Local Brownie troop 2973 learned firsthand what it means to think global but act local when they got involved in a project to help Ugandan women lift themselves out of poverty and offer a different kind of shopping experience for local women.
The troop, with the help of local Aly Elish-Swartz, organized a bead party through BeadforLife, an organization that aims to teach Ugandan women skills that can help them to earn money and eradicate their impoverished lives.
It is a two-fold program that exposes participants to an interactive curriculum on global poverty and then provides an avenue for participants to take action by hosting a bead party, which puts the handcrafted work of the Ugandan women on display for shopper to view and buy.
"The project just spoke to me," said Elish-Swartz, who hosted the party on a recent Sunday afternoon in her home. Proceeds from the sales are typically split with 80 percent going to BeadforLife and 20 percent to be used for the hosting group. The troop decided to forgo keeping there proceeds and instead determined that they would donate it to Sandy relief.
"It is good for the girls to feel like they are doing something for someone else," said troop leader Lisa Smith. "It makes them feel important."
Through participation in the curriculum, the girls learned that while extreme poverty exists in places such as Africa, some Americans suffer from poverty, including some on Long Island who lost nearly everything due to Hurricane Sandy.
The good will is not just kept among the troop, shoppers who were buying gifts said they would much rather avoid the mall and see the money used for good.
"I'd rather spend my money here, buying something unique and beautiful that helps others than spend time in a department store," said Ariella Werner, who was shopping that afternoon for a friend.
The beads, though made from paper, take on a glass like look. Bracelets, necklaces and earring made of bright, vibrant colors were laid on tables and the vibe was relaxed, not hustle and bustle.
As shoppers shopped, the girls practiced the art of rolling paper beads in a nearby room. "I don't like it when people have nothing, it's sad," said Ava Muffoletto, a third grader from Fort Salonga Elementary. "There are lots of poor people in Africa, but there are still poor people here."
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday, sign up for our free newsletter.
Follow Kings Park Patch on Facebook for updates on what's happening in Kings Park.