Dedicated to all the sock monkey makers of the world!
There is nothing quite as glorious as making a sock monkey! No, on second thought, what may be more glorious is the incredible global impact of this humble creature!
Operation Sock Monkey, OSM, (founded by Lindsey Hodgson) is a volunteer-run initiative in support of humanitarian organizations that provide laughter, hope and healing to communities around the world affected by disease, disaster and social/political turmoil.
Who am I?
I am an artist, therapeutic art facilitator and craftivist. My personal mission is to awaken creative expression and teach life skills and entrepreneurship through local and global art initiatives.
Partnering with OSM allows me to fulfill my personal mission through the vehicle of craft- specifically the sock monkey. I have been an operative of OSM since 2009. Countless students and colleagues have since joined the operation. I have been delivering sock monkey therapy and workshops for years and it is always magical to see the smiles on participants as they awaken to the healing power of the sock monkey.
Who participates in sock monkey therapy?
• Children and youth programs (youth-at-risk, inner city, rural, secondary schools, alternative schools)
• Community groups
• Therapeutic and Special Needs support programming
• Micro-industry development programs
• Intergenerational programs
• Corporate engagement strategies
H using a sock monkey to comfort her as she testified in court against an abusive boyfriend.
T making a sock monkey for his sick friend to take to treatment.
M struggling with mental health issues, making sock monkeys with worn socks and dental floss and couch stuffing, bringing them to me to send to Africa.
C using sock monkey making in her work with people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
A making a sock monkey for her hero after his mom passed away.
L using sock monkeys to process trauma to face her abuser and to create dialogue and raise esteem in her peers.
H interpreting her favorite artist’s work through sock monkeys then connecting with the artist through her micro-industry online sales and social media.
The entire school (Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary, North Vancouver) infused with sock monkey fever as we made 200 for Operation Sock Monkey.
Lindsey Hodgson and her Operation Sock Monkey teams working GLOBALLY, delivering 1000′s of sock monkeys to children in South Africa, Nepal, India, Haiti, Northern Canada and more.
Loretta Cella and Passion Foundation bringing sock monkeys as comfort for young victims at a rape relief crisis center in Cape Town.
Families using sock monkeys to help comfort their terminally ill children and themselves.
The use of sock monkeys in attachment therapy with Clowns Without Borders.
Women in Woza Moya making an income through sock monkey making.
Young mom groups using sock monkey therapy to dialogue.
Managers using sock monkey team building to resolve conflicts.
Little Maxx annually bringing smiles to children in a hospital in Philadelphia as he gathers sock monkey donations.
And the countless of people simply sewing a monkey to help them through emotional crises…
Multiply these stories by a thousand and you may get just a little insight into the incredible impact sock monkeys and their makers have on the world.
OSM is making a global impact, spreading the healing powers of the sock monkey.
I have been using sock monkeys as part of my therapeutic art classes for at-risk youth and in my general art classes for all ages. The process is quite miraculous. The simple process of making a loveable creature allows for a moment of safety and caring. The socialization and resulting dialogue is part of the magic. Each stitch in a sock monkey contains thoughts, laughter, tears, dreams, horror, joy, secrets, trust etc. The natural instinct for many is to want to make more and to share them. There is no doubt that sock monkeys are conducive to teaching life skills.
IMPORTANCE OF TEACHING LIFE SKILLS [Source: Healing the Inner City Child]
“Life skills” are defined as psychosocial abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Life skills generally include 3 broad categories of skills:
• cognitive skills for analyzing and using information
• personal skills for developing personal agency and managing oneself, and
• inter-personal skills for communicating and interacting effectively with others.
During a successfully implemented creative arts program, participants generally:
- Engage in the program from beginning to end.
- Respond without physical or verbal aggression.
- Communicate effectively with instructors and peers.
- Cooperate with others in the group.
- Demonstrate ability to accept redirection.
- Demonstrate ability to share and take turns.
- Demonstrate appropriate use of equipment.
- Respect personal boundaries of peers and adults.
- Demonstrate creative solutions for problem solving.
- Demonstrate initiative and leadership skills.
REVIEW OF LIFE SKILLS/ EMPLOYMENT SKILLS ADDRESSED DURING SOCK MONKEY THERAPY:
- Learning and Problem Solving Skills, including: listening to understand and learn; reading, comprehending and using written materials; thinking critically and acting logically to evaluate situations, solve problems and make decisions; learning to access and apply specialized knowledge from various fields; and continuing to learn for life.
- Social Skills, such as: anger management; resolving conflict; addressing attachment, connection, peer awareness; working well with others; and developing a positive self-image.
- Personal Management Skills, including: creating a budget; money management; ; managing stress; and managing time.
- Development of Positive Attitudes and Behaviors, including: self-esteem and confidence; honesty, integrity and personal ethics; a positive attitude toward learning, growth and personal health; and initiative, energy, and persistence to get the job done.
- Personal Responsibility, including: the ability to set goals and priorities in work and personal life; the ability to plan and achieve goals; accountability for actions taken; adaptability; a positive attitude toward change; and the ability to identify and suggest new ideas to get the job done–creatively.
- Teamwork Skills, including: understanding and contributing to an organization’s goals; understanding and working within the culture of the group; planning and making decisions with others and supporting the outcomes; respecting the thoughts and opinions of others in a group; exercising “give and take” to achieve group results; leading where appropriate; and mobilizing the group for high performance.
- Project Management, including: project planning; group management; client relationship building; social media management; product photography; advertising; documentation; supply management; project execution; project delivery and project evaluation.