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, and is a teacher of the Alexander Technique. She was the founding director of Project HAPPY from January 1981 to December 2023

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. She has been part of the staff since 2010.

Who We Are

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’s mission is to promote the well-being of New York City’s children, youth and young adults with disabilities by providing them with individual and team sports and recreational activities. In doing so, we aim to impart improved physical health, social skills, and self-confidence in those who are often marginalized as a result of their disability. Additionally, we strive to advocate for, and provide awareness of, the needs of urban children, youth and young adults who have disabilities.   
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)
  • Intellectual and developmental disabilities

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.

Due to COVID protection protocols, there are schedule changes and the program is running at a reduced capacity. All participants and volunteers must be vaccinated to enter the campus. Mask wearing is encouraged, but optional. 


Project HAPPY is funded by grants and generous donations from people like you. 

Checks can be made payable to "Hunter College" with "Project HAPPY" in the memo, and mailed to:

Project HAPPY, Hunter College

695 Park Ave, Room 1000W

New York, NY 10065

Or you can use the button below to donate through PayPal.

Program Coordinator

Olivia Matthews


Brad Keller 

Dance & Yoga

Erin Saslav

​Weight Training

Anthony Peters         


Arts & Crafts

Heather Taylor

​ABC Group

Samantha Scaccia  

Middle Group

Mariluz Garcia