By Cheryl Albiez, Media Relations Staff
The Port Authority’s nearly $350-million transformation of Terminal B at Newark Liberty International Airport includes a fresh take on the airport’s retail promenade, with architectural elements inspired by the Jersey Shore and, for the first time, dedicated pop-up space for local artisans, entrepreneurs and worthy causes, such as Same Sky.
Same Sky is an artisan trade initiative that currently works with two different groups of women pursuing the same mission: securing a more promising future through craftsmanship and entrepreneurship. The groups of women are survivors of the 1994 Rwandan genocide or local ex-offenders released from the Hudson County Jail. Through the quiet and meditative practice of beading, the women not only create a highly marketable and appealing product, but they are engaging in a kind of therapy.
“We are always proud to support local initiatives and entrepreneurs,” said Diane Papaianni, General Manager of Newark Liberty International Airport. “With the busy holiday shopping season, our customers not only have the opportunity to ‘shop local,’ but can also purchase a truly meaningful gift from a worthy cause.”
Their hand-made one-of-kind bracelets are for sale in a pop-up shop inside Terminal B in time for the gift-giving season. Same Sky jewelry is also sold at various other locations and online at https://www.samesky.com with proceeds going to the artisans and toward the organization’s continuing effort to help women in need.
“By giving people economic opportunities, rather than locking them up, we can reduce crime, rid prisons of overcrowding, and transform the lives of individuals and families all across the country,” said noted entrepreneur and philanthropist Francine LeFrak, who founded Same Sky in 2007 to help women in need succeed through steady employment.
Same Sky partnered with the women of the Most Excellent Way Halfway House of New Jersey to develop artisans in the U.S. through mentoring and job training. Many of the women now earn a sustainable income and several have gone on to complete their educations and explore career options.
“Francine LeFrak and Same Sky have provided an extraordinary opportunity for our women clients to create beautiful jewelry, to subsidize their income, and to enable them to pursue their education and professional training,” said former Gov. James McGreevey, who has been working with the halfway house. “During this holiday season, when many travelers will be passing through Terminal B for international flights, hopefully customers will appreciate the mission of Same Sky.”
Added Papaianni: “I thank the women of Same Sky for introducing their products to our airport. They are raising awareness and setting a positive example of coming back from adversity.”