Ashley has a bright smile, a twinkle in her eye, self-confidence about her future, and a heart filled with gratitude.
She remembers the day she came to Methodist Children’s Home with precision.
“I was 13 years old when I arrived at the Perkins Home,” she said. “All the girls were at Wednesday night church, so it was quiet in the house. When the girls returned, several made their way to my room and helped me unpack and get settled.
“It was hard at first,” Ashley said. “I was used to doing adult things. I helped take care of my grandmother and ran the house. My father was absent and my mother was dealing with addiction issues. But, after a few months my outlook started to change.”
Ashley is quick to talk about her growth while at MCH and how staff built relationships with her and nurtured her.
“I remember as a little girl standing outside my mother’s door crying because she would not open the door for me,” Ashley said. “It felt like MCH opened a door for me. Staff gave me space to be vulnerable, to cry and grow emotionally.
“Staff challenged me to have goals, try new things and get involved,” she continued. “They helped me realize college was a realistic goal and that they were there to help me make it happen – not just financially but by staying connected with me while I am at college.”
Ashley will graduate from Tarleton State University in May 2022 with a degree in education. She receives the prestigious MCH Albaugh Scholarship, awarded to a small number of alumni each year through a committee selection process. She is completing her residency with the Waco Independent School District, teaching fourth and fifth grades at Providence Heights Elementary. Her dream job is to teach first grade and model how to build healthy connections with others.
Ashley said the relationships she built with staff at MCH helped her realize she could break the negative cycles of her past and that she could have a brighter future. Ashley also said her mother has been clean for six years and their relationship has improved.
“When I lived at MCH, my case manager helped me understand that my mom was helping me by placing me at MCH, even though I felt like she was leaving me,” Ashley said. “I know now my mom did the best she could.”
Ashley enjoys sharing with others about her experiences at MCH. She even helped two young people find a place at MCH.
“MCH allowed me to excel as a person,” she said. “As a resident I went on mission trips, attended leadership camps, participated in cheer and dance and had an on-campus job. All these opportunities helped prepare me to transition on my own. I will graduate from college debt free because of the MCH scholarship assistance. I learned that what happened in my earlier life is not my whole life and for that I am grateful.”