The Way to Happiness

W
ith the publication of The Way to Happiness in 1981, came an immediate and considerable popular response. In the main, distribution is accomplished through sponsorship and coordination with The Way to Happiness Foundation in Los Angeles. Typically, copies of the booklets are donated in bundles of twelve on behalf of schools, civic bodies, youth groups, social service agencies, police and military organizations. Of particular note is the Concerned Businessmen’s Association of America (CBAA), a nonprofit, charitable organization dedicated to educational concerns. Through CBAA efforts, more than six million copies of The Way to Happiness have been placed in the hands of schoolchildren, and two highly successful national campaigns have been launched. The first involves a contest wherein students are asked to demonstrate how they use the precept "Set a Good Example," while a second contest requires entire schools to "Get Drugs off School Grounds."

Those who would imagine such contests might fall flat in this age of cynicism and cool violence are mistaken. To date, over five million students in nearly eight thousand elementary, junior high and high schools have participated in the program; while more recently, another 96,000 students submitted entries for The Way to Happiness essay competition in but a two-month period. Nor are we speaking of only students from statistically less troubled neighborhoods. For example: After copies of the booklet were distributed to south-central Los Angeles schools, members of the notoriously violent Crips gang actually took it upon themselves to organize their own "Safeguard and Improve Your Environment" campaign. Thereafter, gang members were seen removing graffiti from 130 neighborhood buildings, while encouraging the distribution of yet more copies. Similarly, The Way to Happiness distribution in East Los Angeles neighborhoods inspired the spontaneous formation of soccer and basketball teams among previously feuding youths, while gang-related homicides in adjoining Hispanic neighborhoods fell from 351 to zero. It is not for nothing, then, the booklet has been described as a veritable "godsend" by inner-city community leaders, and the single most dramatic catalyst for moral resurgence they had ever witnessed.


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