“I was 17, I was almost an adult and they couldn’t put me back into foster care,” Ashley tells us as she shares her foster care journey.
But they did. And for good reason. Her father, who she had met for the first time when she was a teenager, was sexually abusing her. “He got six years in jail and I’m going to be scarred for life,” Ashley said.
While her story is incredibly sad, the fact that she used her voice to talk about it, and got some redemption, is powerful. After last year’s news cycle, we know that historically women don’t speak up, don’t talk about harassment and abuse. Ashley knew confiding in a school counselor would likely thrust her back into a system that had already failed her. In her mind, she didn’t have a choice.
For Ashley, her defining moment had to do with perspective.
She searched Google to find out how to get over abuse and read the story of a young girl whose life was indescribably worse. By realizing how horrific that life was, she was able in her own life, to move on.
Ashley received her bachelor’s degree in business and is the mother to a young girl. One of the first organizations that hired her out of college was a social enterprise company, Doing Good Works. They believe that all young people deserve an equal chance to succeed and the access to the tools to empower them.
When asked the question about what advice she would give to youth transitioning out of care, she replied, “There’s still hope for us to have a better life, it’s just how you decide to live it.”
Mira Zimet is an award-winning educational and documentary filmmaker. She launched The Storyboard Project in 2014 to give foster youth transitioning into adulthood the opportunity to tell their story using a visual medium. She is on the board for Peace4Kids. Follow her on Facebook at /thestoryboardprojectla; YouTube at /thestoryboardproject; or Twitter at @SPBYourStory