By Donna Visocky
“If not me, who? If not now, when?”
This column features and salutes those amazing people who are seeing a need or problem and responding to the need, each in their own way, big or small. They don’t wait for someone else to fix things – they just step up and do it. They answer the call to create positive change in the world. If you know of a Beautiful Spark, please send me their story, we know there are many of you out there, email@example.com. Thank you to all you Beautiful Sparks who are bringing such light to the world.
Olivea Barton – Changing the World one Dolly at a Time
In 2012, 14 year-old Olivea Barton made a doll using recycled materials for a high school art class project. Her teacher fell in love with the doll and bought it for his daughter. Shortly after, Olivea and her family took a mission trip to Nicaragua where she developed a close connection to the children; she wanted to put a smile on the face of every little girl she met.
Upon returning to Colorado, she started making dolls to gift to the little girls in Nicaragua. And so was birthed the Oli-Bo-Bolly Dolly. Every Dolly comes with a very special tag. On it are truths able to last a life time:
You are beautiful/Tu eres hermosa
You are one-of-a-kind/Tu eres unica
You are loved/Tu eres amada
You are special/Tu eres especial
You are created for a purpose/Tu eres creado para une preposito
Tags are translated into the language of the recipients and as often as possible spoken to them as the doll is given.
Determined to find a way to fund the project so she could send more dolls, Olivea began selling some of the dolls locally. For every doll sold, she was able to make another one to be donated. Thus her motto: “Buy a doll, give a doll.” According to Olivea, “Most families in Nicaragua are living on $2 a day or less, thus buying a toy is rarely a priority. The gift of a doll communicates to these children that they are loved, that they have value and that someone knows they exist.”
In 2014, Olivea won an entrepreneur contest and was awarded seed funds to take her project to the next level. She was now able to hire a seamstress to increase production and began to sell the dolls in local stores in Colorado. Her real goal however, was to empower women in Nicaragua economically by providing them an income. She returned to Nicaragua later that year to host sewing workshops. Out of the workshops she was able to hire a project manager and six seamstresses. She also acquired a local tourist retailer to sell the dolls. Her new motto: “Buy a doll, give a doll, give a woman a job”.
Through Olivea’s one-of-a-kind Oli-Bo-Bolly Dolly, North American children can have the opportunity to not only purchase a doll for themselves, but at the same time, gift a doll to a child in a 3rd world country who might otherwise never have the pleasure of playing with or owning a doll for themselves. The global impact at its core is JOY! Today her Oli-Bo-Bolly Dollies are selling across America, and her matching dolls are employing women in Nicaragua and distributed there, elsewhere in Central America and Nepal! Olivea saw a need and came up with creative ways to respond to that need using her talents and interests. www.olibobolly.com