EarthLinks cultivates transformation and self-worth with people experiencing homelessness and poverty. By creating opportunities through Earth-centered programs, individuals step out of isolation and into community - restoring each other and the planet.
EarthLinks was founded as a nonprofit organization in 1996 through the vision, initiative, and dedication of two Catholic religious women, Bette Ann Jaster, OP, and Cathy Mueller, SL. Over their many years of service in the community, the two women noted profound fragmentation and deep hunger for connection and belonging. This cry came from diverse people in many different circumstances. The founders knew it was possible to create experiences that foster relationships, build community, encourage healing, and deepen our understanding of our relatedness with all life. These are the beliefs that guide EarthLinks today.
The heart of EarthLinks remains a supportive community focused on Earth-care, education, empowerment, and new healing in lives often in disarray. Through growing our own food, working on employment skills, taking steps to obtain housing and peer support, participants move from crisis to stability.
The EarthLinks community, in the words of Participants:
"You get out of this program what you put into it. I'm proud to say that I work here, I represent. EarthLinks is more than just a garden- it's family, it's support, it's people who love me even when I didn't love myself, and my family didn't at that point either. I wouldn't be where I am without this community, I don't even know if I would be alive."
"EarthLinks has been therapeutic for me with hardships that I go through. It helps being able to come here and get away from my thoughts for a while, do something different, and to lose myself in something else instead of worrying about things. When I am feeling my worst, that's when I come here because it makes me feel better about my life, and I can face another day."
"A lot of times when you are homeless, there is this feeling is that you have no worth, you have nothing to contribute. Society acts as if homeless people just appeared out of nowhere, but most of them have been around for quite a number of decades doing a lot of work and either because of illness, or disability, or getting laid off, it's very hard to get a job that pays enough to live on. You begin to feel as though you've been kicked to the curb. Coming to EarthLinks and doing something productive and interesting makes people feel better about themselves, I know it helped me a lot when I needed it."
"What really sustains me at EarthLinks is the garden, being able to look at it, wander through it, and care for it. EarthLinks for me is a meditation in action. It is recuperative and helps me counteract the stress and trauma that I deal with on a daily basis due to poverty."