Helping Hands Designs, founded by Gina Shapiro in 2017, is a 100% non-profit, teen-led, jewelry brand designed to help heal the Santa Barbara community and the world. Each piece is designed and handmade in Santa Barbara by Gina. She has long been involved in charitable work, which has inspired her to create this project.
Gina has loved designing and fabricating jewelry for as long as she can remember. She developed her skills at the Interlochen International Jewelry Workshop through an intensive jewelry and metalsmithing course, and is currently attending the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy at Dos Pueblos High School where she has gained expertise in CAD and machining. She uses local materials and thanks BEADS in downtown Santa Barbara for their store and generous support.
Gina first partnered with CALM (Child Abuse and Listening Mediation) to create a necklace to raise money and spread awareness about child abuse in Santa Barbara. During the time Gina was creating pieces for CALM, terrible disaster struck Santa Barbara and our surrounding communities with the devastating Thomas fire and subsequent mudslides.
In response Gina created Santa Barbara Strong jewelry pieces with profits going to Direct Relief to help victims of the Thomas Fire and mudslides. What began as "The Helping Hands Project" turned into Helping Hands Designs, which as continued to partner with many more charities.