'Monkeez' program encourages monkeying around for good

By Stefanie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - It's one scenario where monkey business is actually encouraged -- a Lowcountry toy company is helping to teach kids a valuable Christmas lesson on giving.

There's no messing around when it comes to Daniel Island mom Chrysti Carol Propes and her program Monkeez Makes A Difference.

A former schoolteacher and mother of two boys, Propes thought that when a child gets a toy there should be a way for them to think of giving back.

"My biggest hope and prayer would be that children think of others before they think of themselves," Propes said. "In the world where it's a lot of all about me it's nice to teach children to look out and be aware of things around them."

Here's how it works: when a child gets a Monkeez plush character, it comes with a code on the tag. Kids enter the code with the help of their parents on the Internet, and it takes them to the toy's site where kids watch videos from three charities and then they choose which one they would like to donate to.

"Hopefully, the parent would sit with them, this would be my vision, and that the parent would watch the video with them and talk to the child about the different organizations and they would make a real complete decision on where they want the money to go," Propes said.

The three national charities the kids have to choose from are Samaritan's Purse, Best Friends Animal Society and Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. It's a goal of teaching kid's the value of what they believe in at an impressionable young age.

"I think that children are so innocent and we should believe the best in them and I think as a grown up I learn a lot from kids everyday they really can teach us a lot more than we can teach them," Propes said."

Monkeez Makes A Difference has only been up and running since June, but already the program raised more than $40,000 in four months. With Christmas around the corner, it's never to late to get into some real monkey business.

"This is the gift that gives twice -- you can give this gift to your child and then your child can give a gift to an organization that they believe in, so I think this is a great gift because it is the gift that gives two times," Propes said.

Monkeez Makes A Difference{}is available locally at the retail locations of Wonder Works, Hollipops and Gwynn's of Mount Pleasant.