The Phillips Charitable Organization, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit known for its work with veterans, engineering students, and single parents, recently donated $25,000 to One Bead, an organization founded by Sara Wroblewski. While traveling in Nairobi, Kenya, Wroblewski met Anselm Croze, a local artisan who challenged her to raise $6,000 in support of a local school. She developed the idea of designing and selling beads made by hand from recycled glass, laying the foundation for One Bead.
Today, One Bead raises funds through the sale of jewelry to finance leadership programs worldwide and provide scholarships for students who have demonstrated a dedicated to social change and entrepreneurship. Phillips Charitable Organization offered unrestricted funds to One Bead so it can use them as they choose, and it was excited to hear about Wroblewski’s plans to replicate her Kenya programs and provide more urban children with projects that will help to cultivate their leadership and business skills while teaching them to work toward an attainable goal.
Empowering young people
Through donations such as the one received from Phillips Charitable Organization, One Bead plans to conduct more Youth Leadership Programs and empower more young people to become leaders in their communities. The organization believes that one student—just like one bead—can by a catalyst for change.
The Youth Leadership Program is at the heart of One Bead’s mission. The six-week program is designed to instill in elementary school students a dedication to giving back to their community. The first three weeks of the program involves leadership and business skills training. During this time, participants learn about research, budgeting, communication, and public speaking. After the first three weeks, students receive a grant of $1,000 and are challenged to use it to make a difference in their communities. For the next three weeks, students can determine as a group how they will spend the grant and create a tangible action plan.
One Bead has already conducted a dozen Youth Leadership Programs and looks forward to using the grant from the Phillips Charitable Organization to create even more opportunities. The impact of this program is clear: more than three-fourths of participants said they had greater confidence in themselves after participating, and more than 85 percent of the students agreed that everyone has what it takes to become a leader.
The student research projects that have sprung from the Youth Leadership Program have been truly inspirational. For example, students at Salem Academy Charter School researched the adverse health effects of sugary drinks, many of which are a significant source of calories. The group used the grant to provide every student at the school with a water bottle along with an informational card about forsaking unhealthy drinks.
Assisting people in need
Moreover, students at Neighborhood House Charter School established a program called Clothes and Sustenance—based on the Sweaters and Sustenance program founded by John Allen—to assist the large population of people in need in the Greater Boston area. The students used their grant to fill canvas bags with flashlights, hand sanitizer, and blankets, which were then distributed to men and women in need throughout Boston.
At North Street Elementary, students developed a social entrepreneurship program to address economic inequality in the school. After noticing that some students did not have backpacks, the group designed ones that they purchased with the grant. For every backpack sold, the group donated one to a student in need.
For more information about the various projects launched through the Youth Leadership Program, visit OneBead.org. The website features an online store with jewelry available for purchase to support the organization’s efforts. Made by hand from recycled window glass, the beads are created at Kitengela Hot Glass in Nairobi, Kenya. The beads feature one thick end and one thin end to symbolize the income disparities in the community, as well as a circle of unity that joins both halves.