Behind the scenes: The Amazing story of Friendship Lights and the Mythical Friendship Factory
Hello, my name is Jack,
Friendship Lights came to me in a colorful and vivid dream one night in the summer of 2012. It was at a time in my life where I was being bombarded by bad news all around me.
Wars, crimes, bloodshed Every where you turn all you seem to hear about was brothers against bothers and more bloodshed. For what? Aren’t we supposed to get smarter as a society? Where did the compassionate people go?
I felt the world was going in a direction that was totally opposite as to how I was raised. When it seemed like we all were united and having fun. In my dream I felt that simple childhood feeling again. It moved me, deep inside.
There were kids of all ages, nationalities and religions laughing and having a great time. Wearing and tossing this tiny and colorful bright light that seemed to represent unity.
The next morning I sketched out a design. And later in the day cut out a prototype out of an old credit card. My nephews happened to be in town. So I taped a battery to a light diode and put it all together.
As I handed it to them, I said here is a Friendship Light. They were ecstatic. Playing catch with it and laughing. A simple thing brought us together and soon we were all laughing.
From that day on I have worked every day and many late lonely nights. I had to learn everything there was from scratch. In order to design, build and produce them.
There were dark times when I felt like everyone was on the other side of the fence. Thinking – how can he make a product from thin air- with no money and no knowledge of fabrication? Who does he think he is?
But in my mind it wasn’t a choice. It was my only driving force. The one thing I had to do to bring balance back into my life and hopefully many others. I wanted to do everything I could to make this dream come true.
I think the only reason I got by all of the hard days were the few people who would help along the way. They stood by when things were at their lowest point for me. There were the lowest of lows. The times when I wanted to give it all up.
Then disaster struck. Hurricane Sandy hit and changed everything. My area had lost all power and and water was building up. By the light of a flashlight, my sister Jennifer helped me make Friendship Lights to give out to hurricane victims. All you’d see at night were people walking around with these little lights.
Other times my sister Josephine, would keep me motivated. Telling me to Go For it, Keep going! Of course my three nephews who are my official product testers. And my parents and family who have always been there for me.
It took real blood, sweat and tears to create Friendship Lights from thin air. And it was the toughest year of my life. But I’d do it all over to see a smile across your face when you get one. And I mean that from the bottom of my heart. That’s where Friendship Lights came from. My heart and soul.
“Aluminum from Home Depot, and a simple Dremel tool. Then came the making/manufacturing phase where I created a new manufacturing process that uses very little energy and resources.”
With Friendship Lights, I hope to inspire others to believe in friendship and share in the joys of life. Most of all not to take life too seriously and to take a break. Because we get more done when we are having fun.
Going through all of this heartache and struggle has been a gift. Its amazing to see someone hold a Friendship Light for the first time. And it’s a blessing to have had friends and family be there along the way to help out.
The Friendship Lights PINK event at Washington Square Park. We distributed over 100 for Breast Cancer Awareness. The peoples reaction was amazing.
Photo and video: Angelina Tala
The story continues today and I’d like you to be a part of it. I am open to your thoughts, feelings and suggestions. If you feel my story will help your team, students or group, feel free to contact me to speak at your event. I can be contacted via Email.
Things you can do:
- Read what others say about Friendship Lights
- See what the news media is saying
- Pass on the good vibes, Order one for you and a friend
- Volunteer to help out in the making process and community outreach
- Sponsor a batch to be distributed in your name
- Help by providing working space, facilities or other accommodations
- Contact Jack on his personal contact form