Community Voices

North Miami jewelry maker partners with local groups to help at-risk kids

Antoinio Telaya and Mia Presuot work on their wire jewelry at the North Miami Beach library. Jewelry Creations Workshop, an artist workspace and jewelry school in North Miami, hosted the Young Metal Artist class July 3 led by Studio Manager Tracey Carswell.
Antoinio Telaya and Mia Presuot work on their wire jewelry at the North Miami Beach library. Jewelry Creations Workshop, an artist workspace and jewelry school in North Miami, hosted the Young Metal Artist class July 3 led by Studio Manager Tracey Carswell. Photo provided to the Miami Herald

In 2017, jewelry maker Steven Brownlee felt the need to give something back. The founder of Jewelry Creations Workshop, an artist workspace and jewelry school in North Miami, began volunteering and he fell in love with service to the community.

And then something even more wonderful happened. Brownlee used his time and training of over 15 years to bring to light an outlet of creativity that is fun for young people in need of empowerment and art. He officially started his project, Young Metal Artist.

The program now has partnerships with organizations such as Pridelines, Miami Bridge, and Lotus House Shelter. Classes are designed to impact the lives of underserved groups in the South Florida area through the art of jewelry making.

Tracey Carswell, Dezyree de la Huerta, Hannah Hernandez.jpg
Jewelry Creations Workshop studio manager Tracey Carswell shows a technique to Dezyree de la Huerta and Hannah Hernandez at the latest Young Metal Artist class July 3 at North Miami Beach Library. Edwin Unzalu Photo provided to the Miami Herald

“We empower our students to express themselves creatively through the jewelry they create while finding within themselves a creativity and a skill that can be hard to find while in the midst of deep and challenging struggles,” Brownlee said in an email.

Now, he wants to expand the free classes to include more of his own instructors and materials to increase the number of project service dates.

A new class was recently offered at the North Miami Beach library. Jewelry Creations Workshop Studio Manager Tracey Carswell led this latest class and the students made beautiful personal items like rings, hearts, bracelets and pendants.

In the Young Metal Artist project’s visiting workshops students learn how to work with metal and tools to make inspiring pieces of their own design. The students not only learn a new skill, they learn to let their creativity flow and have fun.

Ozney Dalay, Mia Presuot, Dezyree de la Huerta, Hannah Hernandez, Brianna de la Huerta, Antonio Telaya, Hanah Riverio, Alexandru Nicolescu, Tracey Carswell.jpg
From left: Ozney Dalay, Mia Presuot, Dezyree de la Huerta, Hannah Hernandez, Brianna de la Huerta, Antonio Telaya, Hanah Riverio, Alexandru Nicolescu, and Tracey Carswell, Jewelry Creations Workshop studio manager show their latest works at the Young Metal Artist class July 3. Edwin Unzalu Photo provided to the Miami Herald

“Young Metal Artist has given our youth a chance to express themselves creatively and therapeutically,” said D’Mychal Norwood, recreation specialist for Miami Bridge Youth and Family Services, in a release.

“Miami Bridge services at-risk youths from various backgrounds. These youths are deprived of healthy outlets to their daily tasks and struggles. Wire jewelry making came to them as a new concept that created a healthy venture into self-expression. Each youth who participated is able to create a fashionable piece of jewelry which was cherished by each of them. Their work is worn and shared amongst one another. We appreciate the time and service provided by Young Metal Artist,” Norwood said.

The concept of Jewelry Creations Workshop began in 2003, according to its website, when Brownlee “was asked to teach a class for someone he met at an art show while he was selling his work.” At first, he declined but he kept the student in mind. When the seasonal art shows slowed, Brownlee finally decided to give teaching a chance.

He returned to his hometown of Miami and Jewelry Creations Workshop was established in 2008. Its community includes jewelry makers and instructors from all over the world. Various jewelry making classes are tailored to the students and taught by Brownlee and resident, and visiting, instructors. All levels are welcome.

Learn more at jewelrycreationsworkshop.com. You can also make a donation on the website to “help keep the school running and make sure all students have the tools they need to complete projects.”

Book reviews with lunch

Enjoy this summer luncheon hosted by the Coco Plum Woman’s Club and learn about two true Miami stories from 20 years ago.

Carol Soret Cope will review her two books, “In the Fast Lane” and “Murder on the High Seas,” at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 18, 1375 Sunset Dr., Coral Gables. Admission is $25 and includes lunch and a beverage. For reservations, contact Anita Jenkins at 305-665-6762 or ajtrav2644@att.net.

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs Coco Plum Woman’s Club was founded in 1912 and is dedicated to enriching the community. Members promote public welfare, education, civic improvement, historic preservation, and the advancement of arts and culture.

The club is always looking for new members. Visit gfwccocoplumwomansclub.org.

Free bankruptcy help for the needy

Dade Legal Aid and the local Bankruptcy Bar Association regularly offers free self-help clinics for indigent debtors and low-income persons who want to learn about the bankruptcy process.

Pro bono bankruptcy attorneys from the local Bankruptcy Bar staff these monthly clinics that are held at the U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse. The next workshop will be 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at 301 N. Miami Ave.

At each clinic, attendees watch a 45-minute video on how to file for bankruptcy. After the video, the volunteer attorneys answer general questions. All sessions are open to the public and no appointment is necessary.

Future clinics will be held on Sept. 7, Oct. 5, Nov. 2 and Dec. 7. For more information, write to psb@dadelegalaid.org.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at christinammayo@gmail.com.
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