Pekin, IL

In the last four years, Dr. Michele Moul of Pekin, Illinois, has hosted 12 events and raised more $43,000 for BeadforLife. The secret to her success? She says it’s simple: “My heart is in it."

Michele first learned about BeadforLife in a visit with her friend Julie Elion of Washington, D.C., in 2010. They met up for a girls’ weekend, and Julie brought Michele a gift that changed everything.

The gift was a bag of bright, beautiful jewelry made from paper beads. Michele was amazed. “I couldn’t believe they were made from recycled paper,” she says.

But even more amazing was the story behind them—a story of women overcoming years of extreme poverty, civil war, and hardship to build a better life for themselves and their families.

“Julie told me to pick anything from the bag that I liked. I asked whom to make the check out to, and she said, ‘No, this is my gift to you, but I want you to go home and host an event,’” says Michele. So she did.

At her first party, Michele hosted more 100 women, and received local press coverage. “It exceeded my wildest expectations,” she says.

But that was only the beginning. Michele’s parties have included a local YWCA party focused on girls’ education and a party with the City of Pekin, where attendees were able to Skype with two of the BeadforLife members in Uganda.

“It touched my heart (and everyone there) to see their beautiful faces and radiant smiles, and to hear them share their stories,” says Michele. “It made it all real. These women were empowered, happy, and successful thanks to the skills and opportunities they gained through BeadforLife. If my participation with BeadforLife can, in any little way, help foster these wins for women, I'm all in!” says Michele.

“I couldn't believe they were made from recycled paper." – Dr. Michele Moul