Being the Best of “Me”

Tony be. is a founding member of Green Opportunities. Photo: Urban News

Tony be.

By Melissa Henry –

Tony be. has a dynamic mix of life and professional experiences throughout North America.

As a child, when asked by his father what he was going to be when he grew up, he would say, “I am going to get paid to be me.”

This is precisely the philosophy upon which he structures his life.

Tony is passionately working to create a world he can be proud of. He believes one must “be non-reactive, be willing to tolerate discomfort for the sake of growth.” As he describes his philosophy, “There is beauty in our differences and comfort where we overlap.” These values have influenced even his choice of how he identifies himself, thus the surname ‘be’.

His experience has taught him that we all have a lot more in common than we acknowledge. “We seem to commonly be separated by those differences that many of us did not choose. We have a choice as to whether we focus on our similarities or differences.”

These core values have shaped his work history as much as his life. Tony has served as an AmeriCorps member on Whidbey Island, WA, interned with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the NC coast, and worked in Alternative Education and Therapeutic Recreation in many locales. Since moving to Asheville in 2007, he has championed social and environmental justice causes. As a founding team member of Green Opportunities, Tony provided mentorship for hundreds of young men and women, many of whom stay connected with him to this day.

Recently, Tony was hired by Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) to create a pilot program with AmeriCorps, launching a new branch of the AmeriCorps Project Conserve program Summer of Service, a young adult development initiative designed to engage 17-to-19-year-olds of backgrounds typically underrepresented in environmental fields of study and work. Five motivated, self-aware, and open-minded participants will have the opportunity to develop leadership, life, and work skills through a summer of service focused on environmental stewardship, maintaining trails and restoring habitat on natural lands primarily in Henderson County.

Tony holds a degree in Park and Natural Resources Management from the University of Illinois, as well as a Permaculture Professional Design Certificate. He has attended countless trainings and workshops, the most notable being the Racial Equity Institute (REI) training. He also owns of Adl Rentals LLC. “Adl” is an Arabic word, and means, in short, “just.”

“I found that justice is a barrier that many people experience in finding a safe place to lay their head while creating the life they want for themselves and their families,” Tony explains. “The reality in our region is even more complicated, and too often the past inhibits mobility in life today. Adl Rentals LLC is in business to create a safe housing opportunity for deserving citizens of WNC.

He explains, “We work with area leaders, mentors, educators, and clergy to reach deserving people and families. We are judging potential tenants and customers by who they are and what they are doing now, not by what they did ‘back then’. We are looking to expand this model to provide the same service/opportunity to others.

Adl is a quadruple-bottom-line business, expanding on the triple bottom line model of people, planet, profit. “We believe there is a fourth intention or goal that comes from spirit or higher power, or something!”

Tony is a resident of Gerton, NC, along with his partner Julia and sons Noah and Ethan. Contact him at tony@carolinamountain.org

 

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