b'Positive words, powerful resultsTFC alum: developing sense of self, learning skills & making friendsA n elementary school teachers interest in a sixth-grader care of yourself. You gain a sense of self and being a more dealing with the death of her stepfather and getting intopositive person. You learn to stand up for yourself. occasional disagreements with classmates led to a life-changingHer mentor had a huge role, opening her heartand homeprogramand the foundation for a better future. to Ashley. I was really hesitant when I started, a little nervous, said AshleyShe was a very positive role model, said Ashley, who would White, recalling her initial experience with The Friendship Club.often go over to her mentors house for dinner. We spent a lot They were asking all of these questions. of time together. She was like family.Those questions were about getting to know AshleyandAshleys Friendship Club family continues today, as she stays learning what the then-sixth-grader needed to succeed. Thein contact with some of her friends from the program. After answer was, in part, The Friendship Club. Ashley graduated from high schooland The Friendship Club It was such a good bonding experience, said Ashley, now a she enrolled at Sierra College in Grass Valley, where she 26-year-old family support counselor for Victor Communityearned associate degrees in Behavioral and Social Sciences and Support Services in Grass Valley. It was amazing to have thatAdministration of Justice. group of girls who have some of those same experiences. Today, Ashley works with families and children dealing with She also benefited from mentors and programs through numerous issues, including anger and stress management, with The Friendship Club, from attending summer camps to the goal of changing the whole family dynamicsso (children) touring colleges. dont need outside placement.I had a lot of opportunities that I wouldnt have had, she said.She works with about 15 children every week, from 5 to 18 years The role models, it made a huge impact. Theyre always thereold. Its a difficult but rewarding career.for you, and they genuinely care about you. They challenge you,I love working with the kids, she said. There are some days but in a caring way. I learned so many things. when it takes a toll. You have to be in a good place, and you From being more comfortable speaking in large groups toneed to take care of yourself. But were really great at building learning how to deal with peer pressure, The Friendship Clubrelationships with families.has helped Ashley succeedand thrive. Its something that she experienced firsthand with The Friendship I got used to being in leadership roles and public speaking,Club. On occasion, she will refer the children she works with to Ashley said. It really teaches you good boundaries and takingThe Friendship Club.I love The Friendship Club, its an amazing program, she said. Im so grateful that my teacher referred me. Its been life-changing. 2 0 2 0 C O M M U N I T Y R E P O R T | T H E F R I E N D S H I P C L U B 1 1'