Executive Director, Frank Anello, reflects on 2019 at Project Worthmore.
I have always been a nostalgic person. I often think about the days that changed the course of my life and how most seemed deceptively ordinary in the moment. It was August of 2009 when I first walked into an apartment in Aurora, Colorado to meet Athawng, Sui Hal and their two kids. They had traveled over 9,000 miles from Malaysia where they had been living as refugees to begin a new life here in America.
Where would I be today, what would my life look like, if I had not said yes to what I now realize was my calling? When I met Athawng I found myself unable to turn away from the needs I saw in the refugee community. I was unable to leave behind the new friends I made on a daily basis— friends who had so little but shared so much.
A decade later, Project Worthmore is serving thousands of refugees each year. We have six programs, dozens of partnerships with some of Colorado’s best organizations, foundations and businesses, and a staff of the most dedicated and compassionate people I have ever met. Of all we have accomplished, what touches me the most is seeing the relationships that have forever changed the lives of others— relationships so similar to my friendship with Athawng.
Recently we have been sharing the story of the friendship between James Laurie, our Board Vice Chair and Lomami, a refugee from the DRC. Reading his words made me realize again what we learn about our culture, our home and ourselves from those who came here seeking refuge. I see America differently now that I have seen it through the experiences I have shared with so many new friends. What James wrote echoes the truth that I have seen from my friends from Burma, Afghanistan, Iraq and dozens of other countries— “The line between neighbors and family are blurry… Neighbors support each other like family.”
As another year closes, I feel so fortunate to be writing another letter as the Executive Director of Project Worthmore. I am humbled by what we have done by choosing to be a part of a community that welcomes and supports, that teaches and learns from one another, a community that accepts differences and supports each other like family.
Please consider making an end of year gift that will allow us to continue the work that we do. Know that your donation will directly help build community and change the course of life for so many people.
In humble gratitude,
Frank Anello, Executive Director