Smile-o-Meter Friday: Episode 2 - Featuring JJ Vibez
With the ongoing global pandemic all around us, along with travel restrictions, countless vacations and plans have been shifted or canceled altogether. This affects all of us now, but for many individuals with disabilities, traveling long distances may be difficult for a variety of reasons, even post-pandemic.
So, to help mitigate this reality and to experience and learn first-hand about different cultures “Smile-o-meter Friday” was created—an online series hosted by us, a father-son duo who represent two stereotypes—Aging (me/Ken, the father) and Disability (Daniel, the son). The overall goal of the series is to virtually travel the globe and try to bring a little sunshine into the world.
Each episode highlights individuals and musicians from around the world and discusses thoughtful and engaging topics related to music and disabilities, along with some of our own personal experiences, all presented in a light-hearted and upbeat manner. The goal of the show is to create the opportunity for people to understand and appreciate differences – and, of course, smile!
It's been a ton of fun working together, we have a lot of laughs when we film, and being amateurs makes it even better. Most importantly, it will open up new cultures and music to everyone.
The concept of a smile-o-meter isn’t new to Daniel’s Music Foundation. Early on when we were brainstorming on Key Success Factors for our music program, I was looking to apply all kinds of standard business metrics. Then Daniel, always seeing the joy in life, just looked at me and said, “We should use a smile-o-meter and measure our success by the number of smiles we get” – and that’s how the smile-o-meter was born! “It’s a measure that we take very seriously at DMF and we couldn't think of a more perfect name for this series,” added Daniel.
Other segments highlighted in each episode are “Did You Know?” (Interesting, historical and fun facts about disabilities and music) and “Food for Thought” (A thought-provoking quote or sentiment to consider for the week). Aside from the impact we are hoping the series will have, it has also become something we look forward to as a family.
Every week, Nancy, my wife (our behind-the-scenes director), shoots each segment in our makeshift “Studio” (also known as our living room), complete with cue cards and suggestions, to help ensure we stay on track. It’s fun, meaningful and something we are committed to doing long-term. “There are 195 countries in the world,” adds Daniel, “plus 50 states right here, and we're going to virtually travel to as many as we can so that music, joy, and some smiles can be in everyone's life!”
- Ken Trush