Journey Beads

What is the Journey Bead Program?

The Journey Bead Program gives children with cancer a technique to help them positively cope with their illness. This program guides them through their challenges in a nurturing way. We have partnered with Bronson Children’s Hospital to train volunteers for the program.

What are Journey Beads?

Journey Beads helps young patients honor their cancer treatments with tokens that symbolize each significant milestone in a tangible way. At the beginning of their treatment, each patient receives their name spelled out in glass beads. They are rewarded a one-of-a -kind Journey Bead after each chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. These beads celebrate their progress and gives them strength and hope. The beads allow the children to share their experiences with friends and family in a tangible way. Every time they are facing another uncomfortable needle prick, or another painful procedure, the beads are there to remind them of what they have already bravely endured. They serve as an ever-present visual reminder to take the journey one step, one bead, at a time.

Journey Beads are crafted with care by the hands of Glass Art Kalamazoo volunteer bead artists and each one is unique. In the hands of a child, they become precious keepsakes that tell a powerful story of strength, courage, and hope.

How Can I Help?

The Journey Beads program is supported by Glass Art Kalamazoo, the Bronson Health Foundation, and through a grant funded by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs as well as through individual community donations. If you would like to support the Journey Beads program, please click on the donate button below.

Join the Journey Beads team

Our flagship program Journey Beads is entering its 9th year, and continues to grow and impact the lives of both the recipients and the volunteer bead makers. Many of you have expressed interest in learning how to make Journey Beads, so we have created a new set of classes to give you the opportunity to get involved. In order to be a Journey Bead volunteer, you must complete both our two-hour “Make It!” Journey Beads class AND our two-day Official Journey Beads Training Course. Our upcoming schedule of Journey Beads classes is listed below. A limited number of scholarships are available for the Journey Beads training classes, please contact us for more information.

If you are an existing bead artist and would like to help, please contact us for more information.