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January 2011

In This Issue
Valentine's Day Monkey Grams
Meet Our Monkeys
Featured Task
Remembering Michael

Take Action 

Donate Now

Join us on Facebook

Meet our Team

Join our Mailing List

Create your own online fundraiser

Save the Date  

Behind the Scenes Tour



March 9th


Monkey Merchandise 

Monkey Hugs stuffed monkeys

T-shirts, mugs, and more


Craig and Minnie

Happy New Year! It is an exciting time at Helping Hands as we head into our 32nd year. We are grateful to all of you who donated to the year end appeal allowing us to continue to give the  gifts of independence, companionship, dignity, and hope. 

You may have noticed that the newsletter has a new look. We continue to spotlight a monkey in every Alison and Mollyissue, and have added a new section highlighting training tasks. In this issue we are honored to remember one of our recipients, Michael, who passed away in December. 

In the coming year, we look forward to sharing new placement stories, introducing you to our wonderful monkey helpers, incredible recipients, and dedicated volunteers. There is much to be done-  with your help and support together we will make these stories a reality in 2011. 




Noelle and all of your friends at Helping Hands

Ways to Get Involved

Send a Valentine's Day Monkey Gram

Monkey hand heartWant to do something unique for that special someone? For a $10 donation, we will mail them a Valentine's Day Monkey Gram. Great for teachers, parents, coworkers, children, best friends, and of course the one you love!

If you decide to purchase online, please make sure you tell us the name and address of the person you would like us to send it to. All payments and addresses need to be received by Wednesday, February 9th. For more information please contact Noelle at or 617-787-4419 ext. 105 or buy now here.


You might remember Sydney, a 13 year old girl and her MonkeyHugs Foundation who were recently in an  e-newsletter. Since then, Sydney Monkey Hugs Imagehas donated $10,000 to us as a result of the sales from her adorable stuffed monkeys. A huge thank you to Sydney for all of her support- she has truly gone above and beyond! Need a gift for someone? Support Sydney and The Monkey Hugs Foundation here. All the proceeds help our monkeys in training.

Attend our Behind the Scenes Tour

Blake in bathDate: Wednesday, March 9th
Time: 6:00-7:30pm
Cost: $30 per person

Ever wonder what monkeys actually do at Monkey College? Find out and meet the amazing trainers during a behind the scenes tour of our facility and a demonstration of a monkey getting a bath! Enjoy light snacks and refreshments as you learn more about our program and what we do. Tickets are limited- contact Noelle at to order yours.

Helping Hands SurveySophie with a Pen

In thinking of our New Year's resolutions there is one that stands out. This year we would like to get to know you, our family of supporters, even better. One of the most important ways that you can help us is by taking time to fill out the online survey we will be sending you next week. Your anonymous responses will give us insight into what we can do even better.

Meet Our Monkeys

SammySammy has recently come to Monkey College from his foster home and has begun his monkey helper task training to become an invaluable companion to one of our recipients. He is currently in the B Room, the mid point of the training process. His favorite activity thus far is "sun" which involves flipping a light switch on and off. The hardest part of the task is learning to only flip it once!Allyson and Sammy

When not training Sammy is a goofy guy who loves playing with Allyson, his trainer, and all of his new monkey friends. With a personality as big as his, we know that he will not only bring independence, but also laughter to a recipient one day! If you would like to support Sammy and his friends in the Training Program please click here

Featured Task
Foot is one of the more advanced tasks taught here. Monkey helpers learn it in the final room of training, called The Apartment which they advance to after 2-3 years of training. This task typically takes a monkey helper 1-3 months to master. It is necessary because many of our recipients have muscle spasms that often lead to their foot falling off of the pedal of their wheelchair. If left off of the pedal, the foot can act as a break leaving a person stuck and potentially causing further damage.
Artie doing foot
Trainers teach this by shining a laser on their foot and initially rewarding the monkey when they touch it. Eventually the monkey helper can learn through positive reinforcement that they are supposed to reposition the foot on a pedal. The task is done using the command word "foot".
Remembering Michael

Michael and TobyWe are sad to share with you that one of our longtime recipients, Michael, passed away in December.

Michael became involved with Helping Hands over twelve years ago when he received his first monkey helper. His mother shared with us how much he enjoyed having a monkey and how she became the center of activity in his home. Being able to keep a close eye on all of his monkey helper's needs gave him a renewed sense of control in his life. Of course he greatly benefited from the tasks, and as he said, "My monkey's playful,Michael Reed and Toby childlike antics bring me laughter and joy over and over each day." He shared with us his favorite part of having a monkey helper, "My hands were broken, but her hands were perfectly fine. The feeling of her human like hands upon my face. The warmth of her body cuddled up against my neck as she takes a nap upon my chest. "

Michael's courage, strength, and spirit will be greatly missed by all. We were lucky to have him as part of the Helping Hands family.
About Us
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Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled, is a national 501 (c) 3 organization and member of Independent Charities of America. We place specially trained capuchin monkeys with individuals living with severe mobility impairments. Relying on private contributions, Helping Hands provides our service animals and their lifetime support free of charge.