Over the last one-and-half years Jaipuria Institute of Management, Noida has opened our eyes to a world of opportunities. On the 8th and 9th of December, Jaipuria Noida made us realize that entrepreneurship is something more than making money; it is the chance of being happy for life.
Carissa Caricato (from Hoola for Happiness) came toJaipuria Institute of Management, Noida,all the way from California USA, on the 8th of December 2012. She came along with Sarah Page, her partner, and Elizabeth Carter, a student of International Relations from Rollins College, Orlando.Over the next two days Carissa taught us how to hoola-hoop. Who would’ve ever thought that hoola hoop could be a way of spreading joy and happiness? She also explained how her organisationHoola for Happiness,founded in July 2010, was bringing a smile to the less fortunate, orphans, and homeless. Carissa inspired all of us at Jaipuria Institute of Management,Noida to spread joy through our skills and knowledge.
Prior to starting Hoola for Happiness Carissa was the Marketing Director at Crisis Centre of Tampa Bay for nearly three-and-a-half years. After college Clarissa had visited Haiti in 2009, a country near United States, on a mission trip where she hooped with underprivileged kids and orphans. Now Hoola Hoop is a simple sport that involves a toy hoop that is twirled around the waist, limbs or neck. She realized thatthe kids enjoyed hoola hooping very much. When she came back to Florida from Haiti, she started taking Hoola dance classes. It was simply for exercise and fun, and did not involve any community activity initially.After that, she went back to Haiti numerous times, especially after the devastating earthquake of 2010 that left three hundred thousand dead and millions homeless. Every time, along with the relief material, she would keep her own stock of travel hoops for kids. Hooping became more of a calling from God than just a hobby. She quit her job, sold all her belongings to raise money and startedHoola for Happiness.
All of us at Jaipuria Institute of Management,Noida quizzed her continuously about how she raised Capital, how did she make ends meet, how did she travel etc.Through Carissa and the other co-founder of Hoopla for Happiness, Sarah Page, we got to know how a charity organisation works. Finances were usually raised through donations. In terms of accommodation, a family in US would let stay for free. Since a member of her family is in the airlines industry, most of her trips to different countries are free or heavily subsidized. She also takes dance classes to raise money. It was inspiring to know that Hoola for Happiness now had initiatives in 20 countries. Its main customers are churches, which organize mission trips and support the weaker sections of society.
When asked about her initial steps towards India, Clarissa chuckled and explained how it was one of the craziest things that ever happened to her. Apparently, Clarissa was with a friend in Dubai, who suggested that she explore India. Through her friend’s help she tried connecting to missionaries and orphanages here in India and someone from Good News Centre in Ranchi connected with her. Good News Centre has a church and a college and does a lot of social work. Clarissa visited GNC in 2011 and loved the people and the place. Infact, what was supposed to be a 4-day visit, ended up being a 3-weeklong stay. Clarissa conveyed to all of us at Jaipuria Noida that she felt that god has some reason behind sending her to India. Indians enjoy hoola hooping as it is for every one – elders, kids, and women – irrespective of religion. She conveyed how Hoola hooping is the only way through which she can connect to people who do not speak her language. Clarissa elaborated on her plans of teaching women in India how to hoola hoop, so that they can be professional teachers for kids and find gainful employment.
In all it was a great learning experience to spend a few days with Clarissa and her team and get inspired by them to pursue our dreams.