BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is the viral video craze that can’t be stopped.
But a Youngstown business owner has put a different spin on his challenge, dousing himself and others, in icy water for another cause.
It is called the Chill Out challenge campaign and it urges people in Youngstown and across the country to stop senseless violence, crime and killing in the streets.
Excalibur Barber Grooming Lounge owner Kelan Bilal was challenged by the ALS ice bucket, so he researched the disease.
“I like the cause, I like what they are doing, but what hits a little closer to home for me is all of the things that are in the news now, especially here in Youngstown and across the nation, was all of the violence,” Bilal said.
Before the ice bucket challenge cools off, Bilal hopes to ride the viral wave across the world wide web, from the streets of Youngstown to Ferguson, Mo., and beyond.
“I am from the area where a few of these guys were killed and they’re just young. It’s just senseless to me,” Bilal said.
On Monday afternoon, a couple of Bilal’s friends stepped up to chill out. Like the ALS challenge, Chill Out is only as strong as the awareness and donations it inspires.
Excalibur Barber Grooming Lounge will soon sell Chill Out T-shirts, with proceeds going to programs that help inner city youth.
“I would like to get behind some of those local organizations that are really trying to teach these kids to grow up and be better and better themselves,” Bilal said.
The campaign is less than a week old, but lots of folks are already chilling out on Facebook.
“Tweet, Instagram, Facebook. We’re going to get this out as big as we can. Everybody please take the Chill Out Challenge, Kelan has started this and this is going to be big,” Shalayah Sanders said.
“One small snowball starts an avalanche, so if we can get everybody behind it, we can save many lives, instead of just one at a time,” Bilal said.