Buttons of Love

Name: Maryna Layedra

Favorite Charity: Buttons of Love

Instagram: botones_de_amor

How did you discover this charity?

I created it.

What makes this your favorite charity?

My love for art and giving.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

This is my voluntary buttons fundraiser which I named Buttons of Love. I am using buttons for a focal point to teach jewelry expressive / art classes for cancer patients and survivors. Using our hands and keeping our mind away from the lifestyle. Enriching our spirit within the creativity while expressing our emotions and feelings.

Janet's Jems for Healing

Name: Lori Slavin

Favorite Charity: Janet's Jems for Healing

Contact: lorislavin@aol.com

How did you discover this charity?

I started it in 2015.

What makes this your favorite charity?

It helps cancer patients while they are receiving their chemo infusion to forget, for at least a few minutes, why they are there and to let them know that there are many people supporting them.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

Through this program at the Massachusetts General Hospital, I make one-of-a-kind necklaces and deliver them to cancer patients while they are in the infusion unit receiving their chemotherapy. I serve about 150 patients a year. It is incredibly rewarding, and the patients are so grateful for this small gesture of support. If anyone would like to donate necklaces they have made, please contact me at my email address above.

Common Art


Name: Dede Cadieux

Favorite Charity: Common Art

Website: http://commoncathedral.org/common-art

How did you discover this charity?

I was lucky enough to discover them when they were given a booth right next to me at a church in Chestnut Hill, MA, where I have been doing a Christmas Boutique show for years. They were sharing what their program does and selling folks artwork. This was about 3 years ago and I have been volunteering teaching beading every Wednesday in Boston at their program ever since!

What makes this your favorite charity?

This program gives so much to people who are 'housing and life challenged.' Every Wednesday we all gather at the Emmanuel Church in Boston from 10-2 to create all sorts of art. I have friends who have donated beading supplies to me to enable these folks to create jewelry to keep, sell or give as gifts. It is an amazingly caring and uplifting community. People who have nothing come in and are part of a caring community where they feel valued and are away from all of the challenges they face every day for at least a few hours. Each Wednesday we get between 60 and 80 artists! They are from all over the world.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

I have been blessed with the ability to take what I know how to do from my jewelry business of 30 years and teach my skills to others empowering them to create their own jewelry. The smiles and proud looks on their faces says it all.

Free Charity Cars


Name: Sonya Howell

Favorite Charity: Free Charity Cars

Website: http://www.freecharitycars.org

How did you discover this charity?

My husband works FT and goes to college FT when I broke my back in 9 places and when our car broke down, he is a veteran and we are in our 40's and so he was also taking care of me after my surgery they donate cars for those who have a car donated to them or cash donated or votes for the people who need cars and hopefully one day soon get one. In the mean time I want to help those in need also.

What makes this your favorite charity?

Every one really cares about each other.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

I plan on making jewelry and donating it to this charity.

Buffalo City Mission and Cornerstone Manor

Name: Barbara Coyle

Favorite Charity: Buffalo City Mission

Website: https://www.buffalocitymission.org

How did you discover this charity?

It's been a major blessing to people and families in need in Buffalo, New York for many decades.

What makes this your favorite charity?

This organization has helped thousands of folks who need a hand up, who need a fresh start in life. I will be contacting the arm of the ministry called Cornerstone Manor, which provides shelter for women and children. I have jewelry I want to donate, to possibly encourage and bless the women they minister to.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

I have been planning to contact this charity, and others in my area, to donate jewelry and to collaborate on fundraising jewelry events. Reading your article today was a big ''Yes'' to spur me on to bless others with my jewelry. I have donated jewelry in the past to non-profit auctions, basket raffles, and other fundraising events. So these are my plans, and I will be contacting Fire Mountain again to let you know of my progress. I have been a Fire Mountain customer for several years now. I am a life-long artist and began making jewelry almost 10 years ago, 2007 or 2008. Thank you, Fire Mountain, for being such a great company!

Concern for Animals

Name: Victoria DeBoer

Favorite Charity: Concern for Animals

Website: http://www.concernforanimals.org/

How did you discover this charity?

They are local to where I live and I have known about them for several years. I love garage sales, so I make a point to go to theirs. They also host a wine tasting, dinner, silent auction and live auction event each year called "Toast for Tails". It is very well attended and a great source of funds for their organization.

