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David Thoenen posted a message. New comment added.
Nov
21
Nov 21, 2021 at 1:14 PM

Posted on: Nov 20, 2021 at 3:16 PM

I'm taking a pause in the chaos of my life to add a bit of updated information to the item in our most recent class note regarding my involvement with an NGO operating in Afghanistan, Ascend - Leadership through Athletics. Since mid August Ascend has been working literally around the clock to extricate our Ascend family from Afghanistan.

First the numbers. To date Ascend operations have brought 130 + members of its community out of Afghanistan. While evacuation operations will continue, the emphasis now shifts to resettlement of those in transit. Twenty have arrived in their new home in Ireland. The first nineteen of twenty-nine are resettled in Chile. Five have transitioned from US care in Abu Dhabi to Germany. Four of eight are now in Denmark. Currently twenty are in US resettlement facilities in the US with more to follow. Others are in transit in Abu Dhabi, Pakistan, and Kazakhstan. A little over three months (a lifetime) ago Ascend was delivering women's empowerment programming in Kabul. Since then an awesome team of staff and international volunteers has worked seven by twenty four, managing a global migration of young women to new homes. Truly remarkable transition!

Reality check. Take a long look at the photo and think about it. I find it moving. These girls have just disembarked in Abu Dhabi. They are so much more than numbers to celebrate. They are teenagers just like your grand kids or the kids living down the street from you. Two are only fifteen. They and their families have made excruciatingly difficult decisions. Two days before getting on the evacuation flight in Mazar they said good bye to their homes and families not knowing if they would ever see them again. Their courage is mind boggling. It was the promise of a future free of Taliban brutality and an opportunity to acquire education and live as free women that motivated them to accept challenges that will test that courage. Their faith in Ascend gave them the strength to commit to a promising future. They are remarkable.

Ascend's strategic plan for 2022-2023 is emerging. Revised programming will continue in Afghanistan. The objective of the empowerment of Afghan women and commitment to Ascend's mission there remains unchanged. The board of directors will also be considering options for exporting the Ascend model to other countries with similar cultural characteristics (and mountains!) to Afghanistan. And the Ascend programming model is likely to be applied in refugee communities with one country already establishing a prototype organization. And the beat goes on!

The Taliban are in Kabul. That's one reality that Ascend will respond to. A more universal reality is that girls and women globally face challenges where the leadership skills that Ascend enables can be brought to bear. That's what Ascend is all about.

David Thoenen posted a message. New comment added.
May 16, 2021 at 1:10 PM

Posted on: May 14, 2021 at 9:36 AM

I remember the young woman in the photo! See, I can still remember stuff!

May 16, 2021 at 10:15 AM

Ahhh... Libby. I amgoing to miss you. One of the many ways  you loved life was your love of dancing. Let us dance together in the great beyond....

David Thoenen posted a message.
May 13, 2021 at 10:37 AM

Cake headed to Delta. Watch for parachute over house mid AM (MDT) next Thursday. Handle with care upon landing to avoid candle flames igniting shroud. Return address for chute will be attached. I expect cake to be shared with Joann and Jan. George, Bob and Dave optional.

Joseph A. Boyd posted a message. New comment added.
Sep 17, 2020 at 2:21 PM

Posted on: Sep 16, 2020 at 11:38 AM

Happy birthday Marc.

Joseph A. Boyd posted a message.
Aug 02, 2020 at 2:07 PM

Happy birthday Frank

David Thoenen posted a message. New comment added.
Mar 07, 2020 at 1:40 PM

Posted on: Aug 19, 2017 at 7:35 PM

Wow! Very impressive! (I dropped bagpipe after one lesson!)

Joseph A. Boyd posted a message. New comment added.
Jan 01, 2020 at 9:56 PM

Posted on: Jan 01, 2019 at 3:06 PM

Happy birthday Hal

Joseph A. Boyd posted a message.
Mar 10, 2019 at 1:39 PM

Happy birthday Mike

Joseph A. Boyd posted a message.
Mar 10, 2019 at 1:38 PM

Happy birthday Mike

David Thoenen posted a message. New comment added.
Oct 05, 2018 at 3:55 PM

Posted on: Oct 01, 2018 at 10:11 AM

You back in NC yet? Need to get you over here for dinner.

Joseph A. Boyd posted a message.
Sep 01, 2018 at 6:43 PM

Happy birthday Craig

Joseph A. Boyd posted a message.
Aug 13, 2018 at 6:21 PM

Happy birthday Chris

Joseph A. Boyd posted a message. New comment added.
Aug 08, 2018 at 7:55 AM

Posted on: Dec 23, 2017 at 2:14 AM

Thanks again John for the tour of the NASA Goddard Space Center that you gave me, my grandkids, and their dad back in 2014. I'm sure it had a profound affect on them. My granddaughter, Nessie, graduated from Essex Community this past May 2017 and will soon go on to a 4 year college. The grandson, JayJay, is now a freshman at Penn State. He plays basketball and is studying business. Look forward to seeing you at the Reunion.

Joseph A. Boyd posted a message. New comment added.
Aug 08, 2018 at 7:54 AM

Posted on: Aug 07, 2018 at 11:12 PM

Happy birthday John