Operation Sock Monkey Western Division: Craftivism and Healing using Sock Monkeys and Sock Owls

I am delighted to still be part of Operation Sock Monkey Western Division—the relationship is going on 10 years now!  Time for an update as to what we have been up to lately!Screen Shot 2018-05-23 at 9.49.11 AM

About OSM:

Since 2005, Operation Sock Monkey has raised nearly $10,000 in support of the humanitarian work of Clowns Without Borders. Partnerships with Clown Sans Frontieres (Montreal) and CWB chapters in the United States and South Africa have helped to bring joy and laughter to children affected by trauma around the world. OSM has sponsored CWB expeditions in Haiti, South Africa, Asia and Swaziland, sending clowns to bring smiles and laughter and promote healing through joy. In 2009, OSM partnered with Woza Moya, an HIV/AIDS community resource centre in Kwazulu-Natal South Africa, to teach the art of sock monkey to local artisans. The Woza Moya project is now producing sock monkeys for sale in craft shops in Capetown and Durban, proceeds from these sales will supplement the income of underemployed crafters in the Ufafa Valley.

Initial connection:

I initially came connected with the founder Lindsey Hodgson when I was working at Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School where I used sock monkey making in my art therapy.  The students and staff and community members created hundreds of sock monkeys for local and global initiatives.

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Various OSM Western Division projects over the years:

There are COUNTLESS sock monkey therapy/ OSM Western Division stories of amazing people in my community of family, friends, schools, organizations etc. creating and giving.

Such as:

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.

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.

Passion2Lead 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 our sock monkeys in attachment therapy with Clowns Without Borders South Africa.

HELP YOUTH CANADA sock monkey workshops to create safe space to dialogue on education.

And the countless of people simply sewing a monkey to help them through emotional crises such as trauma and grief…

An alternative craft is the SOCK OWL to work around time constraints and as an adapted craft that is easier to tackle than a sock monkey, but equally fun!

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These crazy little sock owls are wonderful for creating dialogue around the craft table!

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There are so many healing stories– connection building through the lowly craft of making a monkey out of a pair of socks!

Some of the latest—

Mulberry PARC:

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I love that the Mulberry PARC Retirement Living Group always approaches sock monkey making as a team helping each other with challenges such as arthritis, poor eyesight, bad backs, loneliness , grief, etc- there are those that sew, those that stuff, those that assemble…

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Canucks Autism Network:

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Intersections Media:

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Diversecity:

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Byrne Creek Secondary School:

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Project Sophia:

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Sophia, age 16, was born with a life limiting condition sadly passed away on January 1, 2017.  She was part of the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice community for 14 years.

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Sophia loved to spread joy around and this included handing out countless sock monkeys (made by her and our Operation Sock Monkey community members) to patients and staff at Canuck Place.

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Sophia with a GIANT batch of sock monkey ready to handout at Canuck Place! (August 2016)

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Sophia and Glen (sock alien made by Darcy Glip) at Canuck Place…

Project Sophia continues and celebrates the joy that Sophia brought to the world.

Kat with sock monkey maker super hero Lynn Gosnell and Sophia’s mother- Beverley Pomeroy at Strathcona Winter Craft Fair, 2016.

I am honored to witness Sophia’s mother, Beverley Pomeroy, doing extraordinary work as she carries on her daughter’s legacy and shares her own personal story of Living Grief- the profound journey of ongoing loss.

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A few weeks ago Project Sophia met up at The Landing in Ladner BC to use sock monkey making to process grief, connect and laugh:

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Photo by Denise Levine

Check out:

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Go to Operation Sock Monkey for more information on how you can support this amazing global initiative!
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Here’s my HOW TO MAKE A SOCK MONKEY video created by my awesome brother, Fredrik Thorsen:

How To Make A Sock Monkey (HD) from Fredrik Thorsen on Vimeo.

Operation Sock Monkey Project Sophia 

SOCK MONKEY THERAPY AND CRAFTIVISM

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PROJECT SOPHIA

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Sophia, age 16, was born with a life limiting condition and she has been part of the Canuck Place Children’s Hospice community for 14 years.

