Donna Huston (LAC) – Asher House, Tallahassee
“The Asher idea is a right idea,” exclaims Donna Huston, a member of the Local Advisory Council (LAC) at Asher House, Tallahassee in Florida. “It’s a divine idea, so it is complete and includes everything necessary for fulfillment and success. It’s a blessing!” This month, we are delighted to spotlight Donna and the Tallahassee LAC.
Donna grew up in Tallahassee and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in finance and accounting. Although she has lived in several different places, including Alabama, Georgia, and other parts of Florida, she loves Tallahassee and always returns. Donna worked as a CPA for many years before retiring last summer. She now enjoys spending time with her children and young grandchildren, and is an active birder and gardener.
The LAC at Asher House, Tallahassee, like all Asher LACs, consists of a group of volunteers, like Donna, from the local Christian Science community. It offers an “on-the-ground network” of support and resources to the House Manager and student-residents. LAC responsibilities include metaphysically supporting Asher Student Foundation and the local house, backing up the House Manager as needed, being available as mentors to the residents, and looking for opportunities to represent and promote Asher in the community. LACs play a key role in the success of Asher Houses around the country.
Donna has been a dedicated member of the Tallahassee LAC for nearly 10 years because she loves to support the Asher House residents. She especially enjoys the quarterly LAC meetings at the House that are usually coupled with lunch with the House Manager and catching up with the residents. Her prayers include the idea that Asher provides a sense of home, harmony, security and support to all its residents. The metaphysical work that Donna and the Tallahassee LAC have done has certainly been effective: the house is at full capacity and thriving!
Thank you, Donna and the rest of the members of the Tallahassee LAC (and all Asher LACs), for the wonderful support that you provide to Asher Student Foundation!
Rose Keyaer – Asher Cottage
This month, we are delighted to feature a double spotlight – first on Rose Keyaer and second on Asher Cottage, where Rose lives. Rose, who hails from Migori, Kenya, is one of the first Christian Science Nursing Arts students to live in the newly-opened Asher Cottage at Arden Wood in San Francisco, California. Here at Asher Student Foundation, we are very happy to know how much Rose (and the rest of her housemates) love their new home!
Rose has spent most of her life in Kenya, working as a cosmetologist and for a telecommunications company before pursing a degree in marketing at Kisii University. At one point, she hoped to become a medical nurse. However, when a good friend introduced her to Christian Science 10 years ago, Rose began to live and cherish the truth in her daily life, and the idea of Christian Science nursing began to take shape. As a board member of First Church, Migori, Kenya, Rose would often visit local people in need, providing them with prayer, food and practical support. Several friends told her that she had the qualities of a Christian Science nurse. That’s when she felt the call to go to the United States to gain Christian Science nursing skills. Trusting God’s guidance, Rose left Kenya and moved to San Francisco in May 2015 to begin Christian Science Nursing Arts Training at Arden Wood.
Since day one, Rose has loved every aspect of training – especially the daily one-on-one communication with patients. She is constantly learning new things and growing spiritually. “It’s all about allaying the fear [of the patient]. My training has enabled me to understand that it’s not about the physical care of the patient. It’s much more. I am relying on prayer and I am witnessing healing. Whatever [attitude] I bring into the room makes a difference, even if it’s just a smile. I have learned more patience and more trust.” After talking to Rose, it is clear that she has found her calling!
Rose also loves living at Asher Cottage. She enjoys the home-like atmosphere, especially the spacious kitchen where she and her housemates can cook and share meals together, and her bedroom, for the natural light and ocean breeze that come in through the windows each day. “If you live here, you won’t ever want to live anywhere else!”
Asher Cottage has a terrific “back story.” The structure, which is on the Arden Wood campus, is not new, but it’s been completely renovated, inside and out, including appliances and furniture. Its deteriorating condition limited its use for the last decade, but Arden Wood had a vision for it: to create a communal living space for its Christian Science nurse trainees. And that’s when ASF got involved.
The ASF Board of Trustees awarded a one-time grant to Arden Wood to create Asher Cottage for the exclusive use of its CSN students. The two-story house has separate living quarters (by floor) for women and men, including separate kitchens, dining rooms, living rooms, and laundry facilities. The house can accommodate 11 students plus the House Manager (also a Christian Science nurse). And Rose is one of the first students to move in!
