The unstable economy is no laughing
matter, but a group of Michaina students are using some unusual
techniques to help people get through these difficult times.
A giggle, chuckle, or snicker may lead to a better lifestyle.
Doctors say they've been using laughter as medicine since the
1970s. And with plenty of things to be sad about in today's
economy, some LaPorte High School students spent their morning
encouraging people to look on the bright side and laugh.
"I think laughter can make your day brighter and just
automatically make you feel better inside," said Mary Beth Burton
Need to raise money for your school or club but
don't want to sell fattening cookies or candy?
Hey U.G.L.Y.'s Laughtercising CD is the perfect answer. Laughter
has been proven to reduce stress and impact weight loss.
for special "Fundraising" pricing and customized covers.
That's why Mary Beth Burton bought this hour long CD of laugher.
Unique Gifted Lovable You or UGLY is a non for profit
organization all about teen self-esteem building.
"We face racism, we face bullying," said Victor Vargas who
laughs as his medicine.
LaPorte High School sophomore Victor Vargas is one of handful of
Hey UGLY students who stood outside a grocery store in LaPorte on
World Laughter Day to sell their disc and get people to chuckle
in the face of various problems. Vargas says that laughing
is his remedy.
"So you start laughing all of a sudden and you forget what you
were all worried about. No stress, no self-esteem, you feel
comfortable like you can let everything out," said Vargas.
And in today's economically unstable times, Registered Nurse Judy
Dean says finding a bit of optimism and laughing when appropriate
can help people get through difficult times.
"This is an extremely hard time now with the economy, but if the
general public can just remember to see some of the bright sides
of what's going on," said Registered Nurse Judy Dean.
This CD is an hour long, but all you need to do is laugh for 10
or 15 minutes to make yourself feel a whole lot better.
"You're doing an intricate exercise to your diaphragm, your
oxygen increases so your brain gets more oxygen," said Dean.
And some research shows that laughing can also help you loose
weight. But Dean says the best thing about laughing is
"It's free. No one has to have a prescription," said Dean.
All the proceeds from purchasing the 'Laugh It Off' CD will go
straight to teen outreach programs in LaPorte.
- LP students help others laugh it up
Timothy O'Connor - Brandi Morrow once laughed for 10 minutes
straight. The 15-year-old was up late the night before with a
friend and they entered that odd, worn-out delirium that often
leads to laughter.
"That was intense," she said. "It took me awhile to get my breath
So the La Porte High School freshman was prepared to ambush
strangers with laughter for World Laughter Day.
Morrow and a small group of fellow students participated in the
Spread Laughter Project on Sunday. They stood, danced and joked
around outside Kroger on Pine Lake Avenue and tried to get
customers to laugh as they entered and left the grocery store.
The goal was to sell copies of "Laugh it Off." It's a $5
hour-long laugh-track CD featuring the guffaws of Richard Schoen,
a voice actor who has narrated commercials for everything from
Fruit Loops to Miller Beer, and Betty Hoeffner, a representative
of Unique Gifted Lovable You, the self-esteem building
organization that put out the CDs. Hoeffner was on-hand Sunday
and the CD played in the background while the students made their
The money is going toward U.G.L.Y. and students' community
For all their efforts at making others smile, the kids were
surprised how many people literally ran away from them.
"(One) guy said he didn't like to laugh," Martin Garcia, another
There was a lot of that. About half the people leaving Kroger on
Pine Lake Avenue walked past the students without saying a thing.
The other half stopped, some even smiled. But only about 50
people had bought the CD after more than two hours.
"I think I learned there are different kids of people," Martin
said. "People who are going to listen and some people just think
you're going to take their money."
Brandi said she felt bad for the latter group.
"Why wouldn't you want to laugh?" she said.
But the students didn't get discouraged. They stayed
upbeat even as their three-hour shift ended. That enthusiasm
rubbed off on some of the customers.
"It's contagious like the swine flu," Fabian Rangel said as he
bought the CD. He said he'd listen to it at home as a way to
The constant laugh-track worked for the volunteers as well. Many
said they felt happier after a few hours of laughing and that
they would bring the chuckles back home.
"I'm probably going to listen to it when I get home just to see
what my parents say about it," Brandi said.
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