Words by Smiley Team
It’s impossible to overstate the impact and negativity that Covid-19 has had on the world over the past two years. Tragedy and economic hardship have been the earmarks of the pandemic, and yet one woman found a positive spin to it.
Sophia Barkoff is the founder of Happy Trails Project, an organization focused on spreading joy and good feelings around the world. She says she was inspired to start the project because of the pandemic.
“I could not wrap my head around how fast something so negative was spreading around the entire world,” Barkoff tells Smiley News. “But I did figure that there had to be a way to kind of have that same exponential effect, with positive messages attached to it.”
The point of Happy Trails is to create a “trail” of good messages and sharing through bracelets. Whenever you buy a bracelet through their shop, you have to buy at least three more which can be shipped to people you know.
Each bracelet has a note attached explaining Happy Trails’ mission, and a code that paints a visual picture of the trail the bracelets took to get to you.
“So if I sent it to three people, and they all sent it on to three people, and they all sent it on to three people, those would all be included on my code number,” Barkoff says. “But it's really cool to see in real life, like, oh, my gosh, I really did pass it to only three people. And now, it's in the hands of like, 35 people.”
Aside from spreading a good message Happy Trails also donates to charities, one in particular, Feed the Children, an organization that works to eradicate child hunger.
“We donate 10% of all of our sales to feed the children,” Barkoff says. “So we've donated, I believe, around $9,000.”
Since starting in 2020, Happy Trails has spread bracelets to over 19,000 people, and even though it’s US-based they’ve shipped bracelets as far as South Korea, Ecuador, and the Czech Republic, as well as over 20 other countries.
Speaking of the impact that they’re experiencing, Barkoff spoke of a family whose late son wore the bracelet nearly every day.
“And that obviously made me really happy to see I can imagine, having impact on other people's lives and they cared enough to like reach back out to me after something tragic happened,” Barkoff says.
SUPPORT: Check out Feed the Children and consider donating.
GET INVOLVED: Fancy starting your own 'Happy Trail' and supporting charity in the process? Get involved.