The Beaded Treasures Project retail store will sell jewelry hand-made by immigrant women who have relocated to Kentucky. | Courtesy Beaded Treasures Project

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.

Surekha Kulkarni, founder of the non-profit project. | Courtesy Beaded Treasures Project

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.

Kevin Gibson
Kevin Gibson tackles the 3Rs — retail, restaurants, real estate — plus, economic development. He loves bacon, loathes cucumbers and once interviewed Yoko Ono. Check out his books, “Louisville Beer: Derby City History on Draft” and “100 Things to do in Louisville Before You Die.” He has won numerous awards for his work but doesn’t know where most of them are now. In his spare time, he plays in a band called the Uncommon Houseflies.Email Kevin at [email protected]