Your Views: ASF saves lives

Your Views: ASF saves lives
Photo: Alexandria Seaport Foundation

To the editor:

I want to share with your readers a most wonderful, amazing and truly dedicated organization that goes above and beyond for an under-served portion of the community – at-risk youth in need of direction and guidance. This is a vulnerable and in need population which our society, across the country, has naively ignored. But not the Alexandria Seaport Foundation.

I stumbled upon the Seaport Center one day at lunchtime walking along the Alexandria waterfront. I walked in and a man was working on a boat. He told me all about this organization that helps young adults, both male and female, who are struggling to find their place in the world, and provides them a second chance to become responsible adults who are accountable for their actions – while learning teamwork and acquiring both carpentry and life skills. Their motto is “Building boats, Building lives.”

Eight years after this encounter, my nephew was heading in the wrong direction with the law. I remembered ASF. After going through the application process, my nephew was accepted into their paid apprenticeship program.

He has hit some bumps in the road and setbacks with his goals there, but ASF has stayed with him every step of the way, even when I thought it was over for him. My nephew has grown by leaps and bounds. He now has a passion for woodworking and is thinking about a career, a future for himself.

We need more organizations like ASF that believe in the underdogs in the world and give them a chance to believe in themselves.

-Colleen Burdick, Woodbridge, Virginia