I received an email from my cousin Carrie that I thought I would pass on to those who are buying jewelry and crafts for gifts this Christmas:

"I want to wish you a wonderful holiday season as well as let you know about a non-profit organization that I am involved with as a member of its board of directors. We are not looking for donations but this may be a good way for you to get someone a great, unique present. One of my best friends from Boston University, Emily Varga, inspired from an academic trip to Brazil, is the founder of a non-profit dedicated to aiding the low-income areas of its second largest city, Rio de Janeiro. Working with artisan cooperatives from Rio de Janeiro, Emily has created a way for artists in these violent and struggling communities to market their goods on an online marketplace and earn valuable income to improve their situation and lives.

If you are looking for a special, interesting, and meaningful gift for someone this season, I urge you to check out the Crafting Change website [http://www.craftingchange.org].

Each craft is made uniquely by hand, representing its artist and the cooperative it came from, ranging from jewelry to bags and belts. Please feel free to forward this email and the website to any person that might be interested, the more the better!"

Thanks, Carrie! The crafts look beautiful!