Click the image above to view photos from The Silly Bandz Project.
Over the years, I have met many children during my travels who have stolen a little piece of my heart.
During my trip to Marrakech in 2010, I had an encounter with a young boy that I will never forget; he was hustling me on the streets to buy something of his–something that I am sure his parents encouraged him to do every day–but instead of becoming one of his customers, I simply took two Silly Bandz off of my wrist and handed them to him. (Why was a then 21-year-old wearing Silly Bandz you might ask? One of my favorite kids that I nannied, Reid, had given them to me before I left on the Semester at Sea program.) Serious language barrier aside, I knew I had made him very happy; I watched him as he admired the colorful shaped rubber bands with a huge smile on his face — it made me smile for weeks after leaving Morocco, and the thought still makes me smile to this day.
After that moment, I knew that I wanted to make kids that happy every time I traveled. I created a 4-page PDF, titled The Silly Bandz Project, and pitched to Silly Brandz Global why I wanted a donation of Silly Bandz to make children happy all around the world. After back-and-forth communication with Silly Brandz Global for about a month, I went home one afternoon to find a box of 7,000 Silly Bandz sitting at my front doorstep.
Thus far, I have handed Silly Bandz out to kids during my travels through Scandinavia, Northern Europe, Asia, Australia, Central America, and Kazakhstan. They aren’t much, but they sure do bring a little bit of happiness to the many children whom I meet along the way.