Fellow of the Week – Ashley Testa

Ashley T is serving her second year as a Senior Fellow and at Brockton Old Colony YMCA
What inspires you to serve?
I love this quote from L.R. Knost that says, “It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s or job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless”. I believe that youth can do whatever they set their mind to and have such a creative and passionate voice. Having a caring adult in their lives can help them see this and find that spark in their life. But most important of all, you learn so much more from youth than they could ever learn from you and I find that to be very special and rewarding.
What social justice issue are you most passionate about and why?
There are many social justice issues that I am passionate about and I have realized that equality is not always justice. But what I currently have been starting to learn more about and see first hand is how broken our education system is, such as with the school to prison pipeline and the lack of life skills taught to students.
Why would you encourage others to join the Massachusetts Promise Fellowship?
MPF has so many great opportunities for you to not only become a better person but to have training and experience for success in the professional world. There is no greater feeling than to serve youth and see that they have accomplished something, that you have learned from them, and that the work that you do makes an impact.
Who has been your biggest support this year?
My family and friends are always my biggest supporters. MPF has also been very supportive to me, especially Colleen, she takes the time to listen to you, is there whenever you need her, and always makes sure that the right support is there for you.
Describe the greatest adventure of your life.
The greatest adventure of my life is when I went to World Youth Day in Poland, during that trip I was also able to go to Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, and Austria too!
What do you do to practice self-care?
Listening to music while doing things I need to get done for the day.
What benefits have you been able to take advantage of as a Massachusetts Promise Fellow and how has your experience been with those benefits?
 I have been able to go to numerous amazing youth and professional development training. I have also been able to take courses at Northeastern and will graduate in July with a Masters of Science in Human Services with a concentration in Higher Education Administration. All this would have never been possible if it was not for MPF.
How is MPF preparing you for your future career aspirations?
 The professional training MPF offers and the host-sites that I have served at have helped me to better understand youth and have experience to hopefully further my career aspiration to become a guidance counselor.

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