By LINDSEY KING
Special to the H&T
During the last two weeks of October, student volunteers at David Crockett High School expanded their reach to people in Central America through The Pulsera Project.
Students in the Spanish Club and Spanish Honor Society arrived at school early and sacrificed part of their lunchtime to sell the bracelets, called pulseras. This is the first time Crockett students have tackled this service project.
“I think it’s a good cause,” said Spanish Club Student Council Representative Dakota Hammonds. “All the money goes to help Central American countries, and I think the bracelets are pretty cool. I like that they’re handwoven.”
The Pulsera Project is a non-profit organization that employs nearly 200 independent artists in Nicaragua and Guatemala to make these bracelets.
The pulseras are intricately handwoven and often brightly colored. Like the artists who make them, no two pulseras are the same.
From brown and black leather to shades of blue, purple, neon yellow and green thread, the artists use a diverse palette to create angular designs, stripes, and the occasional animal. Each one takes about an hour to make, and is then tagged with the artist’s picture, signature and goals.
The project was also an opportunity to learn about life in these countries, and the students surrounded their selling table with educational displays to inform classmates about the programs The Pulsera Project supports. A poster advertising the sale featured two pulsera-adorned hands shaking, a symbol of cooperation and friendship.
“Kids in Central America need scholarships to go to high school,” Hammonds said as one of the key things he has learned.
The pulseras sell for $5 each, which not only pays the artists but also helps to fund other programs that aim to improve access to housing and education in their communities.
“It benefits everyone who’s touched by the project in a way that’s going to be ongoing, as opposed to something that’s a one-time handout,” said Spanish teacher Hope Pritchard.
For Crockett students, participating in The Pulsera Project offers a chance for students to act as what Pritchard called “global citizens.”
Participating students volunteered their time to sell the pulseras, and some even checked out bracelets to sell outside of school.
“It’s not a fundraiser,” said Pritchard, meaning that neither the Spanish Club or Honor Society will receive any money from the sale. “It’s nothing but a global service project. One of the things the Spanish Honor Society believes in doing is global assistance.”
Although pulseras are the main focus, Crockett also received small bags, called bolsitas, to sell. The bolsitas are square pouches with a woven outer layer featuring vertical stripes and fringe at the bottom. The bags are handmade in Guatemala and come in both muted shades and bright neon colors.
According to the organization’s website, The Pulsera Project partnered with almost 600 schools in 2016 to sell more than 130,000 pulseras and almost 5,000 bags. Since its founding in 2009, the non-profit group has raised almost $3 million.
Crockett students aimed to add another $500 to that total.
“If we can help a couple of kids go to college or high school even, that’s well worth the money,” Pritchard said.
To learn more about The Pulsera Project, visit pulseraproject.org.