The work is hard. The road ahead is extremely daunting. There is much to be despondent about. Yet this is the biggest opportunity that we have ever seen to fully unearth all of our talents, gifts and our collective humanity…. to be all that we can be. For if we do not, we will no longer be standing on the edge of the abyss. We will be in the abyss. There is only one way forward, and we know, intrinsically how to get there. To forge ahead with love, hope, kindness and a determination to celebrate that which unites us – our humanity. And DO the work. Not writing or talking about it. DOING.
At ASOH we commit to expanding our shared humanity through our inclusive community-driven work. We believe that together, we can and we must ensure that everyone has a fair shot at a kind, just, equitable and peaceful life. We believe it is each of our responsibility that we ensure others are not left behind, pushed aside or oppressed. We strive to inspire all who step into the ASOH experience, to consider and enact steps, every single day to contribute to a more just, equitable, kind and peaceful world.
A little over six years ago, we saw an injustice and acted upon it. We noticed that young people exiting foster care had to overcome the odds against them, securing a roof over their heads only to be forced to sleep on cold bare floors, and struggle without fridges, stoves, lighting, a table to eat from or study off of. The lack of means to turn a space into a home is a significant inequity that has proven to hold those back that are working hard and studying to overcome the challenges of the world and create a better future for themselves.
We were not working in the foster youth space at that time. We were in fact, undereducated about the crisis. We were simply community members who saw an inequity and were moved to do what we could. In those initial steps, we recognized that the community could share their hearts and resources to help change lives, while also gaining understanding through an immersive educational experience. In the space of service, we saw an opportunity for a diverse group of people to come together, see one another, hear one another and better understand one another, in the intimacy of a home being shaped and created by all hands gathered.
ASOH evolved out of a genuine random act of kindness. It continued because the best of humanity showed up, time and time again. And every day that we have walked this walk, we have asked ourselves how can we do and be better? How can we extend our shared humanity more profoundly? How can we be more efficient? How can we ensure everyone who steps into this space is equally respected, is seen, heard and understood? We challenge our approach every day and ask of ourselves, how can we impact more lives, more deeply? Not just for those we serve, but also those who volunteer and donate resources providing more opportunities to educate, enlighten and amplify humanity. How can we increase and open up dialogue and understanding to advance peace, justice and equality? For without peace there is no justice nor equality. And without equality, there is no peace nor justice. And when there is an absence of justice, there is no equality nor peace.
We haven’t always got it right. We never will always get it right. We look at our missteps to learn. We are imperfect beings doing our mighty best to unleash our humanity and the humanity within others with authenticity, heart and humility. We thank all who generously teach, enlighten guide and encourage us.
You might rightly feel timid to take steps, speak up or take action for fear of getting it wrong. There is plenty to get wrong but therein lies the learning. When we receive balanced, fair and insightful observations of how we can do better, we deepen our shared humanity. Yes, there will always be plenty of voices that undermine well-intentioned efforts. It is to be expected. It’s not a deterrent for DOING. Love in action is more powerful than words. It is in the doing that we can pave a path forward, in kindness.