This year we are more than happy to honor local handcrafted inspirational gemstone jewelry business SoulKu, owned by Allison Blake and Elisa Van Arnam.
This award is the highest honor bestowed by the organization upon a member of the community and is awarded for selfless service to eliminate child poverty. The award is presented once a year and recognizes those who have positively distinguished themselves through extraordinary advocacy, education, and support of underserved youth.
One of SoulKu’s beautiful creations is a bracelet that honors the memory of Harmony Unique Smith, a 13 year-old girl who lost her life in 2018 to a senseless act of domestic violence. Harmony, a friend and student of OpenDoors, was kind, caring, strong, courageous, and loved by many in the community. Four of her best friends asked SoulKu if they could collaborate on a bracelet design, the Harmony Bracelet, to commemorate her vibrant spirit and life. SoulKu not only agreed, but pledged to donate all proceeds from sales of the popular bracelet to directly fund OpenDoors youth programs.
SoulKu has generously donated more than $30,000 to directly fund year-round OpenDoors programs to enrich the lives of underserved Asheville students. Those initiatives include tutoring, mentorship, advocacy, scholarships, summer camps, crisis support, and more. In addition to supporting students, SoulKu also empowers moms by employing them to handcraft all their jewelry pieces from home, paying them a thriving wage.
Thank you, Allison and Elisa, from the bottom of our hearts!