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Sophia loves to spread joy around and this includes handing out countless sock monkeys (made by her and our Operation Sock Monkey communtiy members) to patients and staff at Canuck Place.

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Sophia with a GIANT batch of sock monkey ready to handout at Canuck Place! (August 2016)

Project Sophia celebrates the joy that Sophia brings to the world, as well as the incredible work Canuck Place does to support children and their families.

We had a wonderful and successful day at Strathcona Winter Craft Fair on November 28, 2016!

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And it is always so wonderful to see how people pick and choose!

We raised well over $500 for Canuck Place and sock monkey therapy!

Huge thank you to my Operation Sock Monkey team!  I love each and every one of you!

Sock Monkey Social- intergenerational craftivism!

Operation Sock Monkey (OSM) was approached by Langara Recreation Leadership student, Matthew Sung, a few months ago regarding an intergenerational project: Sock Monkey Social.

We gave him some pointers and links to a couple videos (how to make a sock monkey and a feature on OSM’s founder, Lindsey Hodgson):

How To Make A Sock Monkey (HD) from Fredrik Thorsen on Vimeo.

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Matt just sent me photos and some notes on what was obviously a very successful event:

– The title of the event was called Sock Monkey Social

– Hosted by Langara College students from the Recreational Leadership Diploma Program: students Matthew Sung, Samantha Jones, Amy Cornish, and Amanda Parliament

– Hosted at the Kerrisdale Seniors Centre on March 5th, 2016

– 15 total participants

– Participants ages ranged from teenagers – 97 years old(!)

– Everyone completed a sock monkey!

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Photos courtesy of Matthew Sung

Just wanted to give you and update of how our “Sock Monkey Social” event went on March 5th. It was a big success, we ended up having 15 participants. We had lots of food and door prizes donated by local businesses for our 2 hr event. We took your advice and pre cut all of the socks and had some pre-stuffed for our more senior participants, which worked out perfectly.

We had a wide range of ages from teenagers to a 97 year old and everyone was very engaged. Everyone had a lot of fun and we showed the short Global News clip that you sent us at the beginning of the event.  We have a very unique bunch of sock monkeys that we are excited to donate to Operation Sock Monkey.

We want to thank you both so much for your great advice and for the resources you gave us to better educate our participants about Operation Sock Monkey.

– Matthew

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The sock monkeys made at Sock Monkey Social will be donated to Operation Sock Monkey to bring smiles to faces in our various global initiatives!

HUGE THANK YOU TO PARTICIPANTS AND FACILITATORS!

Also check out:

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Sock monkey with hummingbirds #craftivism 

“If the hummingbird shows up in your life as a spirit animal, it may remind you to enjoy life’s simple pleasures and take time to enjoy yourself.

The hummingbird’s wisdom carries an invitation to take part in and draw to you life’s sweetness, like you would drink the nectar of your own flower.” [source]


 —
My latest hand-sewn sock monkey is made from luscious high quality “Sock it to Me” socks covered in hummingbird designs.

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The monkey is adorned with 4 little hummingbirds made from glove fingers.

 

The monkey measures 13 inches (33 cm) tall. The hummingbirds measure about 1.5 inches (4 cm).

It makes for an excellent “talking stick” or talisman during circle dialogues.

 

My sock monkey creations are all about local and global art initiatives and craftivism.

The hummingbird holds deep meaning within my local restorative justice community as it illustrates that, though small, you can make a big difference, a small step at a time.

  
“I am doing what I can.” – Dukdukdiya, the hummingbird

 
You can read more about my craftivism and hummingbirds at:
http://katthorsen.com/2015/08/20/craftivism-operation-sock-monkeys-hummingbird-project/

 
This one of a kind sock monkey is on sale (and ready to ship) on my ETSY site:

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Proceeds from this sock monkey helps me provide free sock monkey therapy for local at-risk youth.

#200sockmonkeysforNepal project by Vancouver craftivists and students and staff at Mountainside Secondary, North Vancouver!

