Thursday, December 4, 2014
Video Encouraging NYers To Indulge Their Inner Child Highlights Chai Lifeline
New York - A new video designed to bring awareness to Chai Lifeline has people jumping for joy.
The two minute and forty second YouTube clip called “Be A Kid Again” shows footage of people in several locations in New York City jumping on a large bed whose headboard bears the hashtag #BeAKidAgain and whose footboard beckoningly invites “Jump On Me.”
The video is the brainchild of Meir Kalmanson, a division head at Camp Simcha, whose previous video “High Five New York” showing the bearded Kalmanson high fiving random New Yorkers hailing taxis garnered almost 2 million hits on YouTube. Kalmanson’s goal was to remind people that children with cancer spend their lives shuttling between medical appointments and treatments and long for the simple joys of childhood, like jumping on a bed.
The 24 year old Kalmanson has been with Chai Lifeline for over three years and has worked in Camp Simcha for the last two summers.
“They do so much good work throughout the year,” Kalmanson told VIN News. “I’m hooked with them and I was trying to figure out what I can do for them both during the year and over the summer.”
It was a meeting with Rabbi Simcha Scholar, executive vice president of Chai Lifeline, at a Bar Mitzvah that sparked the idea of a feel good, New York based video, that would bring attention to Chai Lifeline.
“He said it was time I made a video for them,” said Kalmanson, who pitched several ideas to Rabbi Scholar before they ultimately settled on the Be A Kid Again concept.
Kalmanson, a Crown Heights resident who is originally from Connecticut, has been a full time filmmaker for the past two years.
“I thought it was a great idea to do a video,” noted Kalmanson. “I love Chai Lifeline and I love video. What better way to get the word out than video?”
Kalmanson’s original plan had been to bring a mattress to various locations around the city but he ultimately decided to expand his plan into something even grander. Kalmanson purchased a bed on Craig’s List and had a friend reinforce the frame in order to accommodate the weight of five or six adults who might be jumping on the bed simultaneously. After painting the wording on the bed, Kalmanson set out on November 11th with a group of friends and the newly decorated bed in a 17 foot U-Haul truck, with plans of stationing it at several different locations.
“I wanted to go to iconic spots of New York,” said Kalmanson. “We went to DUMBO, Union Square, Columbus Circle, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Grand Street area of Williamsburg.”
Kalmanson and his crew were able to get permission to shoot five minutes of footage at one of New York’s most famous locations: Times Square.
“We got out and the cops were right there and they asked us what we were doing,” recalled Kalmanson. “We told them we wanted to bring joy and laughter to New York, all for a good cause, and we told them what it was for. They pulled us to the side and called a sergeant, who called his boss. It took us half an hour, but we got permission. People just loved it there.”
Kalmanson and his crew hung back in order to get more natural reactions from passersby.
“I wanted to let it just play out, let people call their friends and see what would happen,” said Kalmanson. “There were a lot of double takes and people were already hash tagging #BeAKidAgain two weeks ago. First people stared at it, then some took pictures, until some of them just jumped right in. People did come over us and asked us why the bed was there and what it meant. We had flyers made up and we told them about Chai Lifeline. We hope people will look it up and it will bring interest.”
Kalmanson did receive a $10 donation on the spot from one woman and he hopes that the video will bring both more funding and awareness for Chai Lifeline. The video has been viewed over 11,000 times since it was uploaded on Monday.
“We have already gotten such great feedback and hope the video gets a million views,” said Melanie Kwestel, director of communications at Chai Lifeline. “It captures what we do here with our kids, giving each one the chance to just be a kid again.”