Saturday, December 13, 2014

Beads of Courage for Ill Youths
Quite accidentally we happened upon an interesting segment of a beading show. Fascinated by the Beads of Courage program featured, we searched for more information.

As we have mentioned before, a mentoring organization’s service involvement in the community with other programs is essential just as businesses must give back and serve. Collaboration and support are key.

Through the Beads of Courage program, youths with serious, usually long-term diseases receive special beads for their treatments and procedures. Disorders can include:
  • Cancer and blood disorders
  • Cardiac conditions
  • Burn injuries
  • Neonatal ICU families
  • Chronic illness
Some youths have hundreds or thousands of beads. In case a child is too small to wear the weight of the beads themselves, a parent may wear them.

Oklahoma has three hospitals involved.  

  • The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center, Oklahoma City
  • The Children's Hospital at St. Francis, Tulsa
  • Procure Proton Therapy Center, Oklahoma City
These hospitals take young people from all over the state and surrounding areas so that no matter where you mentor or tutor you have local children mentally and physical combating diseases for their very existence.  

Each bead, a tangible reminder, has significance and tells a story about the wearer to others participating in or knowledgeable about the program. For example, a magenta bead stands for an ER visit, a square heart bead indicates a transfer to ICU, and a white bead for chemotherapy. 

Among the art aspects of the program is a bead design contest, e.g., what does courage or love look like. A little booklet with all the designs submitted and the names of the young designers is created, and the winning bead is executed and replicated. The program encompasses so much more including opportunities for woodworkers, quilters, and volunteers.

We won't even mention the psychological/therapeutic aspects of the beads earned.

How could a local mentoring program participate? Explore the site and think. What could you do long distance if you live far from Oklahoma City or Tulsa? What could you do if you are in one of the urban areas? Could your organization raise funds for beads for a local youth receiving treatment far from home? Is there a way you and your mentors or mentees could volunteer? Send us your suggestions applicable to your situation.

Among the many You Tube videos related to this subject were these must-see ones.

“Published on Jul 13, 2014
This video is about my Beads of Courage. Each bead represents a step in my journey with mitochondrial disease.”

Beads of Courage on CBS Sunday Morning

“Uploaded on Mar 24, 2011
December 12, 2010 - For more than 100,000 years, glass beads have been given as symbols of honor and accomplishment. Now they're being used for something else -- to help kids fighting cancer tell the story of their illness, first to themselves, and then to family and friends. Mark Strassmann reports.”

Ret. 12-9-14

Postscript: These two videos might be worthwhile to any young people encountering obstacles. 'Mentor-mentee conversation, lessons learned discussion, values, resilience, hope...?

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