Posted by Janelle Lang on August 03, 2013
Connecting with artisans the past few months has been inspiring; looking forward to the relationships I will be forging as Shoppe 561 grows. Knowing that Hope is what compels artisans to create and dream, I am excited to feature "Faces of Hope” featuring Florida artisans to inspire and encourage you on your journey.
Presenting to you Shoppe 561s first Faces of Hope – Carissa Caricato.
Taking hoola hoop dance classes for exercise and fun turned into a full time ministry for Carissa. Thinking she was just bringing joy with her hoola hoops on 4 different trips to Haiti working with various mission organizations. Bringing joy in dark and broken places is what her hoola hoops provide including making some to look like the wordless book with 5 colors to tell the gospel story.
Dreaming about taking over the world with hoola hoops to spread joy, little did Carissa know her dream was about to become a reality. Launching Hoola for Happiness July 2010, she left her job to do this full time. Today there are 21 volunteers trained throughout the world and her organization has sent hoops to 34 countries. Creating and making the hoops in Tampa and teaching how to make them on site in some of the countries classifies her as an artisan.
Finding hope in “hooping” is easy because anyone can do it. Teaching blind children in India, women in Dubai, retirement communities, addicts, teenagers to name a few. Hooping is for everyone and through hooping people have seen God’s love shine through Carissa and her team.
Transforming lives through hoola hoops and love. Starting to write a book called Dancing Through the Journey is a way Carissa is recounting all the encounters that were pre-ordained by God that have happened through hooping. Amazing stories that will stir your soul.
Learning that life is a journey and not a destination, the fact you must embrace the journey or you will miss out on all the things along the way. Knowing that God is in every detail of her life she is learning to enjoy the journey focused on the eternal destination in everything she does.
Knowing she cannot do it alone, Carissa is committed to rising up leaders in each of the countries and continues to go back to the same countries so they can be established and self-sufficient. Creating a legacy so this continues on for generations to come is her desire.
Talking with Carissa for thirty minutes had me excited and ready to start hooping. Spilling through the phone line is the joy she has for what she does and the one she does it for.
Wanting to be a spreader of joy or learn more about Hoola for Happiness? Check out hoolaforhappiness.org and “like” on facebook.
You can also watch the video below for an overview of Hoola for Happiness narrated by Carissa.
Wondering how you can get involved with Hoola for Happiness:
- Become a Joy spreader and purchase hoops to take on your next mission trip or use with your local ministry.
- If you live in the Tampa area, you can be part of the team that makes the hoops or join weekly hoop jams in the park.
- Passionate about human trafficking – support her Spring 2014 project in partnership with International Justice Mission to minister to hundreds of girls in Mumbai After Care Homes (where girls are taken once rescued from trafficking). Currently they need to raise supply money for the trip to include $5000 for 500 hoops. Locals in India will make the actual hoops supporting their economy. Carissa and team will be supporting the girls through therapeutic dance programs and providing lots of love.
Sharing hope requires no formal training or money; it takes a willing heart and passion. Blessings to Carissa as she shares joy and hope in Florida and around the world!