What makes this your favorite charity?

I have always loved animals. Their mission is to help spay and neuter pets, sponsor a pet food bank for those in need and assist with medical bills. I believe you shouldn't have to give up your pet because of the cost to feed them or not having the money for medical care. Animals give so much to their human friends; it just seems right to give back to them.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

In 2016 I donated a necklace and earring set I made in honor of my dog, who passed away last year after a battle with cancer. I volunteer at the event and enjoy the enthusiasm of the participants. I plan to make another jewelry set for this year's event.

Alzeimer's Foundation

Name: Kathleen Hauler

Favorite Charity: Alzeimer's Foundation

How did you discover this charity?

Living in an independent care facility.

What makes this your favorite charity?

Friends with the condition.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

We have a small group of women called "Bead Buddies." We meet twice a month to bead and sell them about 4 times a year at special events in house. We raise over $1,000 a year for our charity! With only a 1/2 dozen women, we think that's great!

St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center


Name: Peg Rubley

Favorite Charity: St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center

Website: www.sjncenter.org

St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center offers health services to the uninsured and under-insured in Rochester, New York.

How did you discover this charity?

In the 1990s, I was working with some charities in and around Rochester, New York, and this organization had an amazing reputation. Its director, Sr. Chris Wagner, is a dynamo, and works tirelessly to get the community involved in SJNC. She and her staff have recruited doctors, nurses, dentists, massage therapists, mental health counselors to volunteer some of their time to this Center. In addition, medical residents from the famous University of Rochester/Strong Memorial Hospital also donate their time attending to the Center's clients.

If you ever need advice on how to operate a successful health clinic for those in your community, look no further.

What makes this your favorite charity?

Their relentless work for those in the community that need their services, and all the professionals they have recruited to make the Center a success. They treat their clients with dignity. They also have great fundraising ideas, and hold a successful Gala every year. I have donated my jewelry, painted glasses, and other items to their Silent Auction every year since 2004.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

Since 2004, I have been donating to St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center Silent Auction. Once I started donating to them, I had some requests from other charities. Each year, I try to add one more charity to donate my necklaces to for their Silent Auctions. In 2016, I donated about 100 of my necklaces for 14 different charities within the Rochester, NY area. It is a wonderful feeling to donate to these good causes and good people, and a way for me to use my talent for worthwhile causes. I am selective about which charities I donate to as I often try to concentrate on those that help women and children.

I feel blessed to be able to do this, and I am grateful to the volunteerism that exists in my community!

Shelter for Help in Emergency

Name: Wendy Nix

Favorite Charity: Shelter for Help in Emergency

Website: shelterforhelpinemergency.org

How did you discover this charity?

I've known about it for years; I honestly don't remember how I learned about them.

What makes this your favorite charity?

S.H.E is a shelter for women and children escaping from domestic violence. One of the most terrifying things about being in an abusive relationship is how dangerous it is to leave. Women are murdered every year because they finally have the courage to escape. S.H.E is a safe place for them to go. The location is secret, the building is kept secure, we have food and other necessary supplies, and we offer help for the women to start new lives.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

It's not about what I make. It's about what the residents make. Someone brought in some jewelry supplies a while back and started the Bead Bag. Being the biggest bead freak volunteering at the shelter, I took it over. The Bead Cart, as it's now known (it long ago outgrew the bag, then bags - have I mentioned that I am a bead freak?) has everything that the residents need to make jewelry. They often come to shelter with nothing but their purse and what they're wearing, so they love being able to make jewelry that is not only attractive, but something that they can take pride in wearing because it's their own work! And making things is both therapeutic and fun. Having something fun to do is a treasure for someone who has been through what our residents have endured. Thanks to Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, I've been able to afford to keep the cart well stocked, so there is always plenty to stimulate the imagination. If I had to rely on craft store and bead store prices for everything I would only be able to offer a small fraction of what I can now.

If you work for a domestic violence shelter, or any other kind of women's shelter, I highly recommend starting your own Bead Bag. It really has made a world of difference for some of the women here.

Project Homeless Connect

Name: Patricia H Hiss

Favorite Charity: Project Homeless Connect

Website: www.unitedwaywhatcom.org/project-homeless-connect

How did you discover this charity?

My brother-in-law is the major fund raiser and organizer of this yearly event in Bellingham, Washington.

What makes this your favorite charity?

