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Skaneateles' DFW hosts Bead for Life

Women study social issues during a relaxing night out at Mandana Barn:

The Skaneateles Chapter of Dining for Women (DFW) knew it was going to get a larger than usual turn out for their second Bead for Life program, so they asked Heather Carroll if they could use her family's Mandana Barn (mandanabarn.com). The Mandana Barn is a community gathering place for West Lakers, and home to the Mandana Barn Film Fest each Memorial Day weekend. It was also the perfect setting for the 90-plus DFW attendees, which included many mothers and daughters and a lot of first timers. The crowd gathered for a potluck, a little shopping and an introduction to Bead for Life through a short film introduced by DFW Chapter leader, Amy Schiek.

DFW has a mailing list of about 80 and with today's hectic schedules they get approximately 20 people to a typical monthly event. Each woman brings a dish or perhaps a bottle of wine or seltzer and together they study a social issue. Because they aren't dining out, attendees often donate what they would have spent at a restaurant to the cause of the evening. DFW is a national organization, so women around the country gather each month to study the same women's issues.

Schiek said sometimes the topics are pretty heavy such as human trafficking, but Bead for Life is instead a pretty uplifting topic. DFW members were encouraged to forward the event to their family and friends on their e-mail lists, which is why the turn out was so good.

Bead for Life as economic engine

Bead for Life is an economic engine set up to aid women living and working in extreme poverty in Uganda. If they did work, before becoming beaders, it was often in a quarry pounding rocks for $1 a day. Bead for Life is something they can do from their homes or even with friends. They make beads out of paper and then string and set into different jewelry options, such as necklaces, bracelets or earrings in many styles and colors. Beading, the women can make five to seven times their usual wage - which keeps the price down - insuring a market for their wares.

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