The Smile Project Ambassador Program is your opportunity to be part of a collective movement for joy. We believe that simple changes make a big difference and we know that when we are at our best, we have more to give to our loved ones and our communities. By joining the Ambassador Program, you are embracing the challenge to look for the good each day and to encourage others to do the same. Learn more or sign up today at the-smile-project.com/ambassador.
We are so proud of the folks that make up the ambassador program. Today, we are thrilled to feature one of our founding ambassadors, Ariana Scott, who started recording “Happiness is” on June 6, 2017. This is her story.
Liz: Let's start in traditional Smile Project fashion. Give us a favorite "Happiness is.”
Ariana: May 4, 2021, Day 1271: Happiness is ... stumbling upon friends on a gloomy day.
Liz: Tell us a little about yourself.
Ariana: I am 21-years-old from Leechburg, PA. I go to Seton Hill University and study political science and sociology. After my education, I hope to work in some realm of international relations and human rights. I absolutely love school and what I am studying—it's kind of nerdy but that's a big part of my life. What's even nerdier is that I'm heavily involved in my school's Model United Nations (we're really good at what we do and I absolutely adore the people on my team!) When I'm not at school, I teach gymnastics to children and adults and try to spend as much time with my dogs as possible.
Liz: How did you get involved with The Smile Project/What made you start writing daily Happiness is?
Ariana: When I was in high school I attended RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award camp) and Liz (founder of The Smile Project) was my counselor. Shout out to Group L! On the last day of camp, Liz gave all her kids the same type of notebook she uses for her Happiness is. I wrote my first joy that day and haven't stopped since.
Liz: How has recording daily joy impacted your life?
Ariana: Writing my daily joy has gotten me through a lot, especially living through a pandemic. Being able to take a few moments to recognize the greatest happiness of my day completely altered my mindset. We all know the saying "Every day might not be good, but there is good in every day" and that is essentially what daily joy journaling is. I believe that we must find joy and peace within ourselves before we can start spreading them to others—it's the truest form of self-care. By sitting down at the end of the day and writing my daily joys I am finding the happiness within myself to in turn be kinder to others.
Liz: Do you have a favorite quote or piece of advice that keeps you grounded or inspired?
Ariana: My biggest advice is to be radically empathetic. Be empathetic to each person, thing, and character you come across. Most importantly, be empathetic to yourself. We live in a world where people have strong opinions about everything—this is easily upsetting. Being empathetic to people, things, and parts of ourselves that bother us doesn't mean we agree with them; it simply helps understand where they are coming from. Empathy can change your life.
Liz: What didn't we ask you that you'd like to share with us?
Ariana: The Smile Project really changed the way I live my life and I am so grateful for everything Liz does! Thank you so much for teaching me your ways and spreading so much kindness and joy every day. Keep up the incredibly important work!