Building Our Lives Together As One Founder & Executive Director

Lakesha Mai-Ling Allen

Our founder Lakesha Mai-Ling Allen is a firm believer that deep in the inner cities across America there are many gifted children with numerous talents. Regretfully, these children’s talents are crushed due to the many social disparities, inequities, and personal issues they encounter daily. Children are often living with grandparents or other relatives due to one or both of their parents being incarcerated or deceased or are simply from low income families. Due to these situations, talents have been underdeveloped and issues undiagnosed. Lakesha identifies with these circumstances; she grew up in poverty in Brockton, where she witnessed violence, crime, and substance abuse, not only in the community, but in her own family. These painful conditions carved an indelible impression in Lakesha’s young mind.

Decades later Lakesha is still surrounded by the disparities and inequities that hinder communities from improving their quality of life. Because of her personal experiences and recognizing the harsh realities of her community, she created a non profit organization, Building Our Lives Together As One in 2019 with the primary project being FocusOnEmpathy - a program for today’s under-served young people.

After researching the Greater Boston area; primarily the inner-city (Roxbury, Dorchester, Mattapan), she saw an enormous void of programs where empathy is the primary focus within the arts, that implemented a focus on mentors and counselors. It is Lakesha’s belief that teaching empathy and applying art can help manage the social and mental issues that young people encounter in an urban environment. She intentionally developed the FocusOnEmpathy Project a trauma informed program for underserved young people, an intentional plan to be an alternative to violence, drugs, crime, gangs, bullying, and suicide for young people in her community. Lakesha believes by teaching our children forms of empathy they will have a deeper understanding of self and others. Exploring their talents, coupled with a safe place to confront their fears and harsh realities via counseling, group therapy, and advocacy, young people will stand a better chance to become critical thinkers and functioning citizens. FocusOnEmpathy is created to empower youth, to equip them with the tools to assure them that their well-being is important, their peers are important too, that they are not alone, and that their dreams can come true.


  • Alternatives To Violence Apprentice Facilitator Training Jan. 2020 Alternatives to Violence Project

  • Alternatives To Violence Advanced Training Dec. 2020 Alternatives to Violence Project

  • Alternatives To Violence Basic Training Nov. 2020 Alternatives to Violence Project

  • Introduction to Nurturing Fathers Program Philosophy and Facilitation Feb. 2020 Family Nurturing Center

  • Trauma Informed Training Feb. 2020 International Trauma Center

  • Wellness Coaching Powerful Skills for Everyday People March 2019 Institute for Wellness Education

  • Harm Reduction March 2019 National Health Care for the Homeless Council

  • Fire Safety March 2019 Safety Skills Work Smarter

  • Parenting Journey 2 Dec. 2018 Boston Suffolk Family Resource Center

  • Parenting Journey 1 June 2018 Boston Suffolk Family Resource Center

  • Health and Wellness 2018 Mothers For Justice and Equality

  • Financial Literacy 2018 Mothers For Justice and Equality

  • You Matter Personal Development and Leadership Training 2018 Mothers For Justice and Equality

  • National Parent Leadership Institute June 2018 Chelsea Neighborhood Development

  • Active Parenting of Teens May 2018 Boston Suffolk Family Resource Center

  • Parent Essentials April 2018 Boston Public School Office of Engagement

  • Parent-Child Math Cooking Club April 2018 Boston Public School Parent University

  • Public Policy Training Feb. 2018 Rosie's Place

  • Nurturing Parenting Feb. 2018 Rosie's Place

  • Anger Management Group Feb. 2018 Rosie’s Place

  • Choices (Steps Toward Health) Feb. 2018 UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program

  • Introduction to Restorative Justice and Circle Training Feb. 2018 Suffolk University Boston Center for Restorative Justice