Name: Heather Caton

Favorite Charity: World Genesis Foundation


I was asked to volunteer to teach an art workshop at a youth academy held in Romania. Little did I know it would change my life, and today, 7 years later, I am the president of World Genesis Foundation, but that is only my title. It is truly a collective effort that brings these educational opportunities to youth around the world.

This not-for-profit organization is 100% volunteer. Everyone comes from a place in their heart and a passion for the work, contributing in so many ways around a busy life of family, friends and other obligations. The programs are long lasting. They may begin at an academy, camp or youth program but the materials continue teaching and inspiring in schools, reaching and creating hope for so many youths.

We had the great privilege of connecting to Camp Bambanani, a youth camp in South Africa with a mission to inspire children and youth to be confident in their abilities to make healthy personal choices and a positive contribution to their communities. This resonated with us and the efforts they were making aligned with the work we were doing around the world. We sent them beads from Fire Mountain Gems® knowing that they were in need of materials for activities. I received a message, "Wow, we could not imagine getting these kinds of beads here; the children will be thrilled to use them." When we received the pictures, it brought many smiles to their faces and to ours.

Fire Mountain Gems also brought joy to youth at an educational program called Atlantykron Summer Academy of Learning, held in Capidava. The academy is held on an island on the Danube River. It is a small island that has no running water, electricity or other infrastructure. However, for 10 days each year, we transform the island into a very advanced learning Academy. We bring nearly 400 youth from around the region and world along with professors, experts, guests and partners together in a natural environment. Students and teachers live side-by-side in tents, participate in lectures and laboratories during the day with programs, study and have hands-on practice with advanced and emerging technologies, sciences, arts and culture and at night continue with presentations and fire side discussions.

We had a beading class as part of the Art's program and I worked with a young student who had a passion for beading and jewelry making, but never had access to many resources. She became so interested in supporting that she became my student instructor and she assisted with developing the class with needed materials and directions. She not only had the opportunity to develop and lead the program, she had the opportunity to create, dream and hope. It brought so much joy to see her passion that at the end of the class we gave her all the unused materials and she started a business in her home town creating and selling her beaded treasures. I love to see the outreach and support you give and share with so many. I had to share the way it is being forwarded around the world and to future generations, bringing so much joy.
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