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Peekskill Students Create Beads For Life

PEEKSKILL -- Inspired by a life-transforming cottage industry benefiting women in Uganda, Peekskill High School art students and their teachers created African bead bracelets to benefit social programs for women in the African country.

“We accomplished two major goals with this project,” said Peekskill High School art teacher Heather Brown. “The beads are made from recycled material – old magazines – and so the students learned to reuse a product and create something beautiful with just their imaginations and some effort.”

While making bracelets, students learned about Uganda and the life of people in poverty there. Beads for Life is a charity founded in 2004 that helps women in Uganda become self-sufficient through jewelry-making and education programs.

“We developed our bead-making technique based on the Bead for Life program,” said art teacher Liz Damiano, who along with fellow art teacher Sarah Soyko also participated in the project. “All the proceeds from the bracelets we sell will be donated to that charity.”

In addition, the students learned that bead and bracelet making is a complex, multi-step process that takes creativity and also patience and fine motor skills. “We use a template to cut out the bead shape, then roll the beads, shellac them, and when we have enough, string them to make the bracelet,” said student Christian Vele.

The bracelets were sold for $10 each in the high school’s main office and raised about $500 for the charity.

For further information on the Peekskill program, contact Heather Brown at (914) 737-0201. For more information about Bead for Life, visit their website at www.beadforlife.org .

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