Ashley, 17 – Funded

Ashley, a senior at El Toro High School in Lake Forest, California, wants to go to college so she can ultimately go back to school once she graduates! For her, that means being a teacher — specifically, an elementary school teacher, and possibly transitioning later to high school English as her specialty.

What is something you are most proud of?

I’m most proud of maintaining a good GPA while playing basketball. I’m also proud of being captain of my basketball team last season.

Have you gone through any tough or challenging times? If yes, how did you deal with those challenges?

I had to deal with my dad being incarcerated for six years which took a really big toll on me emotionally. It was a big shift in my day-to-day life. I was not able to handle the difficulties that came with my dad’s incarceration, so my mom placed me in therapy. I was in therapy for about two-and-a-half years and it helped more than I thought was possible. I also had one really good friend who was there for me and did more than I could ever ask of anyone. I wouldn’t be who I am today without therapy and that good friend.

What does it mean to you to be selected as a Girl on the Rise?

To be selected is such an honor. I feel extremely grateful to have been given such an incredible opportunity.

What inspired you to want to be involved with Girls on the Rise?

When I was first informed about applying, I was hesitant at first because I’ve never been one to step out of my comfort zone very often. So what inspired me to be involved was taking this opportunity as a little push to go for what has been a dream and make it become reality.

How will funding from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? In other words: Why is the opportunity to visit your prospective colleges important to your journey?

Without this fund, I would never have been able to visit one of my dream colleges because it is out of state. And, with my family’s current situation, traveling to visit it would have been absolutely impossible. So, this opportunity to visit this prospective college is so important to my journey because it actually allows me to begin a part of my journey that I thought was only possible in my dreams. I will actually get to walk on the campus and get a feel for what the community is like, putting me one step closer to finding my dream college.

What schools will you use the funding to visit, and why?

I want to visit Northwest University because it has been in my top two from the very beginning of my college research. I’ve been hesitant to actually go to this school because it is out of state — so it’s much further away from home than my other dream college. But, I’m super-excited to be able to hopefully make this dream school into my future college home.