Audience of One focuses attention on God


Ava Manelis, Staff Writer

You may have heard the term “Audience of One” (or “A1”) or seen the black and white bracelets on the wrists of many LFHS students. It may be known to some as religious lingo that only people who went on Kairos use, but it’s actually a message that anyone can live by.Audience of One means living out parts of your day for God. It’s the little things that make up A1, like brushing your teeth, taking a test, working, and so on. It’s basically doing every action for God, no matter how big or little they may be.

Joseph Santello, who grew up in Lake Forest and went to Everett and Deerpath schools, was introduced to the idea back in 2011 when he was a junior at LFHS. Santello now helps out with CROYA retreats and Camp Hope.

A1 wasn’t started in Lake Forest, but Santello helped to spread the message of A1 in our community when he was in high school. It was spread by athletes at first, who wanted to tie in some religious aspect to their sports, and would use A1 to do so.

“Use football as an example. When you step onto that field on Friday night you aren’t playing for a win, individual statistics, your school, to make your parents proud, a scholarship, a final playoff push, but instead you are playing for God,” Santello said.

As well as athletes, many church group members and students at LFHS helped to spread the idea of A1.

“The school is open to having many youth ministers come in, (during finals for example) and talk about each ministry. Due to this, it made it easy to spread A1 and talk about it to people who weren’t going to church groups,” Santello said.

Something that may be preconceived about A1 is that it is only a Christian thing, but it is definitely not. A1 is something that can have a different meaning for everyone.

“The beauty of A1 is it doesn’t have to be a faith-based concept. Sure, majority of people enjoy it because it is tied to their faith, but not everyone is Catholic or Christian,” Santello said.

Your “audience of one” can be anyone you want it to be. The “1” in A1 can be someone in your life who has passed away who was close to you; a grandparent, close friend, or anyone, as you can always live out your day for that person.

As the idea of A1 became popular, a logo was created by Abby Sirus, a 2012 LFHS graduate. The logo is an “A” and a “1” put together so that it resembles a cross.

Two years ago when Santello had graduated and returned to Lake Forest, he noticed that the term A1 was still around, but not as big as it was when he was in high school.

“When my friends and I were in high school, we always talked about making wristbands but never did. Instead we would write A1 on our wrist, basketball shoes, baseball gloves, or even put A1 in eye black,” Santello said.

So, Santello created those wristbands for two reasons- “One – to have kids constantly being reminded about A1 throughout the day and two – to give back to my community,” he said.

A1 hats and shirts are available (check out the @audienceofone instagram) which are pretty simple in their look, but the idea is to have people ask, ‘Hey what is that? What does that mean?’ when they see the logo. And then, as Santello said, “That is how the word will be able to spread.”

Santello’s favorite part of A1 is the positive feedback from kids, especially when they talk to people who have never heard about A1 and spread the message to them.

The A1 mindset obviously should never be pushed on anyone, but is something that everyone and anyone can live by. When life gets busy and times get stressful, it’s powerful to know that your “one” person is always watching out for you. #A1foreverandalways