This annual event not only provides every service imaginable for over 700 clients (from haircuts and photos to ID's and reiki), it creates an atmosphere of kindness and respect for volunteers and clients. The feeling of wellbeing and worthiness given each client is palpable, and visible in smiles, thanks, and often tears of joy.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

For two years now, PatricianCrafts, my one-of-a-kind jewelry business, has donated 50 and then 100 pairs of earrings. Recipients, male and female, young and old, received this gift with astonishment. But at the end of the day, my cousin Pam, who assisted me, and I were the ones who benefited the most from the wonderful joy of sharing.

WCA (Women and Children Alliance)

Name: Eva Jones

Favorite Charity: WCA (Women and Children Alliance)

Contact Information: info@wcaboise.org

How did you discover this charity?

My granddaughter works there.

What makes this your favorite charity?

They and other women's shelters help women in need.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

I make jewelry and donate it to women's shelters, nursing homes etc. I know this is not an essential need such as food or shelter but I feel a pretty piece of jewelry can help a woman who is down and out feel better about herself.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training

Name: Rachel Arntson

Favorite Charity: The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training (LLS and TNT)

Website: http://pages.teamintraining.org/mn/grndma16/RArntson

How did you discover this charity?

Probably in the hospital originally, but I was also invited by a friend to join Team in Training after a co-worker's daughter was diagnosed with leukemia.

What makes this your favorite charity?

My daughter is a leukemia survivor. She was diagnosed at age 6 and is now a healthy married 25 year old. I am very grateful for her life and what LLS has done to find cures for all those with blood cancer.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

I do not make jewelry, but I am a mosaic artist. I purchase beads to use in my many mosaic pictures. I sell these mosaics and give 100% of the money to LLS. I also have Mosaic Break parties where I teach people how to mosaic. I do not charge anything for these classes, but I just ask people to give of their heart and kindly make a donation to LLS.

Options for Southern Oregon and Bead for the Cure

Name: Lisette Root

Favorite Charity: Options for Southern Oregon, and Bead for the Cure

I participated in the Rogue Winterfest by donating to the Options Christmas Tree Auction, but I love Bead for the Cure too.

Website: optionsonline.org

Charity contact information: Options of Southern Oregon

How did you discover this charity?

I wanted to participate in fundraising for those in need. My husband Merle Root works at Options, so I was excited to donate for the Christmas Tree Auction.

What makes this your favorite charity?

I love that this is a community wide event, and so is Bead for the Cure. Options helps those in crisis and Bead for the Cure is helping to cure breast cancer. I love you both!

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

I love to give and make even a small difference in the lives of our communities. It makes me happy.

I work on my art at home, and my husband Merle lets me know when a gift is needed for a charity event through Options. It makes me feel good to give!



Name: Josephine M Dalton

Favorite Charity: ''SOPA'' - (SOUP)

Website: cofchrist.org

Charity contact information: Community of Christ, 73 Rua Cunha, Poa, Sao Paulo Brazil

How did you discover this charity?

It is a part of my faith community that I do missions for each year. I am a self-sustained ordained minister. Part of a worldwide faith community of shared ministry congregations.

What makes this your favorite charity?

It is a charity that enables people who live in relative poverty to care for people in absolute poverty. Youth and Elderly prepare a hot meal. Older children load the vehicle and young adults visit people living in the streets, taking food to those who are not able to get to help agencies. They service 3 neighborhoods. People in the community drop off socks, clothing, blankets and even table cloths that they have to help people get covered. No one is left out and people who used to be recipients are often the givers in time, because they are given a connection back to the community.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

I string as much jewelry as I can and sell it at church camps, conferences, craft shows, and recently online. I use the money from sales to donate to SOPA and to help sustain other ministries. I paint the kitchen where the food is made with an elderly gentleman who lives in Michigan, but used to live in Brazil. Sometimes my money covers airfare for people from Brazil to come to the USA for training conferences and also to get respite care from the difficulties of impoverished life. The goal of my work is not to support the people as a hand out, but to help them stand on their own two feet and give back. I also send my beaded work around the world to people in poor communities who either keep it as gifts or trade them for things that they need for their homes. Their homelands in turn have inspired my "Dare to Ware" women's line. It is all exotic styles that are worn around the world. When people ask me why I do this, I use it as my opportunity to share about the plight of people around the world who are hungry and in need of care. My work is not just for far away though, gift pieces have gone to Detroit Hope in Michigan, a women's shelter in Kansas City, Missouri, and any place where I can help people to know that they are loved beyond the walls of their communities. The photo I included is of an 8 year old boy named Pedro, he is an avid SOPA helper and possibly one of the world's most compassionate kids. He never complains about what he does not have, and is glad to give whatever he can in church and in the community.



