I had planned to be in New York City on July 28th this summer, sitting at the Rogers Theatre with my daughter celebrating, watching Hamilton, the Musical. We would have just completed two days of sock monkey workshops at Graham Windham with children and families (Eliza Hamilton’s orphanage). I was going to bring my sock monkeys of the entire main cast of the musical.
Sadly, fate/destiny/universe had other plans. I didn’t get the gigs I expected to have over the summer and as of May, I found myself all of a sudden struggling again to get by. Dang. More setbacks and lack of consistent work made things even harder.
And so the tickets were sold and plans changed. And I admit, I don’t think it hit me till today how truly heartbroken I am. But that is OK.
What I get from Hamilton is not about going to the show itself. It is about the creative process. It is about art about history. It is about the healing power of art. And the tenacity of art. I have been creating every day. For I am an artist with no choice. That is what I love about Hamilton and that dream hasn’t died. The message of the creation of Hamilton lives in my heart.
So today, as part of my studio clearance, raising funds and letting go, I have decided to release 4 of my sock monkeys and regroup. Start fresh. Blast the soundtrack. Surrender. And like Lin and Alexander, write my way out.
My name is Sarah Jackman and I am the Executive Director of the Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society.
I was born and raised in the west Chilcotin and though I’ve since moved into Williams Lake I still have very close ties to the area. My family has lived in the Chilcotin since 1950 operating a fishing lodge, guiding business and, a cattle ranch.
I accepted the position as Executive Director for PLWCS in August 2012 and have enjoyed my experiences here immensely. This position also allows me to sit on the Boards of other groups with similar goals and like-minded missions such as the Canadian Restorative Justice Consortium and Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Williams Lake. The growth and development I’ve witnessed in all aspects of our programs, our staff, and most importantly in the community members we serve has been remarkable.
Our goals at PLWCS are to promote and build self-worth, leadership, experiences of culture, and, healthy, strong life choices in the youth of our communities and in the communities themselves as a whole. I believe very strongly in both the Youth Success Program as well as the Tsilhqot’in Restorative Justice Program that we offer.
I am honoured to be a part of this team and these goals. – Sarah Jackman
I am blown away by Sarah and the incredible work she is facilitating and leading in the Chilcotin region and within prisons in the Lower Mainland.
The Work to Give Project, a partnership between the Punky Lake Wilderness Camp Society and Corrections Services Canada, is an initiative designed to provide incarcerated offenders with employment skills while contributing to low income communities and families.
And- OMG- they make sock monkeys!!!!!!!! My heart!!!!! Sarah sent me a calendar! Look!!!!
Looking forward to developing some collaborative projects with Sarah and Punky Lake!
Huge thank you to my sock monkey makers and support team!
I love you all!!! YOU ARE AMAZING!
Special mention to my hero Lynn Gosnell, “Auntie Lynn,” who has created and donated an incredible collection of her monkeys. She is an angel on earth and has positively impacted countless of youth in her many years as a child and youth worker.
And thank you to our beloved customers and donors whose generosity keeps us going!
This is such a feel-good craftivist movement for everyone involved!!!
UPDATE November 30, 2015:
The craft sale went well!!! We sold about thirty monkeys- most at $20 each, some at $10 and some given to vulnerable kids. We raised $524.00! I sent $290.00 to KYT Foundation and the rest goes to much-needed supplies and free workshops with local homeless women and youth, as well workshops with refugee youth and students at Mountainside Secondary.
Mountainside will be hosting a craft sale December 11 at which we will sell more monkeys (funds from the craft table rentals and sock monkey sales to KYT) and I have a stock of 20 at home I will be offering on ETSY (proceeds to KYT). LINK
I held a workshop for refugee youth last month and we all had a great time! Monkeys spoke a language we all understood! I will be offering more of these workshops in the new year as the need increases and will be assisted by social justice students.
Tons of love! Kat
“I am doing what I can.” – Dukdukdiya, the hummingbird
I am pleased that things are moving forward as intended! Phase 1 is on track regarding community outreach and awareness. I have confirmed that I am implementing a pilot project in the Fall in at least one local high school. During the summer, I will be meeting with 7 local young women to work on the curriculum and product as well as discussing their participation as peer supporters in the pilot project.
The pilot project will consist of 10 sessions, at the end of which the participants will have created at least one sock monkey each as well as a group business plan based on Jennifer Lee’s Right Brain Business Plan. The business plan creation will allow the students to learn life skills and entrepreneurship skills in a creative and fun and project-based way and the business plan will be displayed in a celebration event. The process will demystify the language around business and will garner the students valuable learning experiences around social media and online marketing. The pilot project will allow me to develop the ultimate workbook/workshop series and allow me to document and evaluate the program.
PILOT PROJECT FALL 2014
Each session includes: journaling, mind-mapping, drawing, product (sock monkey) making, business plan development, debriefing, independent and group work.
Each session addresses various life skills and employment skills while using a project based learning model
Outcome: At least 1 sock monkey per student, business plan (group project), resume update, website launch, photo and video documentation, exhibit
SESSION 1 The Big Picture- the mission and the mantra
SESSION 2 Visions and Values- what do we stand for
SESSION 3 The Marketplace- where does our business fit in?
SESSION 4 Marketing- social media, blogging, connect with customers
SESSION 5 The Financials- budgeting, planning, projections
I am funding the development of Phase 1 through my arts and crafts sales and through donations. I am extremely grateful for the support so far! Your name is added to the donor list with each purchase/donation.
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.
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.
Little Maxx annually bringing smiles to children in a hospital in Philadelphia as he gathers sock monkey donations.
And the amount of people simply sewing a monkey to help them through emotional crises…
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.
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):
But there is a whole new level of sock monkey therapy that I want to explore.
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!
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