How do you be somewhere in a completely giving capacity? Without putting up a wall or putting on a character? Songs For Kids Foundation performs for kids suffering from illness and hardship. Josh Rifkind says often the answer is to “just be there, share some songs, and have a fun moment.” As Woody Allen says, “Showing up is 80% of life.”
Josh Rifkind is the Founder and President of SongsForKids.org, which has a program designed to “engage, inspire, and uplift” children who are suffering from illness and hardship.
Josh realized that “Just being a good person isn’t enough.” Meaning, just because you aren’t a bad person doesn’t mean you can’t do more to give back. Seeing others around him dedicate time to helping with communities affected by Hurricane Katrina got him thinking how to give back in a way that represented who he was. Some honest reflection led him to to being himself while helping other people.
Josh has always been in music as a musician and artist manager. His father is a doctor and saved Josh’s life as a baby. With Songs For Kids, Josh strives to combine music with the giving nature, humility, and care of those in the medical profession. As a coordinator, performer, and individual who is interested in helping kids, this was all a perfect fit.
- You don’t normally meet people who are in a crisis. But with Songs For Kids, that is the new normal, and Josh sees it as a great challenge and an honor to engage with people who may be looking for a momentary distraction. How do you be somewhere in a completely giving capacity? Without putting up a wall or putting on a character. He says what people want is honesty and being yourself. When it is obvious that is coming from a genuine place, that interactive performance becomes a shared moment. Just be there, share some songs, and have a fun moment. Don’t come in to fix, just be there and do what you say you’re going to do. Keep showing up and they’ll start to trust you. As Woody Allen says, “Showing up is 80% of life.”
- In 2013, Songs For Kids did a tour traveling 32,000 miles, performing 350 shows at 240 hospitals in 180 cities. Josh’s voice was already in extreme vocal fatigue and he had put on extra weight from the fast food. At a dinner with a number of crossfit athletes, he asked a guy how to get back in shape. Josh was told to go on the Paleo diet, to which Josh replied that he couldn’t do that. The response he heard was, “You can’t or you won’t?” Challenge accepted. Josh went on a Paleo diet and stuck with it and lost 25 pounds in 42 days. Eventually, 105 days of eating Paleo kept his health and stamina and discipline healthy enough to continue with tour. He changed his own bad habits in order to keep his promise to others. They didn’t cancel any of their 350 shows.
- Being open and honest in his job has allowed Josh to breakdown barriers. He says the best people take down their shield. Strive for that direct, honest connection. People will appreciate you for the joy you’re spreading.
- Songs For Kids offers a program in which they encourage kids to turn their poems or lyrics into full songs. The organization will provide someone to help them arrange, record, and mix their song so that they can share it. Josh says the most amazing thing is seeing so little filter, so little self-conscious doubt in the process. As a musician/lyricist/artist/(adult in general), is is so hard to write with originality so we try to provide anecdotes. But kids write lyrics unfiltered and directly honest. As collaborators, the mentors’ main objective is to support the creativity, bot to direct it.
- A small donation will go a long way with Songs For Kids Foundation. To learn more about supporting this awesome organization, visit their website.
Songs written by kids, produced by Songs For Kids
See some Videos of Songs For Kids in action
Thanks for Listening!
Thank you so much for tuning in to my conversation with Josh about keeping inspiration alive and healthy!
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Thanks again to Josh Rifkind of SongsForKids.org! Until next time!