Love, Kat

See you at:

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200 + sock monkeys for Nepal event! Operation Sock Monkey for KYT Foundation. 

 

Operation Sock Monkey Western Division is embarking on a Summer journey to create 200 + sock monkeys that will be sold to benefit the KYT FOUNDATION a Vancouver, B.C.-based non-profit established to bring flowing water to a remote Nepali village in the Kabre Palanchowk District; Healay Chaubas.  The village is now rebuilding after the earthquake and is in urgent need of help.

Kamala’s dream to bring water to her village has been in progress since her father’s passing 5 years ago.  But after the devastating earthquake, 80% of the buildings in Kamala’s village have been ruined and the residents now sleep in the fields.  As the residents begin the difficult task of rebuilding, this is the optimum time to bring in a water pipeline as infrastructure is reevaluated.

Photo via KYT Foundation

Photos courtesy KYT Foundation

Photo courtesy of Kamala Yonzon

Photo courtesy of Kamala Yonzon

I want to help in a substantial way while at the same time creating healing projects in our local community.  Nothing is quite as healing as sewing a sock monkey!

And having a goal of 200 monkeys truly lights the fire!

Operation Sock Monkey, Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School 2010
Operation Sock Monkey, Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School 2010
Operation Sock Monkey, Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School 2010
Operation Sock Monkey, Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary School 2010

I’ll be coordinating my teams of sock monkey makers (of all ages) in my local circles in Vancouver, BC- we’ll work individually and in groups and host sock monkeys sew-ins.  The goal is to collect 200 monkeys as a group for a major craft sale.  Additional monkeys will also be up for adoption/sponsorship starting now and will be sent to the village to do healing work on the ground.

$20 from the sale of each monkey will be donated directly to the KYT FOUNDATION

HOW YOU CAN HELP/JOIN!

1. Sponsor a sock monkey$10. You’ll receive a picture of the sock monkey and your name and message will be added to the sock monkey’s tag.  Sponsored sock monkeys will be collected and sent to Kamala’s village in the Fall.

Click on this button:

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2. Donate $ for supplies and snacks and shipping costs– we are volunteers and gather our own supplies and host workshops in homes and at schools.  We could use $ to purchase supplies like sock, stuffing and to cover shipping costs.

Click on this button:

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3. Make a sock monkey and send it to us to join the group of 200!  Message me for my address as I will be collecting them!

Here’s how you make one:

How To Make A Sock Monkey (HD) from Fredrik Thorsen on Vimeo.

4. Donate $ directly to the KYT FOUNDATION on their site to directly support Kamala’s cause

5. Donate $ directly to Operation Sock Monkey to support of ongoing craftivism projects around the world.

Kamala and Sunkosi of the KYT Foundation (china marker on newsprint)
Rhododendron- the national flower of Nepal
Monkey 1 of 200!

       

 

 

Team Nepal is growing! The 200 sock monkey (plus maybe a few pigs and pugs) event has begun!

Pictured here: human sock dolls by Shan, white sock monkey plus pigs by Mary Ann, clown by Tyanna! Striped monkey is The ambassador (No. 1 of 200)!

Stay tuned for Operation Sock Monkey Handbook fundraising!

My personal mission is to awaken creative expression through local and global art initiatives.

One initiative partners me with Operation Sock Monkey to create a life skills and entrepreneurship handbook. Our goal is to implement local pilot projects in the Fall and to bring the work to New York City and San Francisco youth programs in Spring 2015 and then to South Africa September 2015.

Stay tuned for phase 1 fundraising! 

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OSM HANDBOOK LIFE SKILLS

CURRENTLY PLANNING NEXT STEPS AS I CONTINUE FUNDRAISING FOR

the Operation Sock Monkey Handbook

for youth groups, schools and community organizations

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GENERAL STRUCTURE FOR WORKBOOK:

• Sections

• Chapters

• Diagrams

• Photographs

• Resources

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:

  1. Engage in the program from beginning to end.
  2. Respond without physical or verbal aggression.
  3. Communicate effectively with instructors and peers.
  4. Cooperate with others in the group.
  5. Demonstrate ability to accept redirection.
  6. Demonstrate ability to share and take turns.
  7. Demonstrate appropriate use of equipment.
  8. Respect personal boundaries of peers and adults.
  9. Demonstrate creative solutions for problem solving.
  10. Demonstrate initiative and leadership skills.