Name: Julie Taron

Favorite Charity: Bead-It-Forward

Website: http://bead-it-forward.com/page/2/

How did you discover this charity?

Bead and Button Magazine

What makes this your favorite charity?

My mother was a long term breast cancer survivor. Many people don't have access to early detection. We need to fund even more research into the cure as well as prevention and better, more effective and less traumatic treatment options.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

I love loom beading and the small square format is a natural for this technique.

2015 Westie and Scottie Rescue Houston Fundraising Auction

Name: Julie Taron

Favorite Charity: 2015 Westie and Scottie Rescue Houston Fundraising Auction

Website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WSRHauction/

How did you discover this charity?


What makes this your favorite charity?

Westies are so full of personality. They raise funds to save and find homes for our little Highland buddies.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

I donated a quartz necklace, which I had restyled and restrung, to their online auction. When completed, I liked it so much I Westiefied it by adding a gold Scottie charm (H20-4079FX) to the chain closure. Bidding for this very simple necklace ended at $20. All donations totaled together raised $11,691.00 for the buddies!

Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Health Center


Name: Jessica Babcock

Favorite Charity: Glenwood Autism and Behavioral Health Center

Website: https://glenwood.org/

How did you discover this charity?

Roger and I have been involved with autism from the early 1990s. We found Glenwood in Huntsville, AL when we moved here last year. Our son was the first child to be successfully diagnosed with autism in the Dallas, TX area during the early 1990s. The schools worked with UNT in Denton and our son to help teach the special ed teachers about autism. When we moved to Tucson, AZ, we were very involved with the Tucson Alliance for Autism (TAFA). Our son was in their first class where they taught social skills. After what we went through with our son, it has been our hope that no other parents will have to go through the helplessness we had before our son was successfully diagnosed.

What makes this your favorite charity?

Glenwood worked with Calhoun Community College to set up an official college group that will be geared toward people who are on the ASD. Glenwood also is working toward certificate programs that will help those who have autism become gainfully employed. This is very important to me because of the large numbers of children who will become adults over the next few years. This number is staggering and will continue to grow. We need to have safe communities where the young adults can continue their training and eventually become self-sufficient.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

I would like to develop a jewelry certification program with Glenwood that is geared toward those with autism. I love teaching autistic children/adults because they are so creative. I will be putting in my shop jewelry that brings awareness to autism starting this weekend. I'm calling the angel necklaces Angels for Autism because all profits from this jewelry will be given to Glenwood so they can develop more programs. I'm also hoping there will be enough money so I can develop and teach jewelry classes to those with autism. All most of them need is a little confidence and training to become successful, independent adults.

African Missions for Christ

Name: Holly McElroy

Favorite Charity: African Missions for Christ

Website: http://www.africanmissionsforchrist.net/

How did you discover this charity?

My parents started this charity.

What makes this your favorite charity?

This charity helps kids and families in Africa that are in need by giving them supplies.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

We provide salvation bracelets to the children and this might be the only piece of jewelry they might see in their life time.

The Walter Hoving Home for Women

Name: Mary Soderberg

Favorite Charity: The Walter Hoving Home for Women

Charity contact information:

The Walter Hoving Home

40 Walter Hoving Road

PO Box 194

Garrison, New York 10524--9989

How did you discover this charity?

Through church. The ladies come to churches in the area to sing and minister by telling their stories of how they were rescued through this Christian organization and the impact that faith in Jesus Christ has had on them and created a healthy and productive woman out of an abuser of addictive chemicals, drugs, alcohol or even sex addictions. There are some abused women there also.

What makes this your favorite charity?

Because it is local, but the women come from all over. All the funds and item gifts are used to assist the Home to rehabilitate those seeking help. Most of these women come to the Home with very little, for all has been lost through their circumstances. Some were even sent there by the courts.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry--making or creative process?

