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Beads of Courage

BOC Butterfly Tutorial

Beads of Courage Butterfly Tutorial by Sharon Peters. Written by James Kervin.

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ISGB & BoC Team Up

The International Society of Glass Beadmakers is proud to support Beads of Courage.  

The Program is a resilience-based intervention designed to support and strengthen children
and families coping with serious illness. Through the program children tell their story using
colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage that commemorate milestones they have
achieved along their unique treatment path.

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.) 

The Beads of Courage® Program is available for the following: 

  • Cancer and Blood Disorders 
  • Cardiac Conditions 
  • Burn injuries 
  • Just launched in November 2010: Neonatal ICU Families 
  • Coming in Summer 2011: Beads of Courage for children coping with a chronic 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. 

How ISGB Members Can Help


Beads of Courage programs depend on donations of all kinds of handmade beads. Thank
you for your donations!

Guidelines for Glass Beads:

  • Do not use reduction glass, frits, powders or enamels that leave a metallic surface
    on the beads.
  • Any size or shape is acceptable.
  • Preferred hole size is 3/32" and larger (1/16" holes are accepted).
  • The inside of the bead should be free of bead release.
  • No sharp corners, sharp edges on the bead holes, cracks or protrusions that would
    easily break off, including hearts with long, delicate tails.
  • Beads must be fully kiln annealed.

Please remember that these beads are worn and handled by children and
should be sturdy enough to stand up to wear and tear. 

How to Donate Beads

Mail donations to:

Beads of Courage
10501 E. Seven Generations Way
Suite 161
Tucson, AZ 85747

Print and fill out this Bead Donation Form and send with your beads.

Please do not send or directly deliver your beads to member hospitals. 
All beads must be inspected, logged and packaged at Beads of Courage headquarters.
Your beads are important to us. Please be sure to package securely!

How Glass Art Beads are Used

Act of Courage Beads

Handmade glass beads are used as Acts of Courage beads. Children choose from this
selection to acknowledge special milestones, a particularly rough time or for instances
not on the regular bead guide.

Heart Beads

Red Heart beads are used in our cardiac program.

Direct questions to Robert Simmons, Director of Bead Donations 
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Compassion and Courage Butterfly Program

Beads of Courage provides every member hospital one-of-a-kind, handmade butterfly
beads that are given to every parent who has experienced the loss of their child.
Butterflies are well known symbols of peace and hope. Beads of Courage graciously
thanks all member artists for their donations to maintain our Compassion and
Courage Butterfly Programs.

What happens to my donated beads?

When your beads arrive at the Beads of Courage, Inc. headquarters they are:

Counted (if not pre-counted, BOC does appreciate when an artist pre-counts the total
number of beads donated.

Separated based on size (all sizes are welcomed!), smaller beads are considered Acts
of Courage Beads. Larger focal beads are used for Bone Marrow Transplant and Cardiac
Member's Choice (for children who have heart transplants and/or cardiac surgery).

Each bead is individually packaged in a small, clear ziploc bag with the appropriate insert.

Each bag is then individually packaged for distribution and used in the clinical setting.  

Beads are then sent to any one of our member hospitals based on need.  All member
hospials place a regular bead refill order with BOC based on their need. 

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Beads of Courage