August 26, 2013 By Ruth, Fancy Little Things Blog
It is with great pleasure and joy that I get to introduce Carissa Caricato, founder of Hoola for Happiness to Fancy Little Things. When I was reading and researching new fitness trends, Hoola Hooping fitness was a top new trend. I was so excited to find, right here in my own city, one of the nation’s leading teachers! While writing and working with Abby Albaum, I learned about Hoola for Happiness and what Carissa was doing around the world with just a hoola hoop! I was so moved by the video of her work and mission that I wanted to share it. Here is her story and journey to change the world.
When thinking of the title of this blog, Fancy Little Things, it reminds me of one of my favorite verses, how God uses the little simple things for His glory.
1 Corinthians 1:27 (ESV)
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.
I think this about two things: my life and the hoop.
God has picked up the pieces of my broken life; a life lived foolishly running from God for nine years, caught in the bondage of addiction, unfulfilling relationships and an unhealthy zest for the crazy. Jesus made me whole, set me free and gave me the gift of hoop dance. I asked God to give me the world as my playground, full of adventures for His glory, and He has answered that dream through an international ministry (based in Tampa, Florida) called Hoola for Happiness.
Our team of hoop missionaries (called Joy Spreaders) travel with 5-color Hoola for Life gospel hoops all over the world to teach hoop dance and share God’s love to the least, lost and last. God’s heart yearns to have a personal relationship with all people of every nation, and He has a special heart for the simple little ones, the children, the disabled, the blind, the deaf, the forgotten, the abused, the broken, the humble and the weak. We believe the hoop dance is for everyone, regardless of age, race, religion, sex, or dance ability. This is the same as the love of God. We were all created to worship, dance and love God!
The hoop may seem like just a silly child’s toy, but it is an incredibly powerful “joy magnet” for transcending language barriers, introducing joy where hope has been lost, creating pockets of light in darkness, and releasing freedom for bodies and souls. Our hoops have made their way with volunteers to 34 countries in three years, as of August 2013. We now have 21 Joy Spreaders in various parts of the world who are using the hoop as a way to reach out in love and joy to their community.
Our location in São Paulo, Brazil, “Bambole para Alegria,” is on fire! We will be leading a team back to Brazil in September 2013 for 6 weeks of dance conferences and outreach, training new Joy Spreaders around the country to lead local hoop projects, with a dream of sending hoop missionaries from Brazil all over the world.
We currently have teams with hoops in:
- Kona, Hawaii
- lots of places around the USA!!!
Please pray for upcoming projects & dreams for:
- Abu Dhabi
We are currently praying and raising money and a team of dancers to spend several months in India starting dance movement therapy programs in aftercare homes for young girls rescued from the sex trafficking industry.
God has called us to be dancing missionaries in every place we find ourselves.
Dancing through the journey requires boldness. We cannot be afraid to bust out Jesus or the hoops whenever and wherever. We are born to dance, born to move, born to stand out, and born to make a dent in this world for a higher purpose.
Want in on our adventure?! There are 3 ways to help…
- Pray for the whole world to learn about Abundant Life and Abundant Joy in Christ, and that hoops will make their way to the ends of the earth with this message.
- Become a monthly donor here. Partner with us in finances to support a particular project or country.
- Introduce us to mission trip groups, youth pastors, missions staff or international nonprofits that would be interested in buying Hoola for Life bulk orders (50 travel Hoola for Life hoops) to take around the world to spread joy and share the Good News!
Carissa Caricato, Founder/ Chief Executive Hoola-gan
After my first life-changing, heart-awakening trip to Haiti in January 2009, I started taking hoop dance classes with the Hoola Monsters. When I took a bunch of travel hoops back to Haiti for Christmas in 2009, they were a magical way to interact with the kids (and adults) everywhere! I fell in love, with hooping, Haiti, the contagious joy of the children, but more importantly, with Jesus and His love for the whole world.
After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, God began to shake and move my world around. After two more trips to Haiti and lots of divine stories, I started Hoola for Happiness in July 2010 to spread the joy of hooping and the love of God all over the world through hooping projects and partnerships. I quit my nonprofit marketing job at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay after 3.5 years there to pursue Jesus’ call on my life to focus on Hoola for Happiness full time.