Rye Neck High School members of the Spanish Club have raised $865 for the Pulsera Project, a nonprofit organization that educates, employs and empowers Central American artists through the sale of colorful handwoven bracelets, or “pulseras” in Spanish.
Twenty-five students took the initiative to sell bracelets and purses, which were handcrafted by artists from Nicaragua and Guatemala. Led by students Adesuwa Carlton, Kimberly Carlton, Nicole Pereira, Joshua Rubin and Elona Sebbane, who shared the art and stories of the Pulsera Project with their peers, club members sold 143 bracelets and 15 purses.
"When I first found out about the Pulsera Project, I thought it was an amazing idea,” said Rubin, a sophomore and club president who contacted the organization to receive the materials and instructions. “I immediately knew that I needed to bring this incredible fundraiser to our school. I thought this would be a perfect initiative for the Spanish Club. At the end of this project, everyone who worked on it, including myself, realized the importance of helping others.”
Each colorful bracelet and purse – which was a one-of-a-kind, wearable work of art – contained a tag with a picture and signature of the artisan who made it. Angie Garcia, a Spanish teacher and club adviser, said the money the students raised will help fund construction of schools, housing and welfare programs in Nicaragua and Guatemala.
“The unique and colorful patterns, and the connection to the people who made them, motivated the Spanish Club members to want to raise funds,” Garcia said. “The students’ involvement in this project connected to their Spanish studies by providing information about the population, typical dishes, scenery, work and education customs in Nicaragua and Guatemala. The students better understood the economic challenges that young people their age face in these two countries.”
Given the success of this year’s fundraiser, students said they plan on hosting another fundraiser and provide school community members with the opportunity to further enjoy the handcrafted art while also supporting the artists and their families.
“We are grateful for having the opportunity to help people in Nicaragua and Guatemala,” said Sebbane, a sophomore and events coordinator for the Spanish Club. “The Pulsera Project gave Rye Neck students a chance to become familiar with beautiful works made by hand by many talented children and adults from other communities.”