I make jewelry all year and at Christmas time my church's women's Bible study that I attend gathers items that would bless and help the ladies of the Home. I provide jewelry (earrings, bracelet and necklace sets) for each basket filled for the residents. We fill a basket for about 50--70 women depending on the numbers living there at the time. That is a lot of jewelry, 50--60 sets of jewelry, and I include a special Christmas pair of earrings for the Holidays besides. Putting the baskets together is so much fun because each is different. Some of our study members make cards and write special letters to whoever gets the baskets. We don't know who gets them but we hear back from the Home about how wishes for special things or jewelry or books were answered when they opened their baskets on Christmas morning. All our efforts to bless the ladies are anonymous and we just love to do it.

Portland Oregon MS Society

Name: Margarita Clewett

Favorite Charity: Portland Oregon MS Society

Website: https://www.msoregon.org/

How did you discover this charity?
When I moved to Oregon a few years ago, I began to hear about all the folks in this area with M.S. After a bit of questioning, I found that alot of us moved here. The weather is much easier than the humid Tennessee summers and the cold winters. I also found out that this wonderful state of Oregon helps more than I was used to. I live in Brookings and can't get to Portland for the big fund raisers or any of the other stuff, but I get informative letters and offers of help should I need it. This is not a forgiving illness and my family suffers when I am in so much pain, all I can do is cry. It makes a difference knowing someone is out there trying to help.

What makes this your favorite charity?
I guess the fact that I have it and, to me, it's not a charity, It is my life!

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?
I would like to set up a web page and give back a percentage of my sales to the MS society of Oregon. Jewlery making keeps my hands limber

Lion Club

Name: Wendell Davis

Favorite Charity: Lion Club

Website: wl.davis@live.com

How did you discover this charity?
I'm president.

What makes this your favorite charity?
Helping children.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

Kids Unlimited of Oregon


Name: Jane McAlvage

Favorite Charity: Kids Unlimited of Oregon

Website: www.kuoregon.org

How did you discover this charity?
I have been working with Kids Unlimited of Oregon since 2001 to raise funds that support safety net/wrap around programming for high poverty children and youth in Jackson County (specifically West Medford and White City). Currently Kids Unlimited is serving 1,500 children, youth and their families to remove barriers that impede learning at grade level which is predictive of dropping out of school. Over 50% of the service population is of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity.

What makes this your favorite charity?
Kids Unlimited of Oregon has proven that with wrap around supports, long-term supportive relationships that hold children, youth and their families accountable, that our most vulnerable resource--our children--can be kept on track for graduating from high school and continuing on with some form of post-secondary education and/or training. Kids Unlimited of Oregon works closely with the schools, the families and social service agencies to close the gaps that appear with dis-connected youth.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?
I have donated many of my custom made necklaces to the Kids Unlimited auction events and will continue to do so in the future. I have also been grateful to lampwork artists for donating their "not quite perfect" beads to our children who participate in social-skills groups for team building activities (making jewelry).

Special Operations Warrior Foundation


Name: Robi's Rock 'n Bead Designs

Favorite Charity: Special Operations Warrior Foundation

Website: http://www.specialops.org

How did you discover this charity?

I heard about them in a news story and did some research. I've always had a passion for the military. When I learned more about this organization I became very motivated to support them. Around this same time in my life I was starting to grow an interest in jewelry making--especially with the gemstones. One day I got the idea that I could make jewelry to sell and donate the profits to this charity.

What makes this your favorite charity?

Special Operations Warrior Foundation is a top-rated nonprofit organization that supports the military’s special operations forces and their families through three programs: college scholarships, family services, immediate financial stipends for families of wounded or fallen soldiers. Over 84% of the charity’s budget is spent on programs and services it delivers. It has been rated a 4 star charity by Charity Navigator 8 years in a row.

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

100% of the profits I earn from my jewelry business (Robi's Rock 'n Bead Designs) is donated to this charity. I sell my jewelry at church craft shows, home jewelry parties, on etsy.com and at my place of employment. Since 2010 I have raised over $11,000 for the charity through the sales of my jewelry.

Relay for Life McCracken County, Ky

Name: Diane

Favorite Charity: Relay for Life McCracken County, Ky

Website: acsevents.org locally: tom.dolan@cancer.org

How did you discover this charity?

My husband was on the committee that started the "Relay" here around 20 years. At the time he was recovering from surgery that he had for a malignant melanoma.

What makes this your favorite charity?

