|Broken to beautiful|
|Saturday, 21 July 2012|
by Sonja J. Keith
Much like victims of domestic violence, broken pieces of china are being transformed into something new and beautiful.
Broken China Jewelry pendants have been created by volunteers with the Women’s Shelter of Central Arkansas since 2008. According to WSCA Executive Director Beth Goodrich, the project is unique because it relates to the cause.
“Victims of domestic abuse often feel broken, they feel used, they feel as if their lives are not the same as they used to be,” the agency website states. “However we believe that victims can transition to survivors, and that they can be independent and beautiful. The process of making the jewelry changes broken dishes and china into independent, beautiful pieces of jewelry that have a new purpose in life. It mirrors the path the victim walks to become a survivor.”
Debra Stansel, a WSCA former board member, heard about a similar project and suggested it. Initially, the project was on a much smaller scale but expanded in 2009 with more volunteers involved in making the jewelry, which is similar in process to stained glass.
Today, about 20 dedicated volunteers – affectionately called “the jewelry ladies” – are involved in handcrafting the jewelry, packaging the items and selling them. Linda Fullerton and Ella Reese lead the efforts of the group, which meets at Four Winds Church.
“A lot of them consider it their ministry,” Beth said. “They are a special group. I’ve never had this kind of volunteer. They get as much out of it as we do.”
The china used for the jewelry is donated or purchased at flea markets. Pendants come in all colors, shapes and sizes. “There’s a piece for everybody,” Beth said.
Volunteers also take orders for custom pieces and have even fielded requests from out of state.
The jewelry makes great gifts, according to Beth, who explained that other shelters have purchased pieces for their staff. Pendants are available to purchase in a variety of locations throughout the 501 and at special events. (Visit conwaywomensshelter.com for a complete list. For more information about the jewelry project, contact Linda at 501.548.0251 or email@example.com.)
The project has provided vital revenue to WSCA and has become a major fundraiser for the organization. The other major fundraiser is “The Great Escape” planned Saturday, Aug. 11.
“We have grossed over $100,000 in jewelry sales,” said Beth. “The pieces are all $10 each and have always been. That’s a lot of jewelry pieces.”
WSCA was organized in 1995 to provide emergency assistance to domestic violence victims. It has served more than 1,200 women and 1,100 children. The Conway shelter can typically accommodate 18 to 22 women and children.
In addition, WSCA also provides a Sexual Assault Crisis Response program with a 24-hour crisis hotline – 866.358.2265.
Beth – who has been the director since 2007 – noted that due to state and federal budget cuts several shelters in the state have closed and are now just providing outreach services. “We’ve been really lucky,” she said. “We appreciate Conway and its support.”