RACINE — It’s not often that you see a 10-year-old boy involved in the focused, detailed work of jewelry-making.

But last week in local bead shop Funky Hannah’s, 324 Main St., roughly a dozen kids invited to take part in a beading and jewelry-making camp, set themselves to work making sparkling, fun and ornate creations.

With instructors, including DeAnna Poelmann, Joann Haas and Funky Hannah’s owner Amanda Cosgrove Paffrath, the children completed a number of projects.

They crafted mosaic pendants using a fast-drying epoxy clay and homemade glass tiles; loom-made bracelets; glittering wall hangings using driftwood, wire and translucent glass beads; and decorative cooper discs etched via the magic of ferric chloride.

On Thursday, the group sat around tables in the back of the store, working on their projects with what organizer Jane Brosseau described as “smoldering enthusiasm.”

“I don’t really have a favorite (project),” said Alani Riche, 11, who will be attending McKinley Middle School next month. “I like them all.”

The camp itself had come about thanks to Brosseau and Alpha Delta Kappa-Tau, an international honorary organization of female educators dedicated to educational excellence, altruism and world understanding.

Brosseau and the sorority had recently made a connection with Vidal Calvario Tepox, a famous dance teacher with ties to the Otomi, a tribal culture indigenous to the state of Pueblo in Mexico.

The tribe had recently begun to make and sell their traditional beaded necklaces to raise money for a teacher to instruct their children about their culture. Tepox, who has long worked with the Otomi to preserve their culture — including their folk-dance traditions — bought up a bunch of the necklaces.

Sharing beading

Instead of keeping the necklaces, he gave them to Alpha Kappa Delta-Tau to support the education of kids in the Racine area.

The group then sold the necklaces and used the proceeds to pay for the jewelry camp at Funky Hannah’s. Many of the kids game from Bethany Apartments, a nonprofit organization that provides transitional housing to victims of domestic abuse. The rest of the kids came from Janes Elementary School.

“We thought maybe one of the best things we could do is pass on beading to (students here),” Brosseau said.

Cosgrove Paffrath was equally pleased about experience, as was Pamala Handrow, executive director of Bethany Apartments, who said the nonprofit was grateful for the opportunity for their youngest clients.

“They were such a fun, creative group of kids,” Cosgrove Paffrath said on Friday after the last day of the camp.

“They were hugging each other and saying goodbye and they gave a really sweet card to DeAnna,” she said. “It was really sweet to see the friendships that were forged.”



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