It’s funny how certain pieces of our lives’ paths come back around. I followed the first thread in mid January — a random coffee painting on Instagram. A comment and conversation with a Canadian stranger soon followed, and what do you know, here I am again. 

My name is Allison Rohland. I transitioned from my position as Horizon’s Marketing Coordinator two years ago and moved across the country to Seattle. In a serendipitous twist, I write today to share an artistic collaboration between Horizon and myself with you. 

I was originally drawn to Horizon because I, too, knew the loss of a parent. My mother passed away when I was 15. In that time, I had the privilege of resources and a community rallying behind me. It saddened me to think that for many children, both in the US and in the countries where we worked, orphanhood also meant isolation and vulnerability to abuse. My time at Horizon opened my eyes to harsh realities so many children face after suffering such a loss. It broke my heart, and I felt a deep call to be part of a community for these kids. But hear me in this: I’m not painting these children as victims who need saving. These children bubble over with life, spirit and love — even after insurmountable loss.  

I’m embarking on a collaboration with Horizon to celebrate those things — life, spirit and love — in each child’s own artistic expression. We’re calling it The Big Kahuna, and it’s a global art collaboration between the kids and donors of Horizon.

We are exploring the power of connecting with one another and celebrating our cultures through art. Each child and donor who chooses to participate in the project will be given the same color palette, brushes and prompt: paint your favorite animal, plant, pattern or food from your culture! From there, in-country staff and donors will submit their individual works to Horizon. We’ll then take some of the individual works and turn it into a collaborative art piece to show what beautiful things we can create together from each of our different perspectives.