My name is Jared Hippler and I served in the Peace Corps in the Kyrgyz Republic from 2009-11, and in Guatemala in 2017. During my first service I was director of health and happiness at an orphanage. I learned about non-formal experiential teaching models that helped me develop play-based learning techniques that made learning fun and engaging.
I taught life-skills through play-based education. After serving I volunteered on organic farms in South East Asia, working alongside locals. We didn't share a verbal language but we had fun with each other and bonded through work and play.
Jared with kids from the orphanage during his service, 2011
In the capital square during new year's eve, 2009
When I got back to the United States in 2011, I noticed a lot of people looking at their phones on public transportation, maybe 60% of the people (now that number is closer to 90%), completely ignoring someone that would come and sit next to them. That new individual would pull their phone out, and do the same. Something felt innately unhealthy and sad about what I was witnessing.
It was this time that I started to read more about the state of humanity overall as far as health, happiness, and societal cohesion were concerned. My gut feeling that what I was witnessing was unhealthy, was affirmed then, and especially so over the past 10 years.
I wanted to create an organization that reminded people that our greatest joys come from other people, not a screen.
Community cohesion & social engagement in the United States and around the world has been on the decline for the past 50 years, precipitously so in the last 15. More Americans and people are becoming more isolated and sedentary than ever before. We spend more time alone staring at a screen than with other people. This isolated & sedentary lifestyle has serious effects on our health, happiness, and societal well-being. Over 70% of all human death worldwide is due to lifestyle-related diseases. The lifestyle that most humans are living is killing us.
Youth Mental Health Crisis
Youth in the United States are especially affected. Youth suicide rate is higher than it's ever been. Since 2012 nearly all signs of overall mental health and happiness have been on an extremely steep downward decline. As those numbers have gone down, screen usage time has gone up, as the graph to the right shows. 2012 was the year that over half the US population owned a smartphone.
There are many factors that contribute to over 70% of all human death coming from lifestyle related diseases, but the largest factors are an overtly isolated and sedentary lifestyle spent staring at a screen. And these are the issues that we are focusing on.
A Primally Playful Foundation was created to change humanity's trajectory by strengthening community cohesion through events that bring neighbors together to socialize and play and to help the mental health of youth by teaching them the life-skills and lessons needed to lead a more primally connected lifestyle, and inspire them to take radical responsibility for their health and happiness.