When the Awesome LA Chapter sat down to consider who to give the next grant to we were, per usual, faced with a very difficult decision. After much debate and soul-searching for what The Awesome Foundation truly stands for, we picked a project that we felt truly embodied our mission – to find and sponsor unique, grassroots, homegrown ideas for making the world a more fun, happy, and dare we say, awesome place to be in.
The project we ultimately chose to support is one that developed over a coffee table discussion between Jeffrey Waldman and his friends, debating what vehicle would elicit a pure sense of joy. Photos from his journey across Los Angeles to hang swings can be found here: http://on.fb.me/ipXGtN.
Better yet – here is an awesome video that documents the team’s work hanging swings throughout Los Angeles.
Now, Jeff is now taking his beautiful idea to a whole new level:
“The easy answers to finding pure joy were from our childhood and the most common was swings. From there it was a simple endeavor but we had no idea how well it would be received or the exponential impact it would have on people’s lives and their interactions. We accidentally stumbled onto something wonderful and much greater in its return than what was to be expected on paper. Every time I see a child beg their parents to be pushed on one of my swings, I become all the more committed to the idea that this project is something I’ll never give up until it becomes a movement on a global scale. This last time was no different, and I’m entrenched in the effort to make my dream a reality…
Our Next Step: Swings: Bolivia
We have just launched a new Kickstarter campaign [LINK: swingsetting.org ] to hang swings throughout Bolivia. In case you’re curious as to why we chose Bolivia– there are a hundred states and cities that we’d love to bring joy to, but Bolivia in particular has some very relevant statistics:
-Bolivia has the second highest poverty levels in South America.
-49% of the population is under 20.
-1 in 4 Bolivians are between the ages of 10 and 19.
-40% of their Army is under the age of 18.
-The age of consent is arbitrarily defined as “puberty.”
-In every 1000 teenage girls, 88 are pregnant.
Bolivia is a country largely populated by children, few of whom are able to act like it. If ever there was a place in need of a return to innocence and a reminder of the pure and simple joys in life, this is it.
We’ve hung swings in The Marshall Islands, Panama, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. We’ve also inspired people in a dozen other cities to do the same. But this next step will be something bigger, something more than a weekend, where we’ll spend a month in Bolivia living among the communities, learning first-hand the emotional state of a country and its people. We’ll work with people on the ground to really dig deep, going to off-the-beaten-path towns and truly living local life. This is the project that will set the tone and goals of a global scale effort, and go far beyond what I’ve previously been doing. We’re not just going to throw some rope over a tree– we’ll be sowing the idea of creating impromptu joy and reminding Bolivians what it feels like to experience pure and innocent happiness.”
We are so honored to have helped fund this idea and are very excited to see the fruits of Jeff’s labor as he takes his vehicle for joy and spreads it across the world.
Go here if you wanna learn more about Jeff and the Swings. You know you do…