On the other side of high-rise buildings and far beyond the mountain peaks, is a place where every face is seen, every voice is heard and every hand is held. No matter what. This is the place where we all belong.

Belonging — the notion and belief that all people have a seat at the table, a hand to hold, and a place to rest —  is this year’s Gala theme. Belonging is in the fabric of Horizon. Its whispered in our Core Value of human dignity, which recognizes the intrinsic, unique value in all people. This is true for all people:  just as true for the person who knows their worth as it is for the orphaned child whose only image of family is a shattered memory — if the memory is even there. For these, knowledge of belonging isn’t quite as visible. We want to change that, to help shine light on the worth, dignity and belonging that’s always been there. 

Everyone’s got a story. For Carlos*, an 11-year-old boy at Casa de Esperanza, his began in a way that no one’s should. When he and his siblings were rescued and they arrived at the micro community, the emotional trauma of his past wasn’t instantly healed. Family isn’t an overnight reality, nor is it a band-aid to cure past hurt. But what family does do — what it’s made for, in some cases, is to provide a safe place for that healing to start. It’s a clean bed and a seat at the dinner table. it’s parents who treat their children with care and kindness. On a recent visit, program coordinator Jeff asked Carlos how he feels about belonging in his family.

“I feel like this is my true family,” Carlos says to Jeff, “that this is my place.” 

“The family that cares for me is good. They take care of me and make me good food every day. And they never leave me alone.” 

When a child — when any one of us — knows they belong, anything can happen. Will you join us in shouting it from the mountain peaks, walking across the roads, looking up high, down low and around corners to make sure everyone knows: