prose poem for today

“There is a brokenness out of which comes the Unbroken,

 

Shatteredness out of which comes the Unshatterable. 

 

There is a Sorrow beyond all grief

 

which leads to Joy

 

and a Fragility out of whose depths emerges Strength. 

 

There is Hollow Space too vast

 

for words through which we pass with each loss,

 

out whose darkness we are sanctioned into being. 

 

There is a Cry

 

deeper that all sound

 

whose serrated edge cut the heart

 

as we break open to the place inside

 

which is unbreakable and whole,

 

while learning to sing.”      

 

                                Rashani

Family Independence Initiative

We Believe

FII’s work with cohorts of families in cities across the country shows that low-income people can advance together if we:

  • Make resources and funding available more directly to people, not just institutions
  • Allow families the freedom to determine their own paths, instead of taking direction from case managers and social workers
  • Encourage and reward personal initiative, instead of penalizing or reducing eligibility for help if a family makes progress
  • Support and promote mutuality and building social capital, instead of helping individuals outside of the context of their families and communities
  • Honor resident leadership and expertise, instead of professionals and outside intervention
  • View families as consumers with valuable feedback entitled to hold services and programs accountable, instead of needy victims
  • Direct Outcomes From FII’s Approach 

FII’s approach has been demonstrated in several cities across the country. Families in these projects show significant near- and long- term economic gains as well as a host of other outcomes that show increased control over their lives and choices for the future.

In Boston:

In June of 2010 152 individuals, including 81 children, from 35 families enrolled in FII’s Boston demonstration project. In just six months by working together they made tremendous progress toward the goals they set for themselves. Outcomes include:

  • 13% increase in average household income (excluding subsidies and FII payments)
  • 22% increase in average savings
  • 25% of children improved grades
  • 20% improved attendance

The families are pursuing a range of initiatives to move forward and are focused on quality of life issues like more time with their kids, for themselves, building relationships, better access to food, self care, and education. The families reported over 500 initiatives and positive “sparks” from June to December of 2010. Families are also taking steps to raise their credit rating by getting financial counseling, paying bills on time, and reducing debt. 

Read more about FII–Boston

Control & Choice

Everyone wants control over their circumstances and a reasonable set of choices for their children's futures. FII operates under the assumption that, like most middle and upper class people, most low-income families are capable of taking tangible steps towards establishing control and choice in their lives. What these families lack is sufficient capital and access to opportunities and information that are more readily available to the middle and upper income.

looking for new models for health care

Treating the Cause, Not the Illness [OPINION]

The New York Times, David Bornstein, 07/28/2011

Five decades after the war on poverty, a work force that can systematically address the social causes of illness is still to be built. Health Leads offers a model of how it might work

Who We Are

We believe that those who dive deeply into the personal story will emerge in the human story.  

Ashlar Center for Narrative Arts is an arts driven non-profit educational organization that serves the Personal Story.

We are Peace Builders working with the individual and community. 

Our goal is to create the global story of war as experienced through women and children.

Our desire is to nurture relationship, encourage learning, healing  and teaching by exploring and telling the personal and collective Story.

We come to our clients by invitation and with them develop culturally relevant programs.

The goal is building resiliency and capacity through the story telling process and creating a relevant Self-Care program. 

We use spoken word, writing, and arts processes  to extend  language and give voice to the unspoken, to make coherent the life story.  

Our purpose is to give these stories public exposure across platforms.  

While our work is highly therapeutic it is not psychotherapy.

Our processes lie closer to anthropology, and spirituality with their mythological underpinnings.

We invite you to invite us.

Cruise the web page and stay tuned.