At the top of this blog it says “because every piece of jewelry tells a story”…and some are more moving and compelling than others. This is one of those stories, and it began a long, long time ago.
I started elementary school in Houston in the late 1960s, and despite a move to the Washington DC area in 1974, I have stayed connected to – or reconnected with – many of my Poe Elementary classmates.
One of those people is Sarah Gish – proud native Houstonian, PR maven, artist, philanthropist and all around amazing woman. A big part of Sarah’s story is her brother, Geoffrey, who died in 2004 at the age of 43, from complications resulting from his addictions.
Last summer, Sarah put up a Facebook post about a new project she was starting – working with sober teens at Archway Academy to make bracelets featuring key words linked to their continued recovery:
1. Trust in spirit…trust
2. Take care of yourself…nourish
3. Meditate each morning…meditate
4. Commune with nature…commune
5. Listen to your heart…listen
6. Be of service…serve
7. Connect with love…love
8. Always be grateful…thank
9. Allow forgiveness…forgive
10. Explore your creativity…create
11. Learn something new…learn
12. Enjoy life…laugh
With that post, she asked if anyone had extra beads they might donate to the project, and I certainly did.
I went through my bead box, sorted out a lot of things I hadn’t looked at in far too long, and sent them off to Sarah. Turns out, I wasn’t alone – a lot of people did the same thing – and she ended up with quite a stash to start her project.
Fast forward to late last year, when Sarah posted an update about the project. She said that the kids had made the bracelets with “LOVE and potato chips”, and that these bracelets would be for sale, and the kids would make work.
She also said that she had learned from her brother’s widow that he loved making bracelets – how’s that for karma?
Finally, she shared pictures of some of the bracelets; when I saw they contained some of the beads I’d sent to her, I felt an incredibly fulfilled, happy and grateful. I have so much – and by allowing me to be part of her project - Sarah truly gave me a gift.
I can’t think of a better way to start spring - and this season of renewal - than by helping these brave kids - and the wonderful folks who are supporting them – to continue to write their stories.
Sarah’s project is ongoing, and continues to take bead donations ANYTIME. You can learn more about this project, and her IGNITE YOUR LIFE art project and community campaign by visiting their website (http://www.igniteyourownlife.com/).
If you have extra beading supplies you’d like to destash – and contribute to a great cause, you can ship them directly to Sarah. If don’t have beading supplies, but would like to help – there’s a “donate” button or you can send your contribution to:
1940-A Fountainview, PMB 116
Houston, TX 77057
Until next time.