Since then ''the relay'' has been near and dear to our hearts. We have had many family members and friends affected by cancer

How is this charity connected to your jewelry-making or creative process?

I caught the beading ''bug'' several years ago. This year, my sister-in- law was trying to come up with a fund raiser for our family team. We came up with the idea to do bracelets for the participants and they would add a bead for every lap of the track they made. As you can see I have ordered a bunch of your add a beads. But we wondered if you had any ''economical'' ideas for things to string them on. Thanks in advance for any ideas or help. The Relay is on May 1.

Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research


Name: Linda Johns

Favorite Charity: Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research

Website: www.stopsarcoidosis.org

I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis.

Sarcoidosis is a rare disease, there is very little known about the cause of it. Treatment is to treat the symptoms. FSR helps the patient with resources and is looking for a cure.

Rare Disease day is February 28 and National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month is April. I will be donating 20% of my sales to the foundation. I also make awareness jewelry. I started my jewelry business on Facebook called Adventures of the Heart. It has helped me keep my mind off from my illness gives me a creative outlet.

Food For The Poor Inc.


Name: Cynthia Scranton

Favorite Charity: Food For The Poor Inc.

Website: www.FoodForThePoor.org

Dates back to Aug. 23, 2005, the date of Hurricane Katrina. I wanted to give back through my art work at that time. I didn't do any beading just art work. Later on I designed and developed a new Rosary bracelet design that no one had ever come up with before and is now trademarked.

I wanted to give back to the community: "As often as you did it to one of the least of My brothers and sisters, you did it to Me." Matt. 25:40

While sitting in a chapel, the Holy Spirit gave me inspiration ... "You are going to make and develop a Rosary bracelet. It will be different in that no one has ever made this before." "You will make this and here is what it will look like." I had seen a vision of it. It was a round facet cut crystal blue bracelet on a wrist. The Holy Spirit also mentioned that "I would meet a woman across town who will teach me how to make the bracelet." Yes! Eventually I did meet this woman, and she said "I will teach you how to make the bracelet." Without telling her the vision that I had seen and heard! I completed the bracelet, and the rest is history.

Minnesota Association for Children's Mental Health


Name: Tisha Sherdan

Favorite Charity: Minnesota Association for Children's Mental Health

Website: http://www.macmh.org/

I am a patient and family advocate and have worked with numerous non-profit organizations and have donated exclusive jewelry designs for their silent auction. I have a passion for the disability community especially children. My latest partnership is with Minnesota Association for Children's Mental Health (MACMH) where I am a certified support parent who gives support to families with children with mental illnesses.

It focuses on a unseen disability that has a stigma around mental health and I want to educate and break the stigma about children's mental health. When people with mental illness are looked at physically most people will say, "Well you look good". Some people cannot wrap their arms around mental illness because they cannot see it. Just like the heart, lungs, or kidneys can fail so can the brain.

I designed and donated a necklace and earring set in November 2014 that was specifically made for MACMH Gala Silent Auction. The color green is the mental health awareness color. I am not only a jewelry designer but an advocate for the disability community. You can check out my website at www.collaboratinginclusion.com.

Life Outreach International - Rescue Life


Name: Celeste Hutchison

Favorite Charity: Life Outreach International - Rescue Life

Website: lifetoday.org

I am part of a church group about Human Trafficking awareness. The group I am in makes handmade items for people who have been rescued from sex trafficking, such as jewelry, scarves, hats, etc.

1.2 million children are victimized each year throughout the world. Two children are sold into sex slavery every minute. Rescue Life mission is to reach, rescue and restore these children. It breaks my heart that little ones as young as 2 or 3 are sold into sex slavery in different parts of the world.

A friend and I did a craft fair in October. I make jewelry and she paints scenes on sea shells. Together we donated half of our sales to Rescue Life and were able to send enough to rescue 3 children from sex slavery. I now have my jewelry on consignment and 10% of all my sales are being donated to Rescue Life.

National Health Care of Rossville

Name: Vicki McCurry

Favorite Charity: National Health Care of Rossville (nursing home)

My mom is in this home. We play bingo twice a week. The elderly players are like children. They enjoy anything you give them. I've been making them bracelets for 2 years now to win at bingo. They really love the faceted bright crystals. Some of these patients have no visitors and get no gifts.

The picture is mom in the nursing home. She's 85.

