We’re thrilled to introduce Lisa Bernstein, social worker at a Long Island middle school and Experience Camps volunteer of six years. She started as a Unit Leader for us and transitioned by her second year to Clinician, a role she has served ever since. Lisa is counting the days until Experience Camps in Pennsylvania this summer! She is also creator of Beads4Proceeds, a bracelet company she founded that has allowed her to raise thousands of dollars in sales for Experience Camps. We spoke with Lisa recently to thank her and invite her to share her story.
How did you get involved in Experience Camps?
In addition to my love for camp in general (I was a camper and counselor), I chose to volunteer at Experience Camps because my dad died seven and a half years ago. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in 2011. He fought hard for two and a half years, and after he died, my friends and family were there for me but most of them had not experienced a loss like this. They are an incredible support system but it was hard for them to understand what I was going through. In August 2016, I became a volunteer at Experience Camps and my life was forever changed.
What keeps you coming back year after year?
Each summer I get the chance to witness the magic that happens when children have the opportunity to be with other campers who “get it” about grieving a family member. Working at camp is such a unique and incredible experience, and I am so lucky to have met some of the bravest and most inspiring children. Even though Experience Camps was created to help children, it has helped me get through the loss of my dad and provided me with an extended camp family.
Tell us about starting Beads4Proceeds.
I was extremely disappointed when I found out that camp was cancelled last summer due to Covid-19. Since the major fundraising events for Experience Camps also had to be cancelled, I decided to try to find a creative way to raise money for camp. I saw that beaded bracelets were popular on Instagram and that people were paying a lot of money for these bracelets that I knew I could make. So I purchased beads and started making bracelets.
Did you have a fundraising goal?
I started with a goal of $500. To my surprise, I raised that much in the first week I started Beads4Proceeds. So far, I have raised almost $14,000 making bracelets, including $7,000 raised for Experience Camps and the rest for various other charities. It’s been fun and rewarding, and I am proud of how much money I have raised so far. Plus, Beads4Proceeds gave me a platform to share my love for Experience Camps.
We’re proud of you too – and thankful! Can people still order your “ExCamps” and “FTK” (For the Kids) bracelets?
Yes! If you would like to purchase a bracelet, follow me on Instagram: @Beads4proceeds and message me to order. If you do not have Instagram, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I make a variety of bracelets that range in price, starting at $15. I can customize and design any type of bracelet for any price point! I live in New York City, but I ship all over the U.S.