Beads Of Courage Program Brings Art and Inspiration Into Children’s Hospitals

Beads of Courage is a program that works to provide innovative, arts-in-medicing supportive care programs to children who are coping with serious illnesses. Jean Baruch, the founder of this program, received her inspiration from her experience as a camp nurse at one of Paul Newman‘s Hole in the Wall Gang Camps. She wanted to develop a program of hope that would bring support and strength to these children.

How it Works:

Upon enrollment each child is given the Beads of Courage bead color guide with a detachable membership card. Their Beads of Courage journey begins when each child is first given a length of string and beads that spell out their first name. Then, colorful beads, each representing a different treatment milestone are given to the child by their professional health care provider to add to their Beads of Courage collection throughout their treatment as determined by the Beads of Courage Bead Guide (available from Beads of Courage, Inc.) There are specific Beads of Courage Program Bead guides for cancer, cardiac conditions, burn injuries, and serious illness. All Program bead guides were developed in collaboration with experts in the field (nurses, doctors, child life specialists and social workers) so that each bead guide would reflect meaningful acknowledgment of a child’s treatment journey.

Beads of Courage is hoping to launch at 10 children’s hospitals, train 300 health care providers in the program and provide services to 10,000 children.

Through this unique program children can use colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate various milestones they achieve along their own particular treatment path.

There are ongoing benefits that are continuing to be evaluated. Some include

…..the decrease illness-related distress, increase the use of positive coping strategies, helps children find meaning in illness, and restore sense of self in children coping with serious illness. The program also provides something tangible the child can use to tell about their experience during cancer treatment and after.

Various artists have created and designed jewelry pieces to help support and raise funds for this cause. You can purchase their pieces through Artists Give.

There are many other ways you can help Beads of Courage, one is to purchase a Aflac Wingman Bead and Encouragement Book ($5), donate beads, or host events. For more information, visit beadsofcourage.org.