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Service Spotlight: Anacortes Center for Happiness

The Pollination Project is an amazing nonprofit organization that gives $1,000 seed grants to worthy causes every single day. I am so grateful for the influence the group has had on my life and I’m especially grateful for the people it has brought into my life.

I recently joined three other grantees to work on a brand-new kindness initiative. On our first call together, I learned more about my cohorts’ projects and was inspired by their creativity and spirits.

Laura Lavigne is one of these people. I immediately felt connected to her mission and to her. Did I mention she did a TEDx talk about joy? Without further ado, allow me to introduce Laura Lavigne.

Liz: Let's start in traditional Smile Project fashion - give me a "Happiness is.."

Laura: For me, Happiness is enjoying my family to the max. On a more global scale, Happiness is being well where we are, with who are, including ourselves. In some way, it’s almost more an absence of (doubt, angst, confusion, pretending) than an extra of _______.

Liz: Tell me a little bit about the organization?

Laura: The organization is the Anacortes Center for Happiness. It is a Happiness-based community center that lives on the top floor of a 100 year old building, on our little island. We dwell happily in a 1100 sq foot Ballroom. From there, in addition to serving the local community, we also create and run global outreach projects, such as the Happiness Sprinkling Project, the Happy Café, Happy Ice Cream Day, the You Are LOVED Project, and the soon to be Global Gratitude Project.

It is mainly myself and as of a year and half ago, Maryn, my Happiness Coordinator. We have an informal team of volunteers that are super skilled at running any of these projects on a moment’s notice. Professionally, I also work with people one on one or in group, as a Happiness Coach. I write, I teach, I speak, and I take them on Happiness Retreats.

Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?

Laura: Joy. Ease. The belief that Joy is the fuel to keeping on going, to sharing more of it, to making life easier and sweeter for each other. Wanting to bring more and more of this to people’s lives. Reminding them that it does not have to always be hard.

Liz: What does "service" mean to you?

Laura: Taking my own resources and throwing them in the big bubbling pot of whatever may be needed, in a way that gives to me as well.

Liz: How can people get involved?

Laura: People can host Happiness Sprinklings, apply to become Gratitude Ambassadors by emailing us or donating to our work.

Liz: Anything else you'd like to add?

Laura: We all have the Super Power to make each other’s day a bit sweeter. I wrote about that in my book You Sprinkle Happiness!

Liz: What's your favorite quote?

Laura: “I know there is bad out there. And I look for the good.” -Alice Sommer Hertz.

I am so excited to begin this journey with Laura and learn more about her work and how we can collaborate to better the world through Happiness. I highly encourage you to check out her projects or listen to her TED Talk.

Bonus Question:

Liz: Do you have a last piece of advice?

Laura: My piece of advice is to remember that we are powerful and that just one smile can make a huge change in someone’s life - and then ripples so very far.

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