afternoon workshops in the Children’s Meeting Room at the Joel D. Valdez Library for the public to enjoy.

All ages workshops from 1:30 to 4 p.m. will include feng shui, laughter yoga, ballet, making animal balloons, Hooplaville poster coloring and desert animal crafts. For details, visit www.facebook.com/dohappytoday.

How will you Do Happy Today?

The celebration continues 5, closing at the Maker House, a Do Happy Today designated Happy Café. Even though the Maker House is set to close, it’s still a meeting place and will still be a venue involved in this happy event.

With the Pima County Public Library, Joel D. Valdez Branch, Do Happy Today will offer free movies. Saturday afternoon from 1 to 3pm there will being a showing of the movie “Happy Feet” for children. On Sunday afternoon, the documentary “Happy,” for ages 16 years and older will be featured from 2 to 4pm. Movie showings will include a brief session on creating a gratitude collage/journal.

Members of the community have partnered with Do Happy Today to make this event a true collaboration. Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort is offering a 10 percent discount on March 20, with the mentioning of “Do Happy Today” as diners enter the Terraza Garden Patio and Lounge.

Ward 3 has organized several Do Happy Today events: Rillito Bend Neighborhood is planting Trees for Tucson, Samos Neighborhood is having a Happy Neighborhood Party 3/21, and special Do Happy Today adoptions are offered 3/20-22 at the Tucson Humane Society and Pima Animal Control Center.

This weekend is your opportunity to see what happiness in Tucson is all about. It’s a chance to see this kind of effort in action and it’s a benevolent way to become involved in your community and in the ability to spread and grow happiness throughout Tucson, and all of Arizona.

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