The AmeriCorps Coach of the Month is an honor we give coaches who have gone above and beyond during their service. Coach Ashley is a second-year Playworks AmeriCorps member and has been a rockstar for the Utah team this year! She spent the first half of the year as a flex, spending time with all our schools, then stepped in mid-year to run a full time program at Lincoln Elementary! Her ability to move into situations as needed and keep her playful edge is what helped her earn this title. Read more about her below!
What is your background and experience?
Since my move to Salt Lake City eight years ago, I have worked with youth in a variety of settings – private, public, indoor, outdoor, you name it. Since the age of sixteen, when I volunteered at a science camp in California, I have garnered a love for working in education. To me, there is nothing more rewarding than having a hand in how a child navigates the world physically, socially and emotionally, as I believe that a strong sense of self early on is tantamount to a healthy and happy adulthood.
What drew you to being a coach with Playworks?
I was drawn to Playworks initially because it was a full-time position working in education. I stayed for a second year because I very quickly realized that the work we do is amazing. I am proud to be a part of an organization that is passionate, honest, and above all, fun!
We are recognizing for a solid all around program! Can you share a best practice for others on how you have built such an amazing school atmosphere?
One thing that I love most about Playworks is that we are a learning organization. There will always be room to grow and improve, and I feel very lucky to be in a field that is never stagnant. I am constantly learning how to be a better leader by observing different styles and practices from everyone I come across, and I think that has helped me to reflect on where my program is strongest, as well as what areas I find challenging. The most important thing my experience with Playworks has taught me is not only to address the challenges, but to use them as fuel to strengthen my relationship with the school I serve, and in turn strengthen my ability to run a well-rounded program.
What’s your favorite part about being an Americorps member?
I’m lucky to call myself an Americorps member as well as a coach. I love being part of Playworks, but I also love knowing that we are just one cog in a national machine working to strengthen our communities.