students at table selling bracelets next to poster display of the Pulsera project

The World Language and Business departments at Floyd T Binns Middle School (FTB) are working together to bring The Pulsera Project to Culpeper. At FTB, the project is a collaborative effort between all three grade levels’ world language and business classes to sell colorful bracelets and small woven purses.   The money raised from the sales goes directly back to the artists that made the items and their communities in Central America.  

 World Language teacher Shelia Zakielarz first learned about The Pulsera Project when she attended the Virginia FLAVA World Language Conference. Zakielarz explained that she was interested in the project because she liked how the bracelets included a picture and the name of the artist who made them. She also said that participating in the project teaches students about the value of handmade items.  “It has been ingrained in their minds that they can buy things for cheap, this program teaches that it is more than just the item, each bracelet represents someone's story and connects us to someone in Guatemala or Nicaragua,” she said.  

“As a part of the project, students are learning about fair trade,” explained FTB Business teacher Thomas Harrington.  Through this project students see a real-world example of a business and service project that “is set up to protect workers and their community.”  Eighth grade business student Ashlynn Mejia volunteered to sell bracelets during her lunch. She said that through this project, “I learned that it’s a good cause for other people, we can help them out in many ways.” Classmate Alyvia Butler added, “I love that it goes back to the people who made them.  They are very talented, the fact that they came up with these designs, I wouldn’t be able to do this, it’s amazing.”
Seventh grade student Scarlett Sanchez volunteered to sell bracelets during her lunch period.  She explained that “the bracelets, or pulseras, come from Nicaragua and Guatemala .” Keagan Stein, also a 7th grade student, said that she liked this project because in addition to the bracelets, “we’re helping them get better schools.”  She added that she liked that the bracelets include the signature, name and pictures of the artists who made them.   

Student volunteers have been selling the bracelets at school.  As a volunteer, they are practicing math skills, adding items and making change.  They also have learned how to complete cash receipts and a sales log.  FTB students have rolled their Pulsera “store” through the building in a bright orange tool cart.  They also have a display board that travels around the country with the sales kit.  The board has a place on the back for each school to write their name and a message.   The board at FTB has already been to Nebraska, Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, Connecticut and more!   

FTB students have been selling the bracelets before school, during lunch shifts, and after school since December 4.  As of Thursday December 14, they had already sold 140 bracelets and 15 small purses.  

If you are interested in purchasing one of these beautiful bracelets, visit them between 7 and 8 am or 2 to 3pm in the main lobby, or stop by during lunch.   Sales will continue through the end of the day on Monday, December 18. 2023.