Greetings from Aslan! We are often asked the question, “Why has Aslan been so successful for 41 years in shaping the lives of urban, at-risk children?” Our answer is always the same: “Because of the deep and lasting relationships we develop with our Aslan children, we can be a part of God’s plan in helping shape the content of their character.”
Here are a few examples of how this happens:
- Ciara is a sweet girl in our Red Bank Tutoring Program. A couple of years ago, she pre-tested at a 2nd grade level in math. Because of her devoted tutor and their strong relationship, her post-test results were astounding. She improved to a 4th-grade math level in just 9 months!
- Several years ago, D’Asia’s mother came to us and begged us to help her get D’Asia out of the school she was attending. The district where she attended school has some of the lowest test scores and standards in New Jersey. With Aslan’s help, D’Asia attended Westside Christian Academy in Asbury Park until she entered high school in Neptune.
- In July 2013 Aslan graduate, Cheryl Edmond, flew from Oklahoma to speak at our annual Island Nights fund and friend raiser. The crowd listened intently as Cheryl spoke about how Aslan laid a solid foundation that changed her life forever and kept her on track for success. Three years ago Cheryl completed her degree as a Registered Nurse!
- In May 2013, Richard wrote us from Afghanistan, “You have guided me to this point in my life where I could have gone left but you always kept me right. Thank God for believing I could make it when I did not believe in myself. Thank you for loving me. Words cannot express what my heart feels for the life and vision you gave me. Aslan is and always will be my family.”
- Aimee wrote us from Texas, “I feel blessed to have been a part of such a wonderful family! It gave me the foundation to know who God is and how amazing a relationship with Him is. Continue with all the great things you do, and PLEASE continue to pray for me!”
- One of our original Aslan students, Daryl, is now in his fifties and has been a college professor in Florida for 30 years. He recently published a book, A Journey to Behold: Learning How to Read the Bible as Literature. In his book, Daryl talks about Aslan and thanks us for being one of the “voices” that guided him towards a happy and successful life.
- Every year or two I am privileged to sit down with Chris, a Retired Navy Commander, on his way from “somewhere in the world.” Chris is as fine an individual as walks the earth. He grew up only a mile or so from where I write this letter, in a tiny and poor, single-parent home. But poverty and failure were never a part of Chris’ vocabulary! Aslan has been a part of Chris’ heart since he was a young teen. After retiring from the Navy, he and his lovely wife and son moved to Australia. Chris has worked in security for a major Australian shipping firm, and he recently worked for Intertek, a major international quality testing and safety solutions firm. How appropriate that Chris’s position with Intertek was in Leadership Training!
At the heart of Aslan Youth Ministries is leadership training! Through our alumni, we reach to Florida, Afghanistan, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee, Maryland, Ohio, New Jersey, New York California, Alaska, Haiti and all the way to Australia! The character instilled in our Aslan graduates literally travels around the world. Our leaders train other leaders, and the ripples from the pebble in the pond reach farther than any of us can know.
By investing in Aslan, you truly are changing the world . . . one child at a time. This is no trite cliché. It is the truth! And God is at the very center of everything we do. He is the foundation of every Aslan program and activity. Character is defined as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” The best definition of the word values is “those things that you value in life.” And like it or not, character and values are spiritual concepts. If our definition of words is based merely on opinion, then one person might say being of good character and good values means hurting others while someone else might say these words mean helping others and living a life of service.
Aslan is celebrating our 41st year of service. Please help us continue to build STRONG and vibrant leaders like Chris, Daryl, Aimee, Richard, Cheryl, D’Asia Ciarra and so many more. Be a partner with us in this wonderful work.