Wishart, Qld Australia (PressExposure) January 14, 2008 -- A Brisbane life coach is embracing Melbourne with her version of FREE HUGS, after a huge success in over a year of hugging.
Ronit Baras, a life coach, author, journalist, public speaker and educator from Brisbane, joined by Melbourne community members, will hug Melbourne on Friday, 8th of February, at noon in Federation Square.
Two years ago, a free hugger from Sydney, Juan Mann, was rocketed to international fame after making a video of hugging strangers in Pitt Street Mall in Sydney. It went on to be viewed 12 million times on Youtube and won the inaugural prize for the most inspiring contribution to that medium.
Ronit and her husband, Gal Baras, also a life coach, promote human contact through physical touch in their presentations, coaching and workshops. They received the Juan Mann story from their 17 year-old daughter and launched the campaign in Brisbane, joining millions of huggers around the world. Their hugging campaign started in Queen St Mall in Brisbane on 18 November 2006. With a group of clients and friends, they opened their arms to passers by, locals, tourists, children and grown ups, and quite a few took pictures and used their phones and camcorders to record the event.
âPeople asked to come and hug with us and the group got bigger and bigger by the minuteâ, said Ronit, âWe hugged around 1,000 people in one hour. We hugged people from all around the world, different ages, man women, kids and old, hugs have no bordersâ.
Ronit claims that 4 hugs a day are necessary for survival, 8 hugs for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth. âStatistics regarding depression are alarming and we can change them if we only learn to touchâ, she said.
The editor of Insight Magazine was so impressed with the free hugs idea that he took his staff down to the mall to join in. Be Happy in Life hugging events were covered twice by the alternative magazine and several times by radio stations and local newspapers.
Their most recent events were âHomeless Connectâ (an initiative of Brisbane City Council), âChristmas Hugsâ at Southbank and hugging in Byron Bay.
The announcement about the Melbourne hugging arrived today, 7/01/2008.
Ronit Baras will arrive in Melbourne on Thursday, February 7th for a presentation and will start the âhugs without bordersâ on Friday, February 8th of February at noon in Federation Square Melbourne.
âIt is about time we spread the word all around the world. Melbourne is our next stopâ, said Ronit, âWe hope to see many people of all sizes, shapes and colours â sharing the loveâ.
Since the beginning of the Be Happy in LIFE hugging campaign, the coaching couple have had 7 events covered by radio stations and newspapers in Brisbane. Their greatest pride was an invitation from Brisbane City Council to take part in two "Homeless Connect" events. The events were aimed at reconnecting homeless people with society.
âIt was wonderful to hug people who hadnât felt human touch or even human warmth in a long time. It was very emotionalâ, said Ronit.
If you have not experienced free hugs before, this is a growing movement worldwide, bringing human contact to inner cities, suburbs and country towns and bridging cultural and racial divides.
So come and hug too. Make your own signs at home, get some love of humanity in your heart and meet the other huggers on Federation Square, Melbourne at 12 noon, on Friday 8th February 2008.
To View Be Happy in LIFE hugs and get yourself inspired, visit www.youtube.com/behappyinlife [http://www.youtube.com/behappyinlife].