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Jean Baruch, Director BOC, Visits Atlanta

March 2009

A Note from Robert Simmons,

Last week I had an experience with Beads of Courage that I wanted to share with the glass bead community.  Jean Baruch, President and founder of Beads of Courage, was in Atlanta for a short visit with our programs at Children’s Health Care of Atlanta. My wife and I went to the hospitals with her to meet some of the children and families as well as the staff who deliver the programs.  It was quite a day.

First we were impressed with the enthusiasm of the staff for the bead programs.  We saw ‘Courage Beads’ proudly worn everywhere we went.  The care givers were really into the whole concept and told us over and over again how much it all meant to them.  They told us about how the beads help them communicate with the children in difficult circumstances. This was all pretty cool.

 The real kicker, though, was talking with the children and their families about their experiences and their beads.  Some of the kids were feeling better than others, but all brightened up when ‘the bead lady’ came in to see them.  There were beads on IV stands, around necks, hung from different areas around the rooms. Some were strung so that all of the same colors were together, some were in order of when they were given and others were just random.  There were short strands and frighteningly large collections.  Some of the kids wanted to talk and show us their bead collections, others managed little more than a smile and a wave. They could, though, tell us what just each bead was for and when they got it.  The parents were excited about how the programs helped engage kids that could otherwise be pretty distant.  There were handshakes, hugs, smiles, laughs and a few tears along the way.  Stories were told and lives were shared.  It was (and still is) a very emotional experience for all concerned.

The day gave us a look into a world that most of us can’t really even imagine.  The kids and their families find themselves sequestered in their rooms for days, weeks, sometimes for months at a time.  The beads donated by our community bring a little light and happiness into this world that can be more than a bit on the dark side.  Rest assured that every bead is treasured.  You do great work out there, I want you to know that I’ve seen just how much it really does matter.

Robert Simmons

Director for Bead Donations

Beads of Courage, Inc.

March 18 2009




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