Rose will finish her training this year and then become a Journal-listed Christian Science nurse. She will most likely remain at Arden Wood for a while, but her prayer is to eventually go back to Africa and serve the Cause in her home country. But she isn’t limiting her next steps. She is open to traveling anywhere in the world, to go wherever she’s needed. “Where there is a call, I will be able to answer,” she said. “When God calls you, you have to answer. If it is the right call, the path will always be straight and nothing will overshadow your path.”
ASF is thrilled to be able to help provide a home for the Christian Science Nursing Arts Students at Arden Wood and just as pleased that Rose Keyaer is one of these students.
Will Greene – Asher House, Seattle
Welcome to Asher House, Seattle, Will Greene! Not only is Will our newest House Manager (HM), but he is also an alumnus of Asher House, Washington, DC. Will first learned about Asher through his sister-in-law (also a DC alum), and lived at Asher DC over the summer of 2010 while interning on Capitol Hill. Now, he’s settling into his new HM responsibilities quite nicely!
Will loved the DC house for its prime location (Dupont Circle) and for the unique feeling of home he felt there. “It’s a feeling you get when you walk in the door,” he says. “It’s a sense of calm; a sense of peace that you feel… I think it’s just a reflection of what Asher is all about, and of the love and respect people have for each other and the house.” Will has a similar feeling about the Seattle house, especially because of the opportunities he has as HM to offer support and guidance to his fellow residents.
Will holds two degrees from Arizona State University – a B.A. in Business Sustainability, and an M.A. in Real Estate Development. He returned to his home state of Washington in 2015, where he works as an Assistant Land Entitlement Manager for Toll Brothers, a well-known home building company. He’ll continue to work for Toll Brothers in addition to being House Manager.
Will is passionate about sustainability and the environment! He spent two years working for the Sierra Club in Phoenix in between college and graduate school. He decided on real estate development because it combined all of his favorite things: business, sustainability and having a positive impact on the world.
We are so grateful that Will has joined our Asher team, and for the positive impact that he is already having at Asher!
Lakiera Poole – Asher House, Tallahassee
This month, meet Lakiera Poole from Asher House, Tallahassee, who has a passion for fashion! She is currently studying business at Tallahassee Community College, and plans to transfer to Florida State University next year, where she can add fashion courses to her business studies. Lakiera took sewing and fashion classes throughout her childhood and in high school; she has always had her eye on the fashion industry.
Her dream is to own her own clothing or shoe store—to be her own boss and to run a top-notch business. In preparation, she currently works two jobs, one in retail and the other in hospitality, in addition to being a student.
Lakiera graduated from Principia Upper School in June, 2012, and moved to Asher House, Tallahassee in August. She lived at Asher for a year, and left when she decided to take a break from school. She returned to Asher and to college in the fall of 2015. Lakiera’s favorite memory of living at Asher took place her very first week there—back in 2012. She remembers being nervous about moving to a new place and a little scared to be by herself. But that changed as soon as she moved in and met her Asher housemates. “Once I came here, I felt at home,” she said. “It was just so nice to have this opportunity to stay with people that automatically accepted me as family.” Hanging out with her housemates and participating in activities, such as CSO meetings and weekly game nights, are also highlights for Lakiera.
The Asher family is thrilled to have Lakiera back at Asher House, Tallahassee and is looking forward to her continuing presence in the house throughout her college years. Someday, Lakiera plans to live in Los Angeles, California, and make her dreams come true. And we’re certain she’ll do it!
Student Spotlight on Sisters — Meet Lillian and Marlaina Marshall
Meet Lillian and Marlaina Marshall, sisters who overlapped as residents and then as House Managers at Asher House, East Lansing. The Marshall sisters are third generation Asherites! Their dad, Tim Marshall, met their mom, Joy, in the early 1980s at the same Asher House. A recent MSU and Asher House graduate, Tim was working as the house handyman, while Joy was an MSU freshman and Asher resident. A grandfather and several aunts and uncles are also Asher alums. It’s no surprise that Lillian and Marlaina were eager to live at Asher when they became college students.
