School project becomes nonprofit Beads 4 Beats | West Orange Times & Observer

When Lucinda Howard was 13, her teacher challenged the students to create a project that could help someone other than herself. She told her parents she wanted to start a charity and came up with the idea of ​​making and selling beaded bracelets, the proceeds of which went to sick children in Central Florida.

Thirteen years later, Howard is still involved in her original project, although it has expanded and is now a non-profit called Beads 4 Beats. She operates it as CEO with an 11-member board of directors.

Howard’s website describes the purpose: “Beads (bracelets) represent a circle of love that will be given to sick children to remind them that they are thought of and loved. The beats represent keeping the heart rate going for as long as possible.”


Howard’s school assignment grew into something more once she had a plan in place. Students—and later her school’s PTA and various youth groups—helped make the bracelets to sell, and others created and sold the jewelry and gave Howard the money he earned.

Her parents, Ken and Linda Howard, of Gotha, helped establish Beads 4 Beats Inc. in 2011. to make it official. The Howards’ first recipient was an 8-year-old girl with cancer. They made a special bracelet for the young patient and helped the family financially.

“It has been an incredible journey to support these families and see the community come together to encourage and give back to those in need,” Lucinda Howard, who now lives in Nashville, wrote on the website. “We have supported more than 20 children and families in our community,” she wrote. “Thanks to your financial support, we can provide our children with therapy, medication, procedures and much more. Our focus is on supporting, loving and encouraging our families, both financially and emotionally.”

When she turned 17, Lucinda asked her friends and supporters to donate $17 to B4B instead of giving her a gift. In 2020 before Christmas, she, along with the staff at Advent Health, rolled out an Amazon Smile campaign and donated requested gifts to children at the Cancer Pavilion.

Beads 4 Beats partners with Advent Health and Orlando Health, which select patients in financial need and help the nonprofit with medical bills. UCP Pine Hills is also a benefit partner.

Over the years, the organization has expanded its board and has held fundraisers for the past six years, such as 5K runs at the Dr. P. Phillips Community Park. A class at UCP has also helped with bracelet making and fundraising.

The Howards hope to raise money during Beads 4 Beats’ first celebratory breakfast in honor of the organization’s 10th anniversary.

“Your financial support has enabled us to provide our children with therapy, medication, procedures and much more,” Howard said. “Our focus is on supporting, loving and encouraging our families, both financially and emotionally.”

In her spare time, Lucinda started a podcast called ByTwenty, “where everyone has a seat” to bring varied, relevant, difficult topics to young adults. Her topics covered living alone, being a mother, coping with mental illness, coping with the death of a loved one, marriage, forgiveness, and more.

“We want to fill our community with encouragement and support as they fight for their little one’s health, just like they were our own child,” Howard said.

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