Flash Mobs for Charity
Flash Mobs for Charity (Videos)
Flash mobs groups of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual act (think dancing or pillow-fighting), and then disperse as quickly as they gathered have gotten a bad rap recently, thanks mostly to the emergence of so-called flash robs, in which large groups of teens meet to loot stores en masse. But crime sprees are only part of the story.
Plenty of people use the flash-mob phenomenon for fun and, increasingly, even for good. In the wake of the disasters in Haiti and Japan, for example, people all over the world took to Facebook and Twitter to organize surprise performances in support of disaster relief funds, raising both awareness and money. Others have harnessed the power of flash mobs for local charities or personal causes.
Take a look at these fun-to-watch flash mob videos and read the amazing stories behind their inception.
Stop Cystic Fibrosis
Claire Wineland, 13, was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. She has undergone countless surgeries and suffered several setbacks including a life-threatening coma for two weeks but shes one of the most positive and motivated people youll ever meet. Shortly after a recent health scare, she started Claires Place Foundation to help others affected by cystic fibrosis.
In May, the organization held its first big kickoff event: a flash mob at the Santa Monica Plaza Mall set to Lady Gagas Born This Way. The mob drew the attention of celebrities, including Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz, actor Michael J. Fox, Castle stars Seamus Dever and Jon Huertas, and Its Always Sunny in Philadelphiastar Kaitlin Olson all of whom recorded video messages asking people to join Claires cause.
In July, Everyday Health television show hosts Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca, with a little help from Dancing With the Stars pro Chelsea Hightower, teamed up with Claire to produce another, even bigger mob, an event that was featured on the September 10th episode of the show. Clad in pink Claires Place Foundation T-shirts, hundreds of supporters gathered once more at the Santa Monica mall to entertain and educate unsuspecting shoppers. Mission accomplished!
Promo for event: Adam Duritz from Counting Crows Santa Monica, Kaitlin Olsen, Philadelphia - history, Claire Wineland, Tracy Pollan & Michael J. Fox, Kathryn Fiore & Gabriel Tigerman, Jon Huertas & Seamus Dever, Eric Kripke (Super Natural), Amy Gumenick - 5:03 -
The actual Flash Dance includes Lady Gaga's "Born This Way"
Clad in bright orange T-shirts with the words Ending Hunger printed on the back, dancers and drummers entertained shoppers at the St. Pauls Farmers Market in St. Paul, Minn., this June with a choreographed rendition of Glees Halo/Walking on Sunshine mash-up.
The mob was produced by Bremer Bank, a Midwestern bank chain, as part of the companys sixth annual Taking Action to End Hunger campaign to raise awareness and donations for Feeding America and local food banks. Bremer posted the video on YouTube and promised to donate $1 for every view up to $10,000 in addition to matching donations made through the banks website. The final haul? More than $84,000.
Benefit Breast Cancer
Onlookers at the June Colorado Springs Spree a two-day community celebration featuring live music, games, and rides were no doubt puzzled when a girl in leg warmers and a leotard broke out into a Flashdance-style routine to Michael Sembellos hit Maniac in the middle of a crowded field. But as others joined her, the confusion turned first to curiosity, then to delight. Soon there were some 100 dancers, including celebrity impersonators of Michael Jackson, Elvis, the Blues Brothers, and Madonna, each of whom took center stage at various points in the medley, which featured hits from all four artists. The grand finale of the performance produced by Flash Mob International, a company that organizes flash mobs professionally was a spirited rendition of YMCA, after which the mob dispersed and volunteers in Susan G. Komen for the Cure shirts took to the field with donation buckets and pink breast cancer bracelets.
Two months after the 7.0 earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010, Flash Mob America, a full-service flash mob production company, took over the Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles for a Michael Jackson-themed performance to raise money for Haitis earthquake relief fund. Led by professional dancers from Jacksons planned concert series This Is It, a group of more than 100 people entertained shoppers with a military-inspired routine set to Bad and They Dont Really Care About Us. The flash mobbers themselves raised more than $3,000 for Haiti, and the YouTube video, which encourages people to donate after watching, has more than 137,000 views to date.
Find a Cure for Blindness
Moved to action by her 11-year-old daughter Allys diagnosis of uveitis in June 2010, Boston dance teacher Rene Martin took to Facebook to recruit dancers for what she called the Flash Mob for Vision. Uveitis, an inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, is the third-leading cause of blindness in the United States.
Wanting to set a positive example for her daughter and show her that there was a community of support, Martin asked her Facebook friends to either dance with her or donate to the Ocular Immunology and Uveitis Foundation (OIUF), a nonprofit that aims to find a cure for ocular inflammatory conditions.
On March 26, Martin, Ally, and several others mobbed Bostons Faneuil Hall to perform a choreographed routine to the Black Eyed Peas hit Imma Be. Ally, dressed in a bee costume, started things off by doing the robot and then holding up a sign for OIUF as her fellow dancers took their places behind her. The event raised $1,872 offline and has since earned more than $10,000 in donations to Martins flash mob website.
Help Japan Bounce Back
After an earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan and put the country at risk for widespread nuclear disaster earlier this year, flash mobs began sprouting up all over the world to raise awareness and money for the ongoing recovery. In July, organizers in Las Vegas (pictured), Tokyo, Redondo Beach, and Huntington Beach recruited people for a mob featuring dancers and Japanese drummers to aid the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP), a program that assists mothers and infants living in evacuation shelters. Participants in the multi-city event paid to perform and solicited pledges for the cause (watch the mob).
Smaller groups gathered to do their part, too. In March, dancers took over the Eaton Centre mall in Toronto, Canada, to show their support (watch the mob). And two months later, Billy Blanks, Jr. (son of Tae-Bo inventor Billy Blanks) gathered a mob of singers to join him at the Westfield Topanga Mall in Canoga Park, Calif., for a spirited rendition of Seasons of Love, from the Broadway musical Rent, cut together with high-energy dance moves and hula-hooping. As the song finished, Blanks and his wife unfolded and waved a Japanese flag above their heads, encouraging people to donate to the relief effort through Japans Red Cross.