My mom got me involved with volunteer work from a young age. She and my dad did volunteer work throughout their careers, and I was always brought along to events or meetings. Going to all these meetings and events, I quickly learned the importance of giving back to the community. As I got older, my family started volunteering so that I could do my work instead of just helping my parents. We would go to events, and I would get to have my own little task or project to help with the entirety of the group. I then started to branch off and work with organizations I was passionate about. Through those organizations, I could make connections with some amazing people. When I looked at getting involved with some of the organizations that I now steadily volunteer with, it was really easy to get started. I searched for organizations with missions or programming that I wanted to support and then reached out to see how I could get involved. Most of the time, it was as simple as an email or Facebook message to the organization to see where they could use volunteers. Every organization can use more volunteers for their work; it all just depends on where they need volunteers the most to make your first step in the door. Once you are a part of the group of people they have, you can branch out to start working with other parts of the organization that you may be more interested in or passionate about. If you are someone who wants to help make an impact on your community, the best thing you can do is start volunteering. It can be something small like helping out at a local food pantry through your school or local church or something more extensive like being a presenter for an organization that does programming in schools. No start is too small – it all ends up building into bigger and better things. I have learned so much through all of my volunteering experiences. I have seen how important it is to help others when they are in a lower time in their life, as you never know if that could be someday or if the person you are helping will turn out to be someone important. I have also seen growth in my ability to stand up and advocate for others who are less fortunate or don’t have a strong voice. I am grateful for all that volunteering has taught me and helped me become who I am today!
Ashley is currently a junior studying biomedical engineering at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN. She graduated from Monrovia High School in 2020, where she was heavily involved in Monrovia’s band program and was a manager for the girl’s Track and Field team. Ashley is involved with the Monrovia Youth Soccer League as a board member and referee, the Joseph Maley Foundation as a presenter for their disability Awareness program and as a previous Junior Board of Directors member, and the Lakeland Center for Therapeutic Riding Research, where she helps with the research technology as well as assisting with riding lessons. She has also volunteered with other local organizations like the Bulldog Blessings Pantry through Monrovia High School. Ashley was also voted by her peers to be the 2018 Youth Volunteer of the Year in the annual CFMC Philanthropy Awards.