Just like their parents, the sisters attended Michigan State University while living at Asher House, East Lansing. They loved the cozy feel of the house and appreciated the quiet, homelike atmosphere for studying schoolwork and Christian Science. They also loved living together – their rooms were right across the hall from each other, just like their rooms at home when they were growing up. Lillian noted another benefit: “We’ve always been sisters, but I think that living together in college helped us appreciate each other more as friends, too.”
Marlaina graduated this past December with a degree in Packaging. She moved to Asher in the fall of 2010 and lived there all throughout college, first as a resident and then as House Manager, except when she was interning – once in Pennsylvania and once in Chicago. Marlaina now works as a packaging engineer for Kimberly-Clark, a consumer goods company, and lives in Appleton, Wisconsin. She is the substitute soloist at her branch church.
Lillian is currently serving as Asher House Manager. She first moved to Asher in August of 2012, and she graduated from MSU this past May with a degree in Child Development and Elementary Education. This fall, Lillian will earn Master’s credits at MSU while completing her student teaching internship teaching third and fourth grades. At the moment, she expects to stay in Michigan after her semester of student teaching, unless another opportunity arises…! Lillian participated in the women’s chamber ensemble at MSU for 2½ years, and served as president of the MSU chapter of Sigma Alpha Iota (ΣΑΙ), an International Music Fraternity for women.
It’s been a real treat to have the Marshall sisters as Asher residents – to benefit from their individual contributions and to perpetuate their family tradition. As is true about all of our Asher House residents and alumni, we look forward to seeing how their individual journeys unfold and how far the connection to Asher House will expand in the future!
Leticia Fillizola – Asher House, Boston
“I have the music itch. I’ve always had music on the side, but I felt like I needed to see where music could take me.”
It is safe to say that Leticia Filizzola is an incredible guitarist. Originally from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Leticia lives at Asher House, Boston and currently studies at Berklee College of Music, majoring in performance guitar. Before arriving in Boston, Leticia attended Principia College, where she earned a degree in Mass Communications. She then worked as an associate producer for the Discovery Channel in Miami, Florida for a year before auditioning for Berklee. Leticia moved into Asher House, Boston a year ago and just finished her second semester at Berklee.
It was during the summer of 2013 while interning at the Portuguese Herald (O Arauto) at the Christian Science Publishing Society that Leticia decided she would, in her own words, “take a leap of faith” and eventually move back to Boston and audition for Berklee. As a Performance major, she is looking forward to playing with as many different people and bands as possible. Her future goals are to work as a session or side guitarist for different bands, and possibly have her own band!
Leticia appreciates the homelike atmosphere in Asher House, Boston. “It’s really cool living in a house with Christian Scientists,” she says. “It sounds cliché, but when we’re all on the same page in terms of values and how we approach things, it’s so much easier. There’s so much support here. To think you’re going to be completely on your own – it’s not like that. It’s a family atmosphere.” And it’s an atompshere Leticia loves!
Leticia’s Asher family certainly enjoys having her at Asher House, Boston and is eager to see how her path in the music world unfolds!
Check out her YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/leticiafilizzola
Kelsey Smiley – Asher House, Seattle
Kelsey lived in Asher House, Seattle in 2009-2010 while studying at nearby Seattle Central College. Then, last October, she moved back in with us while earning her Master’s degree in middle school mathematics instruction at Western Governors University. In just a few short weeks, Kelsey will complete her student teaching and graduate. She will then head to Ghana, Africa to teach middle school math as a Peace Corps volunteer. Kelsey is very excited to fulfill a lifelong dream of experiencing another culture in depth.
What has Kelsey loved most about living at Asher? “Our house dinners on Sundays! It’s really cool to have a group of young Christian Scientists in the same room that I wouldn’t see otherwise.” These family-style dinners take place every week and might include ten or more people—student residents as well as invited guests. Another of Kelsey’s favorite house activities is the spontaneous Nerf gun fights in the hallways. Clearly, Asher House group activities range from a pleasant conversation to a wacky study break!
All of us here at ASF wish Kelsey success in her next steps of service and adventure. Kelsey’s experience is a terrific example of the home base and the launch pad Asher House can be for its residents.