Amongst the countless amazing youtube comments people post about the film, some have brought up the question about the location of the shoot.

Why Red Bank?” many ask. While I’ve only shared the story with those who asked, a couple of days ago a member of the Life Vest Inside page, Susan Melton, sent me a short film titled “Chalk One Up Inspirations”.







As I watched the short film, my mouth dropped, a tear rolled down my cheek, and I realized that it was time to tell the story behind choosing Red Bank as the location for the film. Not simply choosing Red Bank, but choosing that particular area and street. Yes! With me, every choice has its reason.

So here it goes: I began working on the idea for the film in July 2010. Being a teacher allowed me to use my summers productively and I was determined to make the most of it. As a teacher, you’re always on call even during the summer months (at least that’s how it is for me). I love my students very much, believe in them with my full heart, and am happy to be there for them when they need advice. I’ve been lucky to remain in contact with some of my students, even after they venture into high school and college. It was a regular summer day in July. I had just written script for the film and was unsure of where I would actually shoot it.

On that July day, I received a call from a couple of my former students, who were now entering their junior year of high school. They wanted to get together like old times and catch up. I picked them up and we headed into Red Bank to paint in a great little pottery place I love located on Main Street. We’d spend the day painting and catching up on their high school experiences and reminiscing about the amazing memories from 7th and 8th grade.
On the car ride there, they began opening up to me about some of challenges they’re facing in high school from peer pressure, to lack of self-confidence, to everything in between. One of the main things I work on instilling within my students is a sense of self-worth, self-value. They seemed low-spirited and so I began reminding them of what deep in their hearts they already knew, but had forgotten. I reminded them of the amazing potential they have, the amazing people they are, and the unbelievable ways in which I’ve seen them grow during their years in Middle School. We spoke about the importance of believing in yourself, overcoming obstacles, having hope, faith, trust and perseverance. I reminded them to stay true to themselves and recall the hopes and dreams they had written out at the end of their 8th grade year. Naturally, I began speaking to them about Life Vest Inside and the ideas it stood for (Those students were the very same students I mentioned in my previous blog about the how the name of the organization came about). It wasn’t long before the car was filled with the same amazing energy they always had.

We finally arrived in Red Bank and parked. When we stepped out of the car, there beneath our feet the words “Believe in Yourself” were etched into the sidewalk. Arrow signs pointed from one inspiring phrase to the next. “This way to inspiration,” “Have faith,” “Don’t give up,” “You have the potential to do great things” “The power to make a difference begins with you!” Words of courage, faith, hope, and inspiration lined the sidewalk right outside the pottery place we were going to. We were all amazed and taken aback. “We were just talking about this!” the girls yelled in excitement. Then again, knowing the amazing way the world works, I wouldn’t have imagined it any other way.

I looked at the sidewalk and began following the signs, curious to where it was leading. I looked up and it struck me at that moment, this was going to be the place I filmed Kindness Boomerang. What better location to film a Life Vest Inside production then a location that spoke words of inspiration and motivation. It just had to be!

Just as planned the film was shot on that very same sidewalk where the inspirational chalk writing had been. I always wondered who was responsible for writing the inspirational words on the sidewalk and hoped to thank them. I hope this post reaches them one day!

Enjoy this short clip shared by Susan titled “Chalk One Up Inspirations”! 

Keep your eyes peeled for the inspirational signs you see throughout your day and share them with us! Signs are all around; let’s increase our awareness to see them!

I’d like to thank my students who are now graduating high school for opening their hearts to be inspired. I’m proud of every one of you!