- February 15, 2022
Country Club at Lakewood Ranch resident Lauri Willson was spending time at home with her husband, Tom, on July 15 when she heard their doorbell ring.
By the time the Willsons grabbed their face masks and reached the door, however, the people who rang it were gone.
When the Willsons looked down at their doorstep, they found a hand-drawn picture of a koala bear on a tree with “Have a great day” written on it.
The Willsons’ neighbors, 10-year-old Colton and 6-year-old Kinley McGill, had delivered it.
The McGill siblings started drawing pictures and delivering them to those in their neighborhood as part of an effort they call Project Happy. It’s meant to put smiles on people’s faces during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Project Happy is an organization we created to make people smile through this rough time,” Colton McGill said. “It’s kind of like trick-or-treat, but we bring the treat to the people.”
Willson said the pictures are a wonderful way to brighten people’s day.
Colton and Kinley McGill have drawn and distributed more than 80 pictures throughout the Silverwood and Preserve neighborhoods.
“We tried to make everyone happy, and it makes us happy, too, seeing the smiles on their faces,” Colton McGill said.
The pictures can include animals, cars and other objects. The pictures also include a message, such as “Have a great day” and “Stay safe.”
The McGills started drawing their pictures July 8 and started delivering them soon afterward.
Brittany McGill, mother of Colton and Kinley, said she is proud to see her children start Project Happy.
“Our focus as their parents is to raise kind kids that think and care about others,” Brittany McGill said. “Them coming up with this idea on their own and following through with it is more than I could have imagined.”
When Silverwood’s Sharon and Paul Catalano received their first picture, a large heart with the Earth around it, and later a picture of a seahorse, they put the artwork on their fridge.
“Of course I was tickled,” Sharon Catalano said.
With the ongoing pandemic, Sharon Catalano said Project Happy is wonderful and “much needed.”
“As an educator, I found their active interest in our community refreshing,” she said. “They are growing into good citizens while spreading positivity.”
Colton and Kinley McGill said they hope to expand the project. They are working on artwork to send to a nursing home in Lakewood Ranch, and they want to get more families involved in the project to spread happiness.