Sonje means Remember.

Getting fresh water from the Red Cross in Haiti.

On January 12, the night that the world learned the full extent of the earthquake tragedy in Haiti, 10-year old Shelby Salisbury had the same reaction that most of us did: she started tearing up at the wrenching photos of all the destruction and terrified children. Then she said to her mom Julie something wisely prescient. “I think we should make bracelets for Haiti,” Shelby said. “Because this is going to be bad for a long time, and whenever people wear the bracelet, they’ll remember what happened. And they’ll remember to help.”

Shelby, a girl with a giving heart.

And so Sonje Bracelets (sonje means remember in Haitian Creole) began. Unfortunately, the first round of Julie & Shelby’s jewelry making went rather badly. Beads popped out of their hands, scattered all over the floor, and the end result was – not great. So Julie enlisted the help of her expert jewelry-making friend Stacey McGrath, whose 9 year-old daughter Clare was thrilled to be part of it … then mom Anne and Anna Ellis, 14, who was already making bracelets for Africa, joined in – and soon the operation was humming along beautifully.

They're really pretty!

Sonje Bracelets are made of white marble beads for hope, interspersed with green, blue and red beads representing the Haitian flag and cost $15– with 100% of that being donated to the American Red Cross for relief efforts in Haiti. (The moms are donating the supplies as their part of the effort and Anna’s kicking in her babysitting money.) A few weeks ago, the girls had a big jewelry-making party with other friends and created 110 bracelets – which they are madly selling on facebook in school, at church, and up & down the block.

Anna Ellis, Clare McGrath & Shelby Salisbury deliver $1500 to CEO Tim English of the Red Cross

Last week, the girls took $1500 in to the Red Cross, met CEO Tim English, and sold him a bracelet, too. Anna, Clare & Shelby are relentless sales agents, and so cute that you’re delighted to cave in and cough up the $15. I’m wearing mine now, and only wish I had bought two because they look really good doubled up together.

What the Sonje Bracelets are supporting

The girls asked me to send my $100 today to the Red Cross in Haiti. In three months, the Red Cross has spent $111 million helping 2 million Haitians; provided tarps and tents to nearly 373,000 people; distributed 60 million liters of clean drinking water; built more than 1,300 latrines; helped vaccinate more than 152,000 people; shipped more than 2,100 units of blood to medical facilities; treated more than 86,000 at Red Cross hospitals or mobile clinics, and registered more than 28,400 people with missing loved ones on its family linking Web site.

At the airport, greeting Red Cross Volunteers

That’s where 100% of your bracelet money is going — so it’s truly guilt-free shopping! If you’d like to buy a Sonje Bracelet, you can email the girls at and they’ll hook you up!

To Donate to the Red Cross, Click here: