In 2015, Ashley R. was trying to do something no teenager should have to do – processing the loss of her mother.  During this grieving period Ashley met a young woman who became her friend.  This young woman had also lost a parent to cancer. They became the best of friends and the support each of them needed.  When Ashley’s friend was involved in a fight at school, Ashley got involved in defense of her friend.  As a result of her involvement in the fight, she was facing charges and, potentially, expulsion from school.

Just after the difficulties began, Ashley was connected to the RHY, Runaway and Homeless Youth, program at Youth Emergency Service (YES). Once connected to the worker in RHY, Ashley began to really process the death of her mother and how this loss had impacted her choices.  She was able to focus on the challenges she was facing and, most importantly, the solutions.  Ashley began setting goals and seeking support to achieve those goals.  She was connected to Y Achievers and education supports.  Her YES worker was able to help Ashley reconnect with school.  Ashley was determined to be successful.  And, three years later, Ashley graduated from Olney Charter High School.  On Friday June 15th, Ashley walked down the aisle to receive her diploma.  She graduated in the top 25 of her class. Her smile was electric.

“I am so proud of her, she really did a 360,” said Ashley’s grandmother.

Although Ashley has not yet decided which college she will attend, she knows that she will pursue higher education.  As a really special treat, Ashley was able to attend the Daddy Daughter Dance, a program of Daddy University, on June 16th with David Chaney, her worker in RHY.