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A Helping Hand

Mon Feb 14, 2022 at 02:43 PM

Ashley Robinson

Drawn to helping others and impacting her community, Ashley Robinson’s current position at Open Doors is the perfect fit for her service-minded nature.

The Broadway High School graduate came to BRCC because she felt it was a good local option with “budget friendly” college programs. During her time at Blue Ridge, Ashley had experiences that helped solidify her social work career aspirations. As a member of the Beyond the Blue club (a student organization for Human Services students), she saw “there are many ways that we as students and humans can help others.” And during a unique opportunity to visit the General Assembly with a few fellow students and BRCC President, Dr. John Downey, she was able to advocate for the G3 program (a funding assistance program for eligible students studying in-demand programs) that was implemented last summer.

Ashley graduated from BRCC’s Human Services program in 2021. As a single mother she’s felt the challenges of trying to juggle parenting while being a student, but has also seen her situation in a positive light, “She (her daughter) sees me working hard at my education as well as my dreams and aspirations.”  

Currently, as the Director of Operations at Open Doors, she helps guests at the Harrisonburg homeless shelter identify and connect with community resources. “I've heard many stories and I've seen their struggles. It's important that they have folks like our staff to help them,” she said. There are approximately 60 individuals at the shelter each night. “Being a mother has impacted my career in that I want to be a support system for our guests who likely didn't grow up with that. I want to be a positive influence on their lives and empower them to keep going and to work hard for what they want. All of those are things that I’ve learned as a mother.”

Ashley is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in social work at Mary Baldwin University and says that she continues to, “educate myself on advocacy work for vulnerable populations.” She plans to take additional courses in non-profit leadership and grant-writing as she is, “excited to be part of the team that will lead Open Doors into their exciting future!”

 “I feel like we are making a huge impact in our community and I like that I am a part of that.”