Smile-O-Meter Friday – A new way to travel the globe and learn about differences

With the ongoing global pandemic all around us, along with travel restrictions, countless vacations and plans have been shifted or cancelled 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, we created “Smile-O-Meter Friday” – an online series hosted by a father-son duo, Daniel (son) and Ken (father) Trush, who represent two stereotypes - Disability and Aging. The overall goal of the series is to virtually travel the globe and try to bring a little sunshine into the world.

Logo for Smile-O-Meter Friday with Daniel and Ken

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 their 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,” says Ken. “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,” states Ken. “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," mentions Ken. “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!”

You can enjoy Smile-O-Meter Friday episodes on our On-Demand Channel.

About Daniel & Ken Trush

Daniel is the President, Co-Founder, and inspiration for Daniel's Music Foundation. A talented songwriter and performer, he is the man responsible for naming one of our key performance indicators, the “Smile-O-Meter,” which focuses on the changes in attitudes and outlook reported by our community members. Most importantly, he is the life force that drives DMF and serves as the ambassador for our mission. He is a living example of acceptance, kindness, and joy.

Ken, Daniel's father, is a Co-Founder, the Managing Director, and serves as Chair of the Board of Directors. He works closely with Daniel, the DMF management team, and our staff in the strategic development of our music programs and the marketing, development, and operational areas of the Foundation. He developed the concept of the Danny Awards during the summer of 2019 and is the driving force behind the DMF Online Community. Formerly, Ken was a CFO of a digital marketing company, a partner at an M&A advisory firm, and a licensed CPA.

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