Christmas is just around the corner, and if you are like me, the only thing on your mind right now is: What holiday gift should I get for the 55 members of The 24 Karat Club? I wrestle with this question every December, but this year I have it figured out.
So, here it is, a letter we received from Renee Bragg, of Raleigh, North Carolina:
I know you like to keep up with your scholarship recipients and I have got to say a big “Thank You” to you! I truly believe that because of your scholarship, I got my current job. Let me explain…
In November of last year, I found myself helping my friend Lisa close up her store and clear out her inventory in one big sale. I had a few job prospects lined up, but unfortunately nothing worked out. The holidays were soon over and I was still jobless. Finding work at an independent jewelry store was incredibly hard. I was driving three hours for interviews that just weren’t panning out. Then comes the Atlanta Jewelry Show and the GIA Diamond Grading course. Thanks to your scholarship, I was able to secure my seat there. Still wanting to follow my dream, I went to the show to attend the course hoping I could network while I was there.
During the first day of class, we had to introduce ourselves. I shamelessly offered my services to everyone there just to test the waters. One of the gentlemen sitting in the front row with me, James, introduced himself at lunch and we talked shop. He owned two jewelry stores in Raleigh, North Carolina, and he soon extended a very generous offer to fly me up to Raleigh to see his stores.
We finished the course (I got the highest grade in there!) and about a month later, I was on my flight to Raleigh. I spent four days there, and on the fifth, I had signed a lease on an apartment in town. On May 1, I was on my way in a U-haul truck and have been working here and loving life ever since! The location and staff are amazing, and the stores are beautiful.
I would never had met James had you not given me this wonderful scholarship nor would I have been able to afford the class having been unemployed for so long. Many thanks to The 24 Karat Club for bringing all of the components together for me.
Renee Bragg, GIA GD, AJP
I recently caught up with Renee who is now in training to become a manager at Raleigh Gold. She’s even considering applying for another 24 Karat Club scholarship so that she can add the initials GG to the list after her name. And, she graciously offered this bit of advice to others considering applying for a 24 Karat Club scholarship, “Be yourself and be genuine!”
The holidays are, of course, all about giving. For years, the mission of The 24 Karat Club has been to provide scholarships to train the next generation of leaders for the retail jewelry industry. And, when we get a letter like Renee’s in return, it’s the best gift any of us could ask for!
We know you are busy this time of year, but please take a moment to know that everyone at The 24 Karat Club is thinking of you, and we wish you a wonderful Holiday Season, filled with love, good health, and peace.
Howard Kelrick is President of Finger Mate and a board member of The 24 Karat Club, SEUS. Finger Mate manufactures and installs expandable ring shanks and sells to retail jewelers throughout North America. Contact Howard at 954-458-2700 or e-mail Howard@FingerMate.com.