Our Mission

Caring for children coping with serious illness, their families and clinicians by helping them to RECORD, TELL and OWN their story of COURAGE through beads.

Our Values

Advance the science of caring; Set and exceed the standards for the psychosocial care of children coping with serious illness; Be a source of support and encouragement-connecting the kindness of others with the Courage of the children we support!

Our History

Jean Baruch, developed the first Beads of Courage, Inc. program while working on her PhD in Nursing at the University of Arizona, College of Nursing. Her inspiration came from her clinical practice and from her experiences as a camp nurse at one of Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camps. With the financial support of her family and friends, Jean developed and piloted the Beads of Courage Program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in February 2004.

Today, Beads of Courage, Inc. is providing the Beads of Courage® program in over 140 children’s hospitals throughout the United States, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Canada. The Beads of Courage® Program has become the standard of care for supporting children and their families during their treatment for cancer and other serious illness. With the encouragement of families, supporters, bead artist community and others, Beads of Courage CANADA was incorporated in 2011 and launched its first program in January 2012. Beads of Courage CANADA was launched with the support and leadership of Executive Director, Victoria Plouffe and the Board of Directors.


Throughout history, in cultures across the world, beads have had a huge number of functions. Here are a few interesting facts.

Beads signify strength and courage
Just like medals, ribbons and certificates, many ancient and modern-day cultures use beads to show bravery and accomplishment. They have long been used to protect warriors from natural and supernatural enemies, along with lending special magical protection for heroes during long journeys.

Beads have every-day uses
They have served many practical purposes throughout history, from weighing down scrolls, saddle blankets and table cloths to serving as calculators (like the abacus) to prayer tools (like the rosary). Today, we see beads in mats, car seats, and curtains. Can you think of any ways that people use beads today?

Beads carry value
Beads have been traded for everything from gold to beaver pelts, ivory to spices, and even slaves. Societies across the world have made beads from tortoise shells, wood, pottery, sea shells, seed, ivory, stone, egg shells, animal teeth, bone, claw and horn…and glass. Some of the world’s most talented glass artists devote their whole careers to making beads.

In many societies, beads are believed to carry protective and healing powers
Did you know that the Egyptian word sha means “luck” and sha-sha means “bead”? The Magical Eye bead of Turkey is believed to ward off evil. In parts of Asia, beads were scattered like seeds at temples to induce bountiful harvests.

Beads signify status
In China, during the Qing (pronounced “ching”) Dynasty, officials, army officers, their wives and children were required to wear strings of court beads. The Emperor himself had to wear special beads. For the Asante people of West Africa, kings and other great people get the privilege of wearing Bodom beads. In our own society beads of pearl, gold and precious stones can be symbols of wealth and prestige.

Given the length of time people have been fascinated with beads (over 43,000 years!), as well as their usefulness for counting, adorning and symbolizing importance, they’re just right for recognizing and recording your courage as you travel this journey

Beads impart special meaning when designated thru a common belief system, when used to show accomplishment, ceremony or strong sentiment.