Written by Victory (Tori) Lampert, Lyons Township class of 2015

As a volunteer for the nonprofit organization Light Gives Heat, I help provide sustainable income to women in Uganda thru the sale of their paper bead necklaces and bracelets.

On Kelli’s birthday, April 2, 2012, I approached Light Gives Heat with an idea to collaborate and create a unique bracelet in Kelli’s memory.  They had never done anything like it and offered their support to make it happen. After meeting with Mr. and Mrs. O and asking for their ideas and blessing, the Choose Joy bracelet was designed and produced by women in Jinga, Uganda. They hand crafted each bead of recycled paper for 1000 bracelets. We chose purple for the beads because that is Kelli’s favorite color. It also represents passion, which is how Kelli lived her life. There is also one white bead in memory of Kelli.

By selling the Choose Joy bracelets at $10 each, the goal was to raise enough money to support 2 scholarships of $2500 each after covering production costs. In addition, $2500 will be donated in Kelli’s name to Light Gives Heat. Knowing Kelli’s interest in traveling to Uganda and her heart for helping others, her parents agreed that it would be a positive way to continue her charity and make an impact globally as well as locally.

As of this August, 2014, enough bracelets have been sold to meet the goal of supporting 2 scholarships.  I am now working toward raising the last $2,500 to be donated to Light Gives Heat.

I know the students in the graduating class of 2015 will carry Kelli’s friendship and spirit where ever our futures take us. And Kelli’s spirit will continue to be with the LT community through her memorial fund—Once a lion, always a lion.


We have since changed the scholarship to a $1,000 annual renewable for 4 years.  Furthermore we loved working with Tori, her spirit and energy remind us of all the good people in the world.  This is especially important the last week, as we sit in a courtroom.

For more information on these bracelets check the Facebook page!

choose joy bracelet choose joy bracelet2