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Ashley became a club member in 1998 taking part in a program called “Be Proud, Be Responsible”, a HIV/AIDS awareness program. After completing the program Ashley continued to frequent the club becoming an active member of the Keystone Club, a National teen leadership club in Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the country. Ashley graduated from Granville Charter High School before attending Seton Hall University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 2006.
Today Ashley is employed by Merck where she has been employed for 7.5 years. Initially, Ashley began her career at Merck in Manufacturing and Technical Operations, and after seven years moved into regulatory affairs, as part of a career development program. Currently, Ashley is based in Singapore, supporting fourteen countries in Merck’s Asia/Pacific region. To get this opportunity Ashley applied for Merck’s General Management Acceleration Program where she was one of 350 applicants who applied and was 1 of just 16 staff who were rewarded the opportunity, something that she is very proud of. In addition to being employed by Merck, Ashley continues to teach in the Global Health Program at Drexel University.
When Ashley reflects on her years as a club member what comes to mind is the Keystone Club, where she served as both President and Vice President during her high school years. “Being in Keystone I learned leadership skills and independence that has