Amber and Brady Black are a married couple currently living in Beirut, Lebanon, and they are a true inspiration. Having grown up and met in the United States, they decided to move to the Middle East to teach. The first five years abroad were not easy, and Amber found herself fighting depression, which she courageously shares about in our interview. After some discussion, they decided that they needed to leave the gulf region. In a series of synchronous events, a friend of a friend mentioned that there was an opening at “Home Of Hope” in Beirut, which is a home for abandoned and abused children in Lebanon. Amber and Brady went for a visit, and knew in their hearts that they had to teach there.
Brady had been interested in art in his younger years, and returned to it when things had gotten hard; in drawing whimsical art for a friend who wanted note cards to put in her children’s lunches, something magical was born. Brady realized he had an outlet for his creativity, and it tapped into the imagination of the children and parents that saw it. When more requests came for note cards, Amber and Brady realized they had the beginnings of a business, one that brought joy to them and others, brought more purpose them as a couple, and helped Amber feel a sense of belonging and connection as she came out of her depression.
Joy and love is the through-line for Amber and Brady’s work at Home of Hope, Lebanon, as well. They work with children who have been abandoned, abused, that are refugees, who have been on the streets, some have been involved in prostitution. At the Home, Amber and Brady teach the children, but it becomes so clear in the interview, they also meet each of these children right where they are, provide a consistent presence in their lives, and love them.
I adored getting to know Amber and Brady – they are funny, passionate, open, and so dedicated to both Serious Creatures and Home of Hope. I loved hearing about how Brady’s passion for drawing and imagination truly changed their lives, and how both of them said “yes” to starting a business when the idea presented itself. And, I loved hearing about how much they love working with the kids in Beirut. I know you’ll enjoy getting to know them, too.
In this interview we talk about:
– How Amber and Brady met at college, and have “been married every since”
– What it was like to move to Oman from Texas
– How Amber faced depression when she moved to Oman, and how she felt culturally isolated
– How art, imagination, and hope changed their lives, and started a company
– How Serious Creatures got it’s name (hint: there’s some Harry Potter magic involved!)
– The way they were introduced to Home of Hope
– What it’s like to teach children of various ages and various levels of educational background
– How they strike a balance of taking care of themselves while working with children from difficult backgrounds
– Their kickstarter with Serious Creatures (Serious Starters)
– What it was like for Brady to see children reacting to his art for the first time
– What’s next for them and Serious Creatures
Serious Creatures Website
Serious Creatures sign up page to learn about their after Thanksgiving sale
Serious Creatures Instagram
Serious Creatures Kickstarter
Home of Hope Lebanon Facebook page