How 24-Year-Old Ashley is Defying the Odds & Pursuing Her Dreams
Born the oldest of three children, Ashley comes from a poor family in rural Jamaica. Her mother, a teacher, struggles to make ends meet to provide for all her children. Ashley knows hardship. Despite her struggles, Ashley excelled in school and developed a love for airplanes.
“Studying Aerospace Engineering has been my dream since I was a little girl. I developed a fascination with the machinery and wanted to learn how to build and maintain airplanes,” Ashley said in an interview.
Though her mother struggled to provide for her basic needs, Ashley knew that there was a path to a better life if she worked hard in school and excelled academically. And that’s what she did. Ashley completed high school, and then community college. In 2018, she obtained an associate degree in Business Administration. Unable to find a job after graduation, Ashley volunteered as a teacher’s assistant at the school where her mother works. After six months, Ashley landed a job as a branch manager of a logistics company. While working there, she further pursued her studies in business administration. However, it really was not her passion. Her heart was not in it. In 2020, Ashley decided it was time to pursue her dream of working in the aerospace industry, so she applied to Centennial College in Toronto to pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering Technology. She didn’t know if she would be admitted, and if she was, she didn’t know how she would afford it. Nevertheless, she took a leap of faith and was elated when she was accepted into the program. That summer, Ashley worked and gathered enough money with the help of her other family members to pay for the first semester at Centennial College. But it was a struggle for her, living in a foreign country, with no family. She could not afford to live on campus or even close to campus. She stayed with a friend – her mother’s friend—who lives about two hours from school via public transportation.
“I take a total of four buses to get to and from my classes, but I am committed. I completed my first semester successfully and had to start a Go Fund Me campaign because I had no money to pay for my second semester,” Ashley said.
She wrote the following about what happened next:
"I started this journey on my own with God ordering my steps. Without my faith in God, I could not have done any of this. My mother reached out to the Lynne Mitchell Foundation and told them about my need, and I immediately received a call from the President, Marlene Gordon. We spoke via Zoom. She listened to my story and told me how I reminded her of her own mother, who took a similar journey to realize her own dreams and committed that the foundation would help me. And they have.
They paid for my second semester and for my upcoming third semester a total of $17,866 Canadian dollars. They will also start funding some of my housing costs so I can try to move closer to campus and reduce my commute time. I honestly don’t know what I would have done without the Lynne Mitchell Foundation. I would have faced the prospect of having to go back home to a future that I cannot even contemplate. But with their help, I can continue to pursue my dreams. As a poor girl, with an ambitious heart who always knows what she wants in life, I know I don’t have any real opportunity for a successful life in the poor, rural community that I come from. I would never be able to live up to my full potential. But thankfully now, with the help of the Lynne Mitchell Foundation, I am on my way. I am so thankful for them – they are helping me to make my dreams a reality."
Founded on the premise that children should not fail in school or in life because of their social circumstances, Lynne Mitchell Foundation works to change the future of underprivileged children in Jamaica by investing in their education. Since its inception in 2012, Lynne Mitchell Foundation has invested in the education of Jamaican children by providing, scholarships, school supplies, uniforms, transportation and meals totaling more than $389,000.