A conversation between Aeon resident, Dorsey and Aeon President & CEO, Alan Arthur

Aeon resident, Dorsey and Aeon’s President and CEO, Alan Arthur participated in a StoryCorps interview. Listen to them share their personal stories and the importance of home, and read their reflections below.

Aeon CEO and Aeon resident in conversation

In September, Aeon President & CEO Alan Arthur recorded a Story Corps interview with Aeon resident Dorsey Howard. Here are their reflections on their conversation.

Alan Arthur, Aeon President & CEO 

StoryCorps’ mission is to share and preserve personal stories from people in our communities, to help build connections and create a more just and compassionate world.

I was proud to engage with Dorsey, to become part of his story, and to embrace him as a bigger part of my own story.  It’s humbling to know that 45 minutes of our personal stories will be archived in the Library of Congress, and I am humbled to have the opportunity to sit down with Dorsey.  I already knew some of Dorsey’s story — he presented at a large Aeon event this spring.  But in my 45+ StoryCorps minutes with him, I learned more.

As we spoke in intimate detail about parts of our lives, something Dorsey said especially struck me.  He said something like: “we are what we do.”

I’ve heard people say, “I am not going to let myself be defined by my work.”  That has always seemed strange to me.  Most of us spend more than 1/3 of our waking lives working — it would be sad if we didn’t make that time matter in some positive way for somebody.

We are imperfect human beings.  We will make lots of mistakes in our lives, some big, some small.  But we can all strive to be better, to do more.  I am proud to work with so many wonderful people at Aeon where I get the opportunity to to help more people have a home for themselves and their families.  And I am very proud to be a friend of Dorsey Howard, who has absolutely rededicated the rest of his life to share his path and his learnings, and to make a tremendously positive impact in other people’s lives.

Dorsey Howard, Aeon resident

When I was asked to do a StoryCorps interview with Alan, my first thought was that this was another blessing. I had another opportunity to talk with Alan — a man I who I found to be easy to converse with. A man who I could call a friend.

During our conversation, we discovered that not only did we share common experiences throughout our lives, but we shared common emotions and feelings, too.  No matter who we are — what race, nationality, economic class, or educational level — we often have similar emotional needs and experiences. I felt throughout the StoryCorps event that we were able to get deep and really exchange honest feelings and ideas. We talked about our mothers and our families. As a kid who grew up in the projects of Chicago, it was hard to imagine I could sit down with this man and share our most intimate experiences. It was so real! At one point I think we both wanted to cry, and that touched me like never before.

Without people like Alan and Aeon, I would never have been able to write my book, create my class curriculum, record my cable show, and tape my podcasts.  The key Aeon handed me for my apartment allowed me to be the man I am today because home is everything.  I have had the opportunity to get to know the wonderful staff and people connected with Aeon and want to thank them for believing in me and opening my life to the successes I have experienced since that day.

Please continue giving people a second chance, because rather you know it or not. You guys are changing and or saving people lives. I would be dead or in prison today if it wasn’t for Aeon. You guys are the best and continuing to get better and do more for the people that need you the most, ME.

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