Beaded Treasures at Volunteers of America

Beaded Treasures is your source for beautiful, hand-crafted jewelry and accessories.  A program of Volunteers of America, Beaded Treasures empowers women and families while promoting economic independence. Stop in on First Fridays! The have a Free LouLift Stop right at their doorstep!

Who We Are

Beaded Treasures started in 2012 as a small group of ten refugee women working to complete a single retail project. Beaded Treasures has grown under Surekha Kulkarni’s leadership into a full-fledged female-driven social enterprise. Since its founding, Beaded Treasures has trained 300 underprivileged women with tools and resources to overcome barriers to success.

Beaded Treasures trains women in jewelry making and other home-based skills, as well as basic financial literacy to build self-confidence and promote economic self-sufficiency. The objective is not merely to teach a crafting skill but to use art-making as a medium of empowerment.

In 2019, we merged with Volunteers of America Mid-States which has allowed us more opportunities for direct outreach to women and families who can benefit from the training, skills-building and entrepreneurial development the program provides.

Beaded Treasures works with a range of Volunteers of America programs, including Freedom House, Unity House and senior housing.  This will empower women who are overcoming substance use disorder, families working to find stable housing and seniors seeking new opportunities and activities to have additional options and opportunities.

By helping women and families to become self-sufficient, Beaded Treasures strives to promote positive social change by empowering women and families to become entrepreneurs, leaders and artists.

Our Founder

Surekha Kulkarni

Surekha immigrated to the United States more than twenty years ago to provide her son access to learning disability programs which weren’t readily available in India.

She learned the art of jewelry making while on a trip in India and fell in love, which led to teaching a class for students at Jefferson Community College.

While volunteering with Kentucky Refugee Ministries, Surekha encountered several women trying to market their handmade jewelry, and she had an idea. She organized a home party for them to sell their work, and within one hour they had sold over $1,000 worth of jewelry!

Beaded Treasures began with this group of dedicated women. Surekha coordinated teaching more advanced techniques as business skills. It wasn’t long before word spread and more women joined the project.

Since 2011, Surekha has taught jewelry to hundreds of resettled refugee women in Louisville, KY through Beaded Treasures “Skills Training Workshops.”


When you buy beautiful, hand-crafted Beaded Treasures jewelry and accessories, you are empowering women and families while promoting economic independence.

Volunteers of America and Beaded Treasures work together to train skilled artisans who become self-sufficient entrepreneurs.

Novel Approach 

  • The Project utilizes the principles of microcredit in an innovative integrated approach that includes targeted services-a “credit-plus approach” rather than just handing out money to the artisans.
  • This provides the “missing link” between microcredit and successful entrepreneurship by focusing on small-scale holistic practices, sustainable long-term results, long-term one on one mentoring, and expedient profits for project members.

Guiding Principles

Promotion of entrepreneurial responsibility through regular instruction in new jewelry making techniques and marketing skills by experienced members.

Increasing public awareness and involvement in advocating for empowerment.

Encouraging the “phasing-out”, as members gain a sufficient degree of jewelry making and marketing expertise.


We know that when women and families prosper, the world prospers.  We hope you will join Volunteers of America and Beaded Treasures efforts to train and empower women and families.

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