When first introduced to Arise Project last year, Amy Asche had “no idea” that more than 2,500 children and young adults were homeless in the metro area every night, and that more than 500 of these youth identified as LGBT. “I can’t imagine life on the streets” she explained “or growing up in a household feeling so unsafe that being homeless is a preferred alternative.”
Asche grew up in rural Iowa in a supportive and loving family, feeling respected, appreciated and most important, secure. The cold reality faced by a disproportionately high number of LGBT children, some as young as 10 years old, is that they do not feel safe or accepted and find themselves alone in the world—and homeless.
After hearing Richard Davis, president and CEO of US Bank, speak about the work of Arise Project at an event in 2012, Amy knew she had to commit to the cause. “I want homeless LGBT youth to experience safety and encouragement, not rejection and fear” she stated “and if you can help, you should.”
Through financial support and volunteering, Asche has been able to interact with those positively affected by the work of Arise Project. The three groups that directly benefit from Arise Project each play a vital role in supporting and protecting at-risk youth. During a visit to one of these groups this year Amy was able to see firsthand how her “comparatively small commitment” helped to create a sense of stability and belonging. “I saw them smile and laugh” she said. “This deeply touched me.” We take the ease of smiling for granted but for such young people with such enormous challenges their resilience is inspiring.
As a customer solutions manager at UPS, Asche says she works at a “very positive and awesome” corporation that encourages community support and involvement. As co-chair of the UPS LGBTQA Employee Resource Group, Amy appreciates the measures taken by UPS to ensure all employees are ensured a respectful professional environment.