Hula hoops used to spread happiness by Bay Area charity

- A Tampa woman hopes to change the world with a toy invented in the 1950s. Using the hula hoop, she's bringing smiles to people across the globe. 

What started out as a hobby for Carissa Caricato, quickly became a something bigger in July of 2010, when she realized she could spread happiness through hula hooping. 

"We are a nonprofit that takes hula hoops all over the world, to spread the joy of hooping and the love of God to every single person alive," Caricato said. "Hoola for Happiness" has made quite the impression all over the world." 

Alana Gordon said happiness isn't the only side effect of hula hooping.

"Its kind of like a meditation for those who can't sit still," Alana said. "It's a great outlet for that."

Caricato started taking hula hoop classes in 2009 and said another benefit she quickly discovered was personal fitness. 

"It was such a good form of exercise and fun," Caricato said. "I started using them to work with kids in Haiti and the kids loved it so much.

Hoola for Happiness makes its own hoops, and its sent 6,000 of them to 68 countries over the last 6 years.

Caricato said the hula hoop changed her life.

"It's just a personal passion now. It's my job, for five years," she said.

For more information about how to help spread happiness through hula hoops, email:

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