April is Community Service Month. You'll likely soon be reading lots of news stories of big projects such as cleaning up local parks or building houses for those who cannot afford them. While those types of projects are exciting and worthwhile, small actions by individuals on ordinary days can be just as meaningful.
If you're a jewelry designer or bead maker, you already know this. You may have donated beads to Beads of Courage, which uses handmade beads to help children with cancer mark milestones. Maybe you've used ceramic Kazuri beads or hand-rolled paper beads made by women in Africa in one of your jewelry designs. A couple years ago, I and many others made denim blue bracelets for the 7,000 Bracelets for Hope program that gave them to families who were dealing with rare diseases. I've recently learned about a new jewelry-related movement that I wanted to share.
Mary Fisher, artist and author of the memoir Messengers, created the 100 Good Deeds Bracelet as a way for individuals to make a difference. She was inspired by filmmaker Thomas Morgan, who created the 100 Good Deeds game with his family. A good deed, by his definition, is an anonymous act that involves going out of your way to help someone.
Women in Zambia, Rwanda, Haiti, Uganda, and Johannesburg make the bracelets that Mary designed. This project not only gives the women a way to support themselves and their families, but also helps the larger community. The wrapped bracelets are hand braided with a fine nylon thread and strung with 100 glass beads and a single rubber ring. The women use a lucet, a horn-shaped tool that dates back to the Viking era, to create the braided cords.
Each time you do a good deed, you move the ring on the bracelet one bead closer to the "1GD" button. I love the idea of wearing a tangible reminder of how your small actions may make a big difference in the life of someone else. You can learn more about this project on the 100 Good Deeds Bracelet site.
Please share information about other jewelry or bead-related projects that changing the world for the better. I'd love to hear it!