Dignata Jewelry: Jewelry that Changes Lives

While working with orphanages in India in 2010, assisting them in developing micro businesses to become more self-sustaining, James and Shannon Doherty were contacted by Project Rescue in Pune. Project Rescue is one of many homes throughout the world offering a safe haven and new beginning for those rescued from human trafficking. Having heard about their work with orphanages, the directors of Project Rescue approached the Dohertys for assistance in setting up a micro business that would help the girls (many near 13 years old) transition out of the home. This was the birthplace of Dignata Jewelry, a non-profit organization that designs lines of beautiful jewelry, handmade by girls and women breaking away from a life of exploitation.

Dignata: Latin: dignitis, from dignus, "worthy." Thought worthy of. Dignata is jewelry that changes lives, restoring dignity and hope.

Dignata Jewelry: Jewelry that Changes Lives Dignata Jewelry: Jewelry that Changes Lives Dignata Jewelry: Jewelry that Changes Lives Dignata Jewelry: Jewelry that Changes Lives

"When we were initially looking into types of businesses that would be appropriate for Project Rescue's residents, we looked into jewelry-making. It's fun and requires low overhead, inventory and space. And, we thought it would be good for all girls," says James.

Dignata Jewelry: Jewelry that Changes Lives Once the Dohertys and Project Rescue settled on jewelry-making as the business to launch, numerous decisions had to be made. "It was important the designs were handcrafted and individual, so the girls could add their own flair. We found jewelry-makers to come to India and teach--and we learned as well. Neither one of us had made jewelry before," notes Shannon. "We did a lot of research on jewelry trends that would be popular and appeal to a worldwide market."

"One of our biggest challenges was finding jewelry-making supplies," James says. "It was hard to find suppliers in India, particularly in the local markets. Availability and consistency was very limited. We spent a lot of time searching out suppliers. In January, 2011, we discovered Fire Mountain Gems and Beads. Fire Mountain has consistent products and supplies, so the designs could be mass-produced."

Through their connection with Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, the Doherty's dream of creating expanded opportunities for more girls in other rescue shelters became a reality. A consistent, reliable source of quality supplies was essential for the growth of Dignata Jewelry, so they could continue offering a brighter future to the new, hope-filled jewelry makers.

Within a short time after teaming with Project Rescue, the Dohertys joined a second rescue group, Good Shepherd Homes, to initiate a jewelry-making business for their residents--girls who had been rescued from the street before they were subjected to trafficking.
Dignata Jewelry: Jewelry that Changes Lives

Dignata Jewelry: Jewelry that Changes Lives "In addition to jewelry-making, Dignata helps these young people set up bank accounts and much more, teaching them how to run a small, profitable business they can call their own," says James. "Returning to the streets without skills can be perilous for girls coming out of rescue homes. As it stands, they can't quit prostitution without an alternative job that pays a real living wage. Otherwise, they are begging for jobs. With jewelry-making, they not only have a creative skill set, but one that provides an income and builds confidence--all stepping stones towards a new future. Girls affiliated with Dignata go on to pursue education in a variety of fields. Some start their own small businesses."

Dignata not only teaches the young women to design jewelry, but supplies the components and tools, and then buys their finished product. These new jewelry artists receive pay that is higher than the average living wage in their country, enabling them to support themselves.

"It's exciting to see people's lives transformed," says James. "I watch girls' faces light up when they have a pile of pieces and supplies and make something beautiful with their own hands."

"We tell them that people love their jewelry," Shannon adds. "They love to hear their jewelry brought someone joy. Jewelry-making helps them reintegrate into society. It is part of the healing process and rejuvenates their self-worth."

"In trafficking, they literally do not feel like humans. No one treats them like anything but an object. Through this opportunity, they learn they have so much to offer," James says.

Currently, Dignata operates in five locations: three in India, one in Latvia and one in the Netherlands. "The homes are like a real family," says James. "Right now, there are thirty women on waiting lists for the five different homes. These homes free them to live without returning to trafficking." Four additional cities have asked for a Dignata branch including Prague, Budapest, Moscow and Houston.

Over the past four years, Dignata Jewelry has established itself as a social entrepreneurship providing opportunities for trafficked, destitute or at-risk girls and women to move into productive, economically independent futures.

Dignata Jewelry can be purchased on their website, as well as at parties, church events, in bookstores and more.