Beads for Life: a student ambition

Liz Kelley sports her beads. Photo courtesy of Nia Doaks.
Liz Kelley sports her beads. Photo courtesy of Nia Doaks.

It’s a wonderful thing to see people of our generation giving back to the community. Elizabeth Kelley, a junior, was recently spotlighted in the News & Observer for what she did to give back.

“It was really crazy being interviewed by the newspaper; I didn’t think I was going to get recognized like that. When the News & Observer interviewed me, they did it over the phone. This was a little weird because I couldn’t see who I was talking to or anything, but I was still excited to be in the paper,” said Kelley.

Elizabeth works at the N.C. Museum of History as a junior docent. “Docents are just like volunteers at the museum,” said Kelley. “We lead the tours and man the spotlight carts, where the kids can come up and touch stuff.”

As a lover of history and a docent at the museum, she understood the need for new equipment there. The cameras were poor quality and needed an upgrade. And so, in order to raise money for this, she made beaded jewelry to sell.

She used beads from an organization called Bead for Life. These beads are made of recycled paper, and Elizabeth turned these into pieces of jewelry. “They’re really just simple and easy bracelets,” she said. “Making jewelry is a hobby of mine, so these were pretty fun to make”.

The idea occured to her when asked to help with a younger Girl Scout troop’s Silver Award. “I was looking for beads and came across these. I thought it was helpful because it was for a good cause and helping the girls,” she said.

The beads were bought with her own money which, in turn, donated money to the Bead for Life organization. She then used these beads to make her necklaces and bracelets.

Kelley did a lot of advertising and speaking to different people about her pieces of jewelry. “It was kind of like running my own small business,” she said. Elizabeth had no idea that her jewelry would become so popular or catch the attention of the local newspaper.

“I was glad I got to raise money for the museum and help people at the same time. It was a great opportunity.”


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