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BeadforLife Fundraiser event organized by Chatham student organizations
Students raise funds for worthy non-profit organization
By Kassie Collingridge

Copyright - Chatham University Heather Ditillo, Dr. Melissa Bell & Kassie Collingridge Pittsburgh, PA - Close to 100 members of the Chatham and local community gathered to listen to Heather Ditillo, MSW, Program Director of BeadforLife on Novemeber 10th, 2008. Hosted by the Social Work Department, SWIRL (Social Work is Real Life) and the Forensics Club, Ditillo brought tears to the eyes of her audience as they listened to her speak of the great work being done to eradicate extreme poverty for the women of Uganda and her personal experiences in her visit to these women.

BeadforLife, the Boulder, CO based company, was launched in September 2004 by Torkin Wakefield, Ginny Jordan, and Devin Hibbard to provide these women a market to sell their beautiful paper beads. Since the companies launch they have been able to assist these women in building 106 houses, a community building and two wells, trained 660 beaders to make beads for a regular income, launched a Vocational Education Program for Impoverished Youth, sponsored bi-annual leadership camps for vocational education students, graduated 150 members from BeadforLife program into self-sufficiency, developed grant programs to fund other organizations working to eradicate poverty and developed high quality bead products and jewelry bags. Over 5,000 BeadParties have been hosted by volunteers all of which help to obtain the companies mission to “eradicate poverty one bead at a time”. (

After Ditillo’s touching presentation, the Social Work Department and SWIRL presented a donation of $100.00 to help in the BeadforLife efforts and their own BeadParty was held where every was overcome by what Ditillo refers to as “bead fever”. A record amount of approximately $2,000 was raised that evening, all of which benefited BeadforLife. With such success, SWIRL and the Forensics Club hosted a second BeadParty which raised over $3,000, for a total of just over $5,000.
SWIRL plans on holding a BeadParty every fall.


08/28 Off the Record Event
08/27 BeadforLife Fundraiser event organized by Chatham student organizations
08/27 Vagina Monologues returns to Chatham
08/21 SWIRL Participates in NAMI Walk
08/21 SWIRL Holds Prom Dress Drive for Becca’s Closet
04/03 Chatham Social Work Students Travel to Harrisburg
03/24 NASW Applauds Passage of Social Work Month and World Social Work Day Resolution
08/25 Melissa Bell Joins Social Work Faculty
08/17 Social Work Faculty Research Accepted for Presentation at National Conference
08/17 Social Work Faculty Member Traveled to Egypt Through Fulbright-Hays Grant
02/12 Senator Costa visits Social Work class
02/02 Social Work Program Accreditation Continued until 2015!
05/09 Spring 2006 Commencement
05/09 Social Work Students Receive Honors
03/02 Representative Dan Frankel Speaks

Chatham University Social Work

Falk Hall • Woodland Road • Pittsburgh, PA 15232