Hug your family and friends close and think about all that is good in your world today.

Note of Gratitude on Thanksgiving Day (as I sit in the Amsterdam Airport enroute)

As we make our way into the final months of 2017, it has been one of the hardest years I can remember, locally and globally, for families and communities. I am saddened by the harshness of this world, and I am energized and hopeful for the goodness it brings to the surface. I admire how our community reaches out to support another community stricken by fire, floods or violence. Families take in children and animals having nowhere else to go. I am touched by the hearts of children saving their coins so that other children can go to school.

As I continue to work with young people, their teachers and their families, whether here in California, Canada or East Africa, there are several universal truths that make us one global community. Every mother loves their child dearly. Every father wants his family to be safe and have basic needs met. Every child starts with big dreams and unconditional love. And every person, child and adult, needs and deserves personal dignity, respect and a path forward to being all they can be.

This year, concluding our first decade has caused great reflection and great celebration. From African high school and university graduations, to marriages, big corporate jobs and small local businesses, we are seeing our collective investment over the last decade transforming from a vision into reality.

I have two favorite moments in this past year that symbolize all that we have achieved.

One young lady, age 14, was asked by a safari traveler, "Are you a beneficiary of Asante Africa Foundation?" And her reply was, "No, I am not a beneficiary. I am the change agent that they have taught all of us to become."

One of the older graduates of our Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship program was coaching a younger cohort. The younger student asked why Asante Africa was investing in them. He said, "They are paying it forward. They are planting the seeds in us and now it is our job to sink the roots in our home villages, flourish, and then pay it forward again." His response was exactly what we are cultivating.

As you celebrate and spend time with those you love - friends, family and others in your circle - I want you to understand the goodness and greatness you are growing, close to home and beyond the ocean. I, along with our local staff and global team are deeply filled with gratitude that you are in our circle of community.

Erna Grasz
CEO, Asante Africa Foundation

 

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Thank you, Ema, for taking the time to enrich us as your group enriches others.

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