LARSON: Making recyclables into jewelry

Julie Scott of Suwanee has been working with Apparent Project since its inception, selling the jewelry at schools, churches and private homes.

Julie Scott of Suwanee has been working with Apparent Project since its inception, selling the jewelry at schools, churches and private homes.

Carol Channing may think diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but to a poor mother in Haiti, empty cereal boxes are the most eco-friendly commodity in the world. In fact, one cereal box can yield up to $40 for a family in need when “up-cycled” into bracelets, which are created by rolling strips of cardboard into beads.

This program, the Apparent Project, also collects soda cans and other “garbage” to recycle into jewelry, notepads and household items to help families rise out of extreme poverty by providing employment. And as a bonus, this artisan project helps keep litter out of the environment.

Julie Scott of Suwanee has been working with the project since its inception selling jewelry at schools, churches, private homes and wherever people are willing to help out by purchasing these one-of-a-kind works of art.

Her connection with Haiti began in 1984 when she took a trip while in college at Vanderbilt University. Charlie and Mary Scott, pastor and long time Young Life staff, had established a school with a local pastor in one of the poorest areas in Haiti. The Good Shepherd School was built block by block by Haitian laborers and U.S work teams over the past 30 years. It grew to serve over 1,200 students and over 150,000 meals a year. On Jan. 12, 2010 it all came tumbling down during the earthquake.

The Scotts are now Julie’s in-laws and she has joined them in their efforts to rebuild the school and to ensure that the children of the community receive hot meals and a quality education.

Their organization, Haiti Child Sponsorship, helps fund the school through child sponsorships, grants and other fundraising efforts like the Apparent Project jewelry sales.

“I had never witnessed such extreme poverty before visiting Haiti. It opened my eyes to the overwhelming needs of the world. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like one person can do something. But knowing that I can make a difference in one life — or even 1,200 at The Good Shepherd School — brings me great joy,” Scott said.

It doesn’t take much to help make a difference. The jewelry is very inexpensive and each bears a tag with a little story about the person who created it. The pieces make wonderful Christmas or Hanukkah gifts for friends, teachers, cleaning ladies, sorority sisters, or anyone who might appreciate a little “thank you” gift on any occasion.

But for those not interested in buying jewelry, they can still contribute to the cause with no purchase necessary.

“Last year our church kids collected cereal for the local co-op and then took the cereal out and sent the boxes. Win-win,” Scott said.

Sounds like a real gem of an idea to me.

Information on purchasing jewelry or hosting a show: www.haitichildsponsorship.org or julie@haitichildsponsorship.org

Information on sending cereal boxes to Haiti: www.apparentproject.org

Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.