If you follow GAIA on Instagram, you may have noticed a few new things for the smaller set. Maybe you spotted a sneak peek on an Instagram post with colorful arm candy that read: “New bracelets for the littles — likely to be borrowed by the bigs!”
Yes? No? Either way, we’re here to give you the scoop on those bitty bracelets.
With four messages — XOXO, CUTIE, I ❤️ YOU, and BFF — the bracelets are handmade by refugee youth in Dallas as part of a new GAIA initiative to provide work to local refugee girls and their mamas. We weren’t looking to start something new when opportunity knocked, but we know a need when we see one.
When we learned through volunteers from Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church working with students in the Vickery Meadow area of Dallas that a group of teens were frustrated by their mothers’ inability to find work, we took notice. When we heard that the students were asking how they could help, trying to determine what they could do to generate work, earn money, and improve their circumstances now that they are here in the United States, we all began to brainstorm together ways to engage these girls.
With wheels turning, we thought, What if we create a new collection for GAIA? We had considered expanding our existing Kids collection to include jewelry...Wouldn’t it be kind of perfect to offer bracelets for younger girls, made by older teen girls working to affect change in their own lives? And so we designed these cute new bracelets with the girls skills in mind, and partnered with the volunteers to train the girls and get them up and running. They were thrilled!
The students are really driving this initiative. These girls have grit. They have moxie. They are bright, eager and excited to work for what they want. Many of their families have survived serious trauma either before or after arriving in the country, and yet they are positive, energetic spirits who inspire us.
Look into their faces and you see tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. They will surely go on to be fashion designers and restaurateurs and captains of industry of all sorts. Watch their industrious hands and you know you are watching the creation of something much bigger than jewelry. That makes our hearts sing!
This new initiative truly exemplifies what GAIA is all about. The students get to help their families and we get to further support refugees in Dallas — and ensure a brighter future for these teens, because we know that empowered girls become empowered women.
* Special thanks to the dedicated mentorship provided by PHPC tireless advocates, Dalene Buhl, Gail Stoke, and Rev. Kathy Lee-Cornell, and our friends at Tasby Middle School, Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, and the Vickery Meadow Youth Development Foundation. ** Please note that absolutely no child labor laws are violated in this project.
More Neat New Things for Kids
The darling bracelets aren’t the only kids’ news we have for you, however.
We’re excited to offer monogrammed diaper pouches and the sweetest kids clothing from Folklore, another Dallas-based company with a mission for helping women improve their lives. Handmade in Guatemala with upcycled cotton from the New Denim Project, the striped skirts and dresses coordinate with some of our tops for a mother-daughter look that cannot be beat.
With diaper pouches that coordinate with large pouches for mama’s stuff, and large pouches that coordinate with little mouse purses, and pom-pom bags that match our mini hearts and mini kitties, there’s lots more mommy-and-mini goodness from GAIA.