Project Director

Penny Shaw, M.A.

Penny Shaw received her B.A. in Liberal Arts from Bard College and her M.A. in Education from New York University. She taught at Hunter College in the departments of Health and Physical Education and Curriculum and Teaching from 1974 to 2003. She has been the project director for Project HAPPY since it's beginning in January 1981 and is a teacher of the Alexander Technique.

​Project HAPPY
Hunter College, C&T
695 Park Avenue, Rm. 1023W
New York, NY 10065


Aquatics Director

Nicholas Dunkley

our Staff

the beginning

Program Goals

  • To promote skills development in a variety of athletic and recreational activities with a low teacher-student ratio.
  • To provide a high degree of peer interaction.
  • To encourage college and high school students to pursue careers in health-related fields.
  • To provide a community service to populations with special needs.


The program operates at the Brookdale campus of Hunter College between 1st Avenue and 25th Street.


Program participants have access to a large space for activities


Program Activities
Project HAPPY’s activities are conducted by specialists in adapted physical education and include swimming, dance, aerobics, frisbee, basketball, softball, soccer, yoga, weight training, table tennis, and arts and crafts.


The instructors are assisted by a group of approximately 40 volunteers from Hunter College, local high schools, and the community.


Assistant Director

Semra Kayabas, L.M.S.W.

Semra Kayabas received her B.A. in Psychology from Binghamton University, and her M.S.W. from  Hunter College School of Social Work. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker in the State of New York. She has been part of the staff since 2010.

Aquatics Coordinator

Natalie Palmer​​


Cassi Sutherland


Brad Keller

Project HAPPY Photos

Program Coordinator

Astria Richards

ABC Groups

Erica Udow

Since 1981, PROJECT HAPPY (Hunter Activity Program for Parents and Youth) has been providing sorely needed athletic and recreational services to New York City’s children, youth and young adults who have disabilities.


Project HAPPY aims to address the needs of those with disabilities by providing opportunities for structured physical activities, sports, and community building within a supportive and enriching environment.


Presently we serve about 150 participants between the ages 6 and 35 who have disabilities such as:

  • Spina bifida
  • Cerebral palsy and other orthopedic disabilities
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
  • Mental Retardation and other developmental delays