If you know Mary Beth, she’s probably given you the “I love you” sign. It’s something she shares freely and often with those around her. Even her dog, Tuesday, gets several a day from her. It’s become her signature phrase and is now her signature charm on the beaded bracelets she makes. As a Vaya Health member with severe Intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD), Mary Beth has more than enough love to go around.
When COVID-19 first hit, it put a damper on the activities that Mary Beth and her one-on-one staff, Sterling, could do during the day. Sterling looked around and came across jewelry making videos on YouTube. She said Mary Beth fell in love with it, so they started making her own as something to pass the time.
Her mother, Julie, describes her as a bit of a “girly girl” so it’s no surprise that jewelry making was something that caught her attention. Her beaded bracelets come in a collection of colors, from ombre hues to pastels, paw print beads to honor Tuesday and even seasonal items with snowmen and peppermints. She loved making them so much that it resulted in her own microenterprise, A Piece Within.
“She’s so proud of them,” said Julie, “Whenever she’s done, she shows them off. It’s something she can do, feel good about and be proud of, and we all need a way to contribute and have some purpose. This gives her day meaning and purpose.”
She’s been building up her inventory during quarantine, getting ready for the day when she can attend local craft fairs and see her customers in person. Mary Beth is an outgoing and social person, and everyone in the area knows her. What she really enjoys is spending time with others, especially friends and family. And pretty much everyone she meets is just a new friend.
“Being able to share something she does well and enjoys with other people will mean a lot to her,” said Julie.
Mary Beth takes pride in the bracelets she makes. She loves choosing the patterns and colors, yellow being her favorite and matching her upbeat and happy personality. She especially loves the hand stamped “I love you” charm. Julie stamps the sign on a heart charm, Mary Beth colors in the stamp with a specialized pen and then buffs away any excess to make the print stand out – leaving a little bit of love in each piece she makes.
To purchase your own beaded bracelet and support A Piece Within, email Mary Beth at Miraclemary711@icloud.com.