As a mom of two young children who are fortunate enough to have several favorite stuffed-animals and lots of other toys, it was hard for me not to be touched by the holiday plight of one of our clients, Esteban Velez. For the past few years, Esteban and his family have organized the “Marble the Monkey” campaign to help children in need in Medellin, Colombia. Velez has family still living in Colombia who help facilitate the campaign and make sure that the monkeys find their way to the neediest children.
The campaign was pretty simple: for $20, you could adopt a stuffed monkey (a.k.a. “Marble”) to keep, or you could sponsor a monkey to be donated to a child in need. For every monkey that was sponsored, an additional monkey was donated by the Velez family. In December of 2013, Esteban was proud to report that 156 monkeys were travelling to Colombia to three institutions…an orphanage, an adoption center, and a hospital. The goal was simple: to make needy children smile during the holidays.
Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas that are the most inspiring. Kindness towards strangers can be so moving. Esteban’s original goal was to send 50 monkeys, so he crushed his goal, made the Colombian organizations extremely grateful, and most importantly, put smiles on the faces of 156 children who may not have had much to be happy about.