Jack Giambanco is sharing the light of friendship.
It all started in the summer of 2012 when Giambanco had a dream involving people from all walks of life and all nationalities holding different colored, glowing lights in their hands.
After waking up, he knew he wanted to replicate the lights. After months of failed attempts, he finally cracked the code and came up with what he now calls “Friendship Lights.”
“From that moment on I could not stop. For a year I was trying to figure out how to make this, make it decent and make it with tools I had,” Giambanco said. “It all came from this one dream, from thin air.”
Friendship Lights are small devices made out of biodegradable and safe plastic that come with a light source that stays on constantly, reminding the holder of the person who gave it to him. The battery for the bubble gum scented lights can last months, and is easily replaceable.
After starting to bring his dream to life out of his Brooklyn home, Giambanco also began a “Friend of the Friendless” program in which he goes to local parks, mostly during the summer, and hands out lights, together with small inspirational notes.
He connects with people either through the free section on Craigslist or also via Facebook. So far, he said, he has given out about 400 lights and has met hundreds of people in the process, all with unique stories.
“It has been amazing,” he said. “I have met people that they don’t seem like they have a story to share and right away they want to talk to me about their situation. I wasn’t expecting to be in that position, but it’s been like a blessing to me.”
Giambanco and his sister shared the first batch of the lights during Sandy, when they saw neighbors who had their homes flooded and power lost. He said the lights helped the children feel more at ease.
“It came from nothing,” he said. “It goes to show that anyone can do anything. You don’t need millions of dollars, if you have a little desire you can do whatever it takes.”
Giambanco says he hopes to one day work with more people on the Friendship Lights project — and move his production to a facility.
Currently Giambanco, who is also a graphic artist at The Queens Courier, is working on the 2014 spring-summer collection that will feature eight specific color combinations. He is also creating lights for anti-war support in the Ukraine, made of yellow and blue, green and white lucky St. Patrick’s Day ones, anti-bully and autism awareness lights.
“I just want to make other people happy and spread good vibes,” he said. “It’s going to be a big summer for the Friendship Lights.”
If you don’t catch Giambanco at one of his “Friend of the Friendless” trips, Friendship Lights can also be purchased online. Giambanco is also looking for volunteers to help either create or spread the love of Friendship Lights. If you are interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org.