A new project undertaken by members of the SML Woodturners’ Association is aimed at helping seriously ill children face difficult hospitalizations and treatments with courage and high spirits.

Woodturners club member Alan Detrick proposed the project after first learning of the national Beads of Courage program in the American Association of Wood Turners’ magazine. He later saw examples of the artistic creations displayed at last year’s annual Woodturners’ Symposium in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“This just looked like something our club members would enjoy doing,” Detrick said.

Participating woodturners created wooden “bead boxes” that patients, who enroll through caregiving facilities nationwide, use to collect and store the “beads” or tokens awarded by their doctors, nurses and other hospital staff. The tokens are given for courageously undergoing time consuming and often painful tests and procedures.

According to the Beads of Courage brochure, “Every bead we give helps a child or teen tell their story of courage, honor and hope.”

In the past six months, SML Woodturners Association members have used their penchants for design, wood selection, lathe craftsmanship and finishing expertise to create 18 boxes destined for Brenner’s Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem later this spring.

Each project is unique to the artist, made to a recommended size, and involves 12 to 20 hours for completion. The artist’s name is recorded on a card that goes inside each bead box.

All the boxes to be donated are on display through April 15 in the lobby display case at Westlake Library at Westlake Towne Center.

“Last year, over 1,200 boxes were donated by wood turners across the country,” Detrick said. “We’re only a small part of the overall effort, but we know how important each bead box is to a recipient’s care.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the SML Woodturners Association can contact Detrick at 201-566-6556 or alandetrick22@gmail.com.