My camp name at Champ Camp is “Monkey” and for most of my interactions with people there and on facebook and texts throughout the year, that is the only name several people know. It’s a pretty good camp name–it allows for lots of accessorizing with monkey t-shirts, banana themes, monkey toys for the cabin, etc. Because of it, my eyes are always peeled for monkey things…so it is not a huge surprise that I would be so enamored of Ricky’s Revolution, a charitable organization that is helping runaway and homeless youth…with Ricky…a monkey.
Ricky is a stuffed monkey that has life saving emergency phone numbers embroidered on his arms. These numbers are for Rape Crisis; National Organization of Rape, Incest and Abuse; Domestic Violence Hotline; Runaway Hotline; and Emergency Shelter Hotlines. Volunteers across the country form “shelter teams” and go to homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, etc to deliver these little bundles of comfort and love (and there is a big need for volunteers, so find out more!). For a kid living on the street or on the run from someone and staying in a shelter…the teddy bear-like comfort of a stuffed animal friend is a big deal, and the fact that Ricky also gives you tangible access to resources if you need them, makes him function as a double whammy of compassion.
The founder of the organization was a runaway teen, and she carried a stuffed monkey she’d named Ricky when she was on the streets. The comfort of her friend in the face of a brutal abduction and rape, and the ensuing spiral into despair, led her, as an adult, to recognize how one small token can mean the world to an individual. Get on board with Ricky’s Revolution, support, donate, volunteer–help make young people fighting against the odds know they’re not in it alone.
Monkeys will save the world if you let us!