About Sara Wroblewski
Collaborator on Women-Helping-Women
I started One Bead in my college dorm room as a project to elevate education at a school in Kenya through the sale of recycled glass beads.
It all began in 2011 when I traveled to Nairobi, Kenya. There, I met and was inspired by Anselm Croze, an acclaimed Kenyan artisan with a unique business model. He challenged me to raise money to benefit a local school and I had the idea to design and sell handmade recycled glass beads, laying the foundation for One Bead. The organization started with one bead and one opportunity to make a difference in Kenya. Now, that bead is a symbol of inspiration and a catalyst for change in communities around the globe.
When I returned to school at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, I competed in and won the school’s first annual Pitch competition and prize of $10,000 to establish One Bead. Just one year later, in 2012, One Bead became an official 501(c)3 organization. In 2013, I graduated Cum Laude with a BA from HWS.
Today, I manage One Bead operations out of my apartment in Boston and lead youth leadership programs at elementary schools nationwide. Due to institutional constraints, schools do not always have the resources or time to provide hands-on mentorship and empowerment. The One Bead Youth Leadership Program (YLP) was created to meet a need for outreach programs beginning in early childhood. Designed to cultivate young leaders at the elementary school level and instill a culture of giving back to one’s community, the twenty-hour YLP curriculum shares the business model and inherent leadership qualities of One Bead with the youngest generation of students.
Since One Bead's inception in 2012, I have raised more than $250,000 towards One Bead’s mission and I’ve received many accolades for my work from institutions including the Clinton Global Initiative University and the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health. In 2016, I was a recipient of the Waring Prize from Western Reserve Academy.
When I’m not working or volunteering, you may find me running along the Charles River (weather permitting, of course). I ran my fourth half marathon in the spring of 2016 and my first (and last) full marathon in October 2014.