REVIEW OF LIFE SKILLS/ EMPLOYMENT SKILLS TO BE ADDRESSED IN CURRICULUM IN A USER-FRIENDLY, REPLICABLE WAY:

  1. 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.
  2. Social Skills, such as: anger management; resolving conflict; addressing attachment, connection, peer awareness; working well with others; and developing a positive self-image.
  3. Personal Management Skills, including: creating a budget; money management; ; managing stress; and managing time.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

For more info go to:

LINK

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Writer, illustrator KAT THORSEN

MISSION: To awaken creative expression

VISION: To develop global art initiatives

MANTRA: I am an artist

@BYPOSTSTREET ART HOUSE CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT SERIES 1 PHASE 1

THE @BYPOSTSTREET ART HOUSE

GLOBAL: Creative Director, Anna Thorsen

LOCAL: Art Director, Kat Thorsen (Vancouver BC)

MISSION: To awaken creative expression

VISION: To develop global art initiatives

Art Events, Street Art, Apparel, Curriculum Development, Workshops, Workbooks, Speaker Series, Craftivism, Illustration, Portraiture, Documentaries, Graphic Novels

PRESENTS

Curriculum Development Series 1:

The @BY POSTSTREET

Sock Monkey

Life Skills and Entrepreneurship Program

for youth groups, schools and community organizations

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Phase 1:

Pilot Project Phase 1: May to June 2014

Introductory Message from Katarina Thorsen

In my role as art director at @bypoststreet, and as therapeutic art facilitator in the Lower Mainland, I am fulfilling my passion to awaken creative expression in everyone around me.  I do this through visual art, art facilitation, art events, street art, blogging, journaling and craftivism.  Especially sock monkeys.

Sock monkeys are a significant part of my work.  Perhaps my life’s work!

I have been delivering sock monkey therapy and workshops for years and there is nothing quite as magical as witnessing the smiles on participants as they awaken to the healing power of the sock monkey.   I use 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 are so many stories:

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.  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.

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Lindsey Hodgson and her Operation Sock Monkey team working GLOBALLY,  delivering 1000’s of sock monkeys to children in South Africa, Nepal, India, Haiti, Northern Canada and more.  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.

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Photo by Woza Moya Project

Little Maxx annually bringing smiles to children in a hospital in Philadelphia as he gathers sock monkey donations.

Photo courtesy of Operation Sock Monkey
Photo courtesy of Operation Sock Monkey

And the amount of people simply sewing a monkey to help them through emotional crises…

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It’s endless.  The feedback I get could fill a book and maybe it should.  It’s hard to imagine the actual number of people  who utilize the power of sock monkey  to make the world a better place.  And I am honored to be a small, albeit extremely passionate and vocal, member of that tribe.

I still make them on my own.  All the time.  I make them as my art.  They help me calm down.

Photo by Darcy Glip
Photo by Darcy Glip

I make them as a volunteer operative of Operation Sock Monkey.  I am passionate about spreading the word.  I get countless requests to teach sock monkey making.  But there is only one me, so my brother, filmmaker Fred Thorsen, created this wonderful video for me (originally offered as a class for Six Degrees of Creativity):

How To Make A Sock Monkey (HD) from Fredrik Thorsen on Vimeo.

But there is a whole new level of sock monkey therapy that I want to explore. 

• What

I want to develop a life skills/entrepreneurship curriculum/workbook/workshop to increase the extraordinary powerful impact of sock monkey making– a replicable model that allows youth groups, schools, community organizations and Operation Sock Monkey to use sock monkey therapy to create healing opportunities and to teach business skills, business planning and mind-mapping, essential life skills and the power of entrepreneurship through a  project-based learning model.    I want to develop a powerful, easy to use tool to deliver the life skills, to awaken creativity, to increase the production of sock monkeys for income and for charity.  The pilot project will involve seven local young women (graduates of my various youth-at-risk art programming) to test the curriculum and to help facilitate local workshops.

