Volunteers of America to open Beaded Treasures Project retail store on Fourth Street

By Kevin Gibson

Volunteers of America Mid-States on Thursday, April 18, will open the Beaded Treasures Project, a new retail shop, on South Fourth Street, just south of 4th Street Live.

Officials say the store at 564 S. 4th St. is part of a Volunteers program to enable refugee women to become entrepreneurs. The retail space will be located next door to the Volunteers of America headquarters.

Local Volunteers leader Surekha Kulkarni is the founder of the nonprofit. According to a news release, she already has trained hundreds of refugee and immigrant women in Louisville to make and sell jewelry and accessories.

The goal of Beaded Treasures is to provide women with the tools and resources to overcome economic, social and language barriers to become successful entrepreneurs and artists.

The women purchase jewelry-making supplies from the organization and the money is paid back only when a piece of jewelry is sold. The cost of the supplies are heavily subsidized by donations. The program also includes instruction in jewelry-making techniques and marketing methods.

“When Surekha approached me and said she was both interested in growing the impact of Beaded Treasures and thinking about an eventual succession plan, I knew Volunteers of America was the perfect home for her amazing program,” said Jennifer Hancock, president and CEO of Volunteers of America Mid-States in the release. “The women we serve in our VOA Recovery Freedom House program are the perfect fit for our joint vision of empowering women.”

Other initiatives involve having people in the community host jewelry parties at their homes to help sell the jewelry and further promote the program. Local artists who work with the program also donate time and material, while donating a portion of sales of their works.

Thursday’s opening at 10 a.m. will include a ribbon-cutting with Volunteers of America representatives.

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