Jean Baruch, founder of the Tuscon, Ariz.-based Beads of Courage Inc., visited Stella Niagara Education Park on Friday, Dec. 9, to engage students in a prayer-partner activity. SNEP partnered with Moore for Kids, a non-profit organization based in Cambria that focuses on helping children and families in times of need.
Stella Niagara students showed their support for kids facing cancer treatment by building strength bracelets to be given to Beads of Courage members. Beads of Courage Inc., is a non-profit organization that provides innovative arts-in-medicine support for children coping with serious illness.
"This is the largest group of kids yet to be working together to create the strength bracelets," Baruch said. More than 150 children, from pre-school to eighth grade, worked in small groups to string the beads to be delivered to children undergoing treatment at Buffalo Women and Children's Hospital and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Children who participate in the Beads of Courage Program are able to tell their story using the colorful beads as meaningful symbols of courage in the unique treatment path. Each bead represents something painful or difficult, but also says "I did it!"
The BOC "Beads in Space" exhibit was also available for students to view. These handmade beads flew 4.8 million miles at more than 17,500 miles per hour aboard the NASA Atlantis Space Shuttle Mission STS-132 and Endeavor Space Shuttle Mission STS-134. Baruch had displays of the one-of-a-kind beads that flew on the two separate missions.
Special guest, NASA Astronaut Dr. Larry Delucas, was present to talk about his space experience. Delucas, who flew on Shuttle mission STS-50, talked about performing everyday activities in space such as brushing teeth, taking a shower and changing clothes.
"My most memorable experience was looking down at the Earth from space," Delucas commented. "NASA should send a poet into space so that they could describe what it looks like."
Delucas told the SNEP community of the science and medical experiments that are performed in space. He encouraged the students to get excited about science and that reading was the key to learning any subject.