Wow! First I would like to thank IKEA, the IKEA Foundation, and Save the Children for giving us co-workers the opportunity to see firsthand the impacts we have made with the Soft Toys for Education campaign. Our goal as a company is to make sure these children are receiving the education they deserve. When I found out I was selected by my store to go, I was a bit overwhelmed. On my drive home I had my iPod playing on shuffle. The song “Hysteric” by The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s came on. I felt moved, empowered and blessed that I would get to see firsthand how this Soft Toy campaign affected lives. When the lyrics of the song came on (“Flow sweetly hang heavy / You suddenly complete me / No wonder no wonder / Other half, strange steps / Heels turned black / The cinders they splinter / And light the path / These strange steps /Trace us back trace us back.”) I knew that these children have a brighter future, thanks to our partnership with Save the Children.

I then became very excited and spoke with Andrea S. who had taken her journey to South Africa. I think it made a huge impact on our co-workers the next year in speaking with the customers about this campaign. I wanted to do more than just affect the coworkers. I wanted to affect our customers. I want to thank them for making this campaign a huge success. I want to bring back the story not only to my coworkers, but my community as well. I want them to see how their generosity did more than just give a child they know a soft toy – it went worldwide and helped children all around the world. That is what my goal is this trip: to actively make sure our customers and coworkers are as “hysteric” as I am about this campaign. I look forward to write more about our journey while in Indonesia and when we get back.

    Mike Martinez