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Local Organization Collects Leftover Beads From Gasparilla

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Do you have leftover beads from Gasparilla?

The MacDonald Training Center in Tampa is collecting these bead necklaces and then putting them towards a good cause.

Andrew Carlstedt is a student at MacDonald Training Center and says "I am a student in the tech to work program."

The MacDonald Training Center helps people with disabilities learn new skills so they can get a job.

This year a big focus of his is plastic and electronic waste.

"It harms marine life, like dolphins, fish, all the things that live in the ocean," said Carlstedt.

He's talking about bead necklaces...something that becomes a big issue around Gasparilla weekend.

"If you're throwing beads into the water, they take forever to degrade. Like thousands of years," said Carlstedt.

So this year he's getting involved in a bead recycling program at the training center.

"We love our bead recycling program because it helps recycle the beads and keep The Bay safe," said Carlstedt.

Krista Wright works with the organization and says "Kind of sort through all of the beads and we band them together, we package them, and we want a nice variety, so it's bands of twelve."

Wright says over the next few weeks, they will be receiving thousands of pounds of beads from Gasparilla weekend and then students organize and repackage them for groups to buy for other events.

"All of those skills link together and give them a base knowledge what it would be like if they maybe got a job as a packager or a fulfillment person at a logistics warehouse," said Wright.

MacDonald Training Center employees say while students are gaining skills that could be used in the future, they are also serving a bigger purpose.

"It gives the people that we serve with disabilities the opportunity to participate in something that is life changing for our community and our world," said Karenne Levy, CEO of the MacDonald Training Center.

If you're interested in dropping off your beads, there will be a bin outside of the training center building.

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