Award-winning poet and author Katherine Gotthardt, M.Ed. is offering a unique approach to building greater happiness, and it’s all for a good cause. Proceeds from her 11th book Get Happier, Dammit: More Inspiration and Motivation for Living in an Often-Unhappy World (August 5, 2022, ATW Publishing) will benefit non-profit SPecially Adapted Resource Clubs (SPARC) which provides learning opportunities and programs for adults with developmental and lifelong disabilities.
Get Happier, Dammit is the second and expanded edition of Gotthardt’s award-winning book Get Happy, Dammit: Staying Inspired and Motived in an Often-Unhappy World. The book features short essays, activities and poems in each chapter, along with quotes and insights from community activists, business professionals, writers and others, all designed to help readers develop skills like mindfulness, time management, reframing, critical thinking, goal setting and others, while building the foundations of happiness: inspiration and motivation.
“We are excited SPARC will benefit from sales of this important book,” said Debi Alexander, Executive Director of SPARC. “It’s so appropriate. Most of us cannot imagine the challenges SPARC participants overcome on a daily basis. Our programs and staff carry with them the kind of inspiration and motivation Katherine talks about in her book. But it’s definitely not one way. Our incredible SPARC participants inspire and motivate us every day.”
Gotthardt, who has volunteered as a SPARC program facilitator, echoed Alexander. “I went to SPARC to share with participants the joy of writing poetry,” she said. “I came away more inspired and motivated than I had been in a long time. The experience underscored how giving back, connecting in meaningful ways and sharing our journeys can build greater happiness for everyone, no matter what the circumstances.”
SPARC participants face both physical and systemic challenges. While they may have thrived in public school, services almost disappear after graduation. Alexander said, “Many of our participants have cerebral palsy, spina bifada and profound physical limitations. Prior to SPARC, their day would consist of either sitting in their room in a wheelchair listening to the tv or sitting in an institution where one attendant had to care for four similarly situated people. During these eight hours they were fed and had their diapers changed. We know this population deserves a better day, one that is self-directed and as enriching as they enjoyed while in school.
“As a society we pour billions into special education. But when our participants age out of school they literally ‘age out of life’ because there are no other programs that offer an enriching day. It is said that our population graduates to the couch when they leave high school. Our goal at SPARC is to prevent that from happening.”
Gotthardt said she hopes to help SPARC achieve their mission by contributing financially through book sales while raising awareness. “I’m impressed with the work SPARC is doing for this vulnerable group. If I’m able to bring even a little more happiness to SPARC participants and readers, I will feel I’ve done something worthwhile.”
Get Happier, Dammit can be purchased online and will be available through select retailers.
For more information on Gotthardt’s work, visit www.KatherineGotthardt.com