• Why now?

This is a critical time to begin the project as Christmas craft fairs are taking applications now for their 2014 tables, as schools are planning their 2014-2015 scheduling, as my team is ready to go, and as I have opened my life to this moment to dedicate my time to it.

I want to pay the fee to become a licensed Right Brain Business Plan facilitator to increase the power of the curriculum and to be able to expand the @bypoststreet curriculum event further.

I want the curriculum to be translatable and easy to deliver– locally and globally.

I am so tired of seeing cutbacks in programming, seeing schools and community programs have very little funding for workshop facilitators, yet desperate to bring them in.  I want to create an easy means for these organizations to utilize the curriculum I have created on their own.  I don’t want them to struggle financially to be able to deliver this powerful tool.  And I don’t want to have to struggle financially anymore due to programming cutbacks!

As I wrote already, there is only one me, so I want to spread the curriculum by “training the trainers.”

I have dedicated my life to awakening creative expression in others, and now is the time for me to increase the scope of that teaching, to utilize all my knowledge and to build a new career for myself where I actually make a living through sustainable curriculum development around creative expression (from sock monkeys, to visual art, art events, journaling, business development,  etc.).

I am the one to do this.  I got this.  You know I do!

Teaching my nephew Henrik how to sew.  Photo by Darcy Glip.
Teaching my nephew Henrik how to sew. Photo by Darcy Glip.

• How?

I NEED YOUR HELP.

I am looking to raise immediate funds to begin this critical phase to be able to focus on it fully in May and June.  If you have been touched by the work that I do, and would like to see this project come to fruition, please donate.

CURRENTLY FUNDRAISING FOR PHASE 1:

a. Develop the curriculum covering:

Creative Expression, Therapeutic Groups, Art Techniques, Project-based Learning, Employment Skills, Life Skills, Entrepreneurship, Mindmapping, Business Plans, Community Outreach, Operation Sock Monkey, Social Media

b. Right Brain Business Plan Facilitator License– for @bypoststreet Art Director, Katarina Thorsen

c. Develop Pitch and Power Point Presentation

d. Christmas Craft Show application fees

e. Initial Team Development

f. Community Partnerships and Grant Applications

IMMEDIATE and URGENT GOAL: $980

DONATE:

paypal

All donors will be acknowledged on website and in workbook.

Donations of $55 or more will receive a handmade sock monkey with “YES” on it’s belly!

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NEXT STEPS:

Phase 2:

July-October 2014

• Implement Pilot Project with group of seven local young women.

• Provide honorariums to pilot project team.

• Test curriculum, document and evaluate.

• Develop community partnerships (including- Operation Sock MonkeyPassion FoundationGlobal SororityGirls4GirlsMountainside Secondary SchoolByrne Creek Secondary SchoolNorth Shore Neighborhood HouseSquamish NationHawthorne Care Centre)

• Grant applications.

Loretta Cella, Passion Foundation, with sock monkeys headed to South Africa as part of Loretta's work at Patch Centre.
Loretta Cella, Passion Foundation, with sock monkeys headed to South Africa as part of Loretta’s work at Patch Centre.

Phase 3:

October 2014- January 2015

• Create a sustainable model and workbook.

• Create website.

• “Train the trainers” workshop series.

• School and community workshops, craft shows and online sales.

• Community outreach.

• Evaluate.

Phase 4:

Early 2015

• Workshop and speakers series.

• Community collaboration.

• Global outreach- initial cities New York (Harlem Children’s Zone) and San Francisco (The Centre for Young Women’s Development).

• Evaluate sustainable model.

Phase 5:

Fall 2015

• Expand curriculum series to include visual art, street art initiatives, interactive art projects,  journaling, intergenerational projects, and project based learning.

• Expand global outreach to South Africa (Woza Moya).

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