About Beads of Courage

Beads of Courage, Inc. is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to improving the quality of life for children and teens coping with serious illness, their families, and the clinicians who care for them through our Arts-in-Medicine Programs. We believe in creating a context for caring transactions to transpire through our community and encouragement programs.

Since 2005, Beads of Courage, Inc. has established collaborative partnerships in caring with hundreds of hospitals nationally and internationally and worked with several community organizations to make healing happen through the use of beads as a historical art form.

Through our programs, we provide the opportunity for COURAGE to be honored, HOPE to be given, and JOY to be experienced.

Our Mission

To provide innovative, arts-in-medicine programs for children coping with serious illness, their families, and the clinicians who care for them.

Our Vision: 

To advance the science of caring. Beads of Courage, Inc. is proud to be affiliated with the Watson Science Caring Institute and in 2013, we established the Center for Arts-in-Nursing to boldly pursue our vision.

Our Goals: 

  • To transform the bedside experience of caring for children and teens with serious illness through innovative Arts-in-Medicine Programs;
  • To model collaborative strategies to strengthen human connectedness through the gift of beads that bestow honor and express human caring;
  • To contribute to the science, practice, and implementation of evidence-based interventions.

Our Programs:

Every Beads of Courage® program integrates the use of beads, the earliest art form known to humans, as visible, tangible symbols of human experiences that need and deserve to be expressed. Every time a bead is given courage is honored, suffering is alleviated, resilience is strengthened, and the experience of human caring is affirmed.

Our History

Beads of Courage, Inc. is an approved public charity under I.R.S. Code Section 501(c)(3), based in Tucson, Arizona.

Jean Gribbon, BS, RN, PhD, developed the first Beads of Courage, Inc. program while working on her PhD at the University of Arizona, College of Nursing. Her inspiration came from her clinical practice, and from her experiences as a camp nurse at one of Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camps. With the financial support of her family and friends, Jean developed and piloted the Beads of Courage Program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in February 2003. As part of the development, the following critical tasks were completed:

  • Reviewed the professional literature regarding related programs for children and their families coping with serious illness, resulting in identifying gaps in services provided, and providing evidence-based support for the targeted outcomes of the Beads of Courage program as a resilience-based intervention.
  • Wrote the Beads of Courage training manual for health care professionals, referencing the professional literature.
  • Made logistic arrangements for the Beads of Courage program beads and printed materials.
  • Designed and trademarked the Beads of Courage graphic logo.
  • Formed relationship with the Arizona Society of Glass Beadmakers, and the International Society of Glass Beadmakers, resulting in the donation of special, handmade beads for the program.

Following the completion of the above development activities, an ongoing evaluation of the pilot Program at Phoenix Children’s Hospital was conducted to determine its impact on the children who participated in the Program and on the staff who implemented it. Preliminary evaluation findings were presented at three national peer-reviewed research meetings:

  • a podium presentation at the Association of Pediatric Oncology Nurses (APON) 28th Annual Conference and Exhibit, October 7-9, 2004, in Kansas City, MO
  • a poster presentation at the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS) 2nd Annual Conference, January 27-29, 2005, in Phoenix, AZ
  • a poster presentation at the Western Institute of Nursing (WIN), April 9-11, 2005, in San Francisco, CA.

We Are Involved

Beads of Courage is a member of the following organizations:

Our Certified Child Life Specialist Staff are members of:

A Letter from the Founder

Dear Beads of Courage Supporter,

Thank you for taking the time to visit our website, and for having the courage to care. We are Beads of Courage, Inc. a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to helping children with serious illness record, tell, and own their stories of survival.

We have been working diligently to transform the treatment experience for children coping with chronic, life-threatening illness, their families, and the clinicians who care for them through our arts-in-medicine programs.

Since our original program in 2003, our organization has established over 400 programs in over 300 children’s hospitals in the United States, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Australia and Japan. Our growth is evidence of the need for the type of support Beads of Courage provides for children coping with serious illness.

Thank you for your interest, support and genuine concern for children coping with serious illness, their families, and the clinicians who care for them.

Jean Gribbon, RN, BSN, PhD
Founder, Beads of Courage, Inc & 
President, Center for Arts in Nursing