Encompass has had a real impact on the lives of the hundreds of young people who have taken part in its programmes. This is how one of them, Zahra, described that impact in a letter to Alex Braden on the 15th anniversary:
I joined this program in February 2016 and it had a HUGE impact on my life. I remember how strongly I formed bonds with people I never once thought I could befriend. It completely changed my outlook on the world, and the notion of an ‘enemy’ according to country politics, religious belief or the media.
I just wanted to thank you and your wife. It can’t have been easy dealing with such an awful awful loss. But you used it to MAKE your lives and others even more giving, life changing and inspiring. All in Daniel’s memory.
I remember speaking to you both at the closing ceremony at the end of the program. I was the girl in hijab that ended up crying when I tried to express how much this program affected me. I remember how your wife took my hands with so much love and you both spoke to me and were so glad it had impacted me and my friends in such an incredible way.
I want to go on to use what I’ve learnt in my work as a Journalist one day, drawing upon this experience and always remaining open minded and inquisitive.
I learnt to ask questions, to love others unconditionally and to pursue my passions with the wider goal of making a difference.
And it is all because of Daniel.
And you, his parents.
You used his life, his legacy, to affect thousands of lives across the world in a positive way.
I just wanted to say thank you. I hope our paths cross again one day and I in some way, can make you proud. After all, so much was sparked from this program.