Happy Holidays

Happy holidays!

Long ago, someone said, “Do something with your life that’s beautiful and will last.” That sentiment stuck with me, and I suspect you can relate to it too.

Is there anything more beautiful and lasting than helping others? Especially when “helping” means empowering families and communities – even tough ones – to be better, healthier, and more stable? And it goes on. Each person, each family we help offers a better chance for their children. It’s an enduring legacy and yes, research shows that helping others is both healthy and contagious.

 You can affect a family’s stability, their children’s health and IQ, their nutrition, their wealth, the health of their homes, and even climate change.

How? By supporting the work we do, and have done, for 37 years. As you can see from the attached highlights, Isles is a rare organization that finds innovative ways to strengthen families and make environments healthier.

Isles provides tools and training to foster self-reliance. Fundamentally entrepreneurial, we teach students and their parents how to grow their own healthy food in over 60 community gardens, how to convert toxic homes to healthy ones for children, and how to manage finances in ways that build wealth.

We also create healthy, energy efficient, sustainable places to live, work and play. Isles rebuilds homes, solar-powered former factories, parks, greenways, and more.  We then share that knowledge with others.

Isles saves families and taxpayers lots of money, reducing costs for energy, food, health care, education, housing, and much more.

These stories show how your support impacts families, kids, and communities.


Junior year, Julio left high school. In his words, “I didn’t know what to do, and I was embarrassed at being at a seventh-grade level, so I stopped going…”

In six short months, after entering the “tough-love” culture of Isles Youth Institute (IYI), he completed the rigorous Mental Toughness orientation, studied hard, attained certifications in carpentry and fork-lift operation, and interned at NASCAR’s Urban Youth Racing School. Later, he earned a diploma and even won the 2018 IYI Elizabeth Gray Erickson award for optimism and courage.

“It was a feeling I can’t really explain. It’s like your life is declining and you’re doing so bad, but then you finally feel like you succeeded in something. For your life to hit a 180 – man, it’s a great feeling, I loved it.” Julio thrived at IYI, and now works there helping other students travel the same path.


The Perez family fell behind in their mortgage after the birth of their twin boys. Isles’ Housing Counselor Elena helped them negotiate with the bank to successfully modify their mortgage. 

But the story doesn’t end there. Elena learned that one of the twins had elevated blood lead levels, so she connected them to Isles’ lead and healthy homes workers. They discovered the source of the lead: deteriorating windows. Within a few weeks, Isles repaired the house, and the child’s lead levels have come down.

As a result, several of Mr. Perez’s co-workers have come to us to buy a first home, improve their credit, get a mortgage, or test and clean lead in their home.


You can see the difference your investment makes. This entrepreneurial work only happens when you and others get involved. 

Please mail your annual gift today or make a secure gift at isles.org/donate.

We need your help more than ever. Thank you for caring, and acting.

With gratitude and in community,