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Learning to Laugh

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World Laughter Day

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May 4 was a special day of the year. It was a day, in which 60 countries celebrate around the world. It was a day to forget the troubles life can throw at you and just laugh, aka World Laughter Day.

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Residents of Scranton celebrated this day, which is the first Sunday of May, with help from speaker/laughter yoga therapist Jeannine Luby, whose business is called Laugh to Live! She has been visiting Scrantonians at Nay Aug Park on World Laughter Day for four years. This year, she visited them at McDade Park.

On a cloudy Sunday afternoon, Luby and members of the Scranton Area Foundation got together under the McDade Park's pavilion #2. The foundation had raffle baskets on one of the picnic tables. The baskets included ones with lottery tickets, girl scout cookies, and items from The Mad Batter, a local bakery in Clarks Summit, PA. Prints of the World Laughter Day mural were sold for $12 per print and $20 framed. Proceeds benefitted the Humor Therapy Fund of the Scranton Area Foundation. The mural was a little painting filled with smiling lips. It was painted by Heart to Art, which makes community murals in Scranton.

Another picnic table had arts and crafts for children to do, such as coloring books and little art projects.

A few times in between 1pm to 3pm, Luby called people over to stand in a circle to do some laughter yoga. She first had them take a deep breath and laugh "Ho! Ho! Ha! Ha! Ha!". Then she had them pretend to go on an imaginary trip by plane to Hawaii. While placing Hawaiian leis around their necks, she had them laugh "Aloha ha ha". The people also pretended to be trees by waving their arms like branches in the wind. They even did silent laughter, in which they laughed without making a sound.

Two of the persons doing laughter yoga were Luby's longtime friend Oliver Ord and his friend Mike Shanahan.

"I've known Jeannine for 25 years," said Ord. "It's great that she's promoting laughter in general."

Mike Shanahan, is a resident of Albany, NY, came with his friend Oliver to enjoy World Laughter Day in Scranton.

"I heard about it for years," he said. "It's fun being a part of it. It's been a great stop for us."

At 2pm, there was a joke-telling session, in which kids took turns telling jokes. Parents and other adults listened as a few kids told some riddles. Some kids were nervous but they overcame it.

In the middle of the event, Luby was interviewed by Ion Television, who videotaped the second half of the event, including people doing laughter yoga with Luby.

Jeannine Luby is not only a speaker laughter yoga instructor. She is also an author. Her second book "Wartz and All" is her first children's book. It is about a frog and his friends. It is inspired by the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail. Her first book called "He's Not Prince Charming When..., an adult-oriented book. "Wartz and All can be purchased at local shops, such as The Fanciful Fox in downtown Scranton, Anthracite Museum Gift Shop at McDade Park, and Everhart Museum Gift Shop at Nay Aug Park.

The event concluded with the raffle ticket announcements.

Although it was cloudy and a little drizzly, it didn't stop Luby from giving people tips of laughter yoga. People had fun under the pavilion.

"I'm thrilled that even with rain, people still came out to have fun and laugh," stated Luby. "I'm happy to bring more laughter to the community."

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