Old UT football programs make new jewelry

Published: Apr. 24, 2018 at 4:52 PM EDT
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Part of supporting the Vols on game day has traditionally included wearing orange and white to support the Big Orange team. At the Vol Shop on the University of Tennessee's campus, customers will find a table of orange and white beads, but they might have to take a closer look to see why they're so special.

Each bead has been rolled out of old UT football programs, but they've done more than 'upcycle' old paper; they've also brought new hope to families in desperate need of it.

"We took publications from UT and the football programs from last year, and we took them over in our suitcases and we made beads out of those and brought them back," Julie Miller, Executive Director for the Adera Foundation, said.

The beads support more than just the Vols, they also support families in Ethiopia. The Adera Foundation has helped connect moms in Ethiopia with the program to make the beads. The job gives those women a stable salary they can rely upon.

"The beads are just a voice for them," Miller said.

Each bead takes three or four pages of programs to make, and the metal in the products are made from upcycled bullet casings.

"Once you hear the story, it's just a great item to have," Vol Shop Marketing Manager Tommi Grubbs said. "I love the different colors, and I love knowing that it was upcycled from a football program, and it's just a great idea."

The Adera Foundation has said the bead-makers in the program can pretty much use any paper except card stock. They've taken orders for wedding programs, church programs, even sheet music. Making the jewelry takes about three months for each order.

For more information about the Adera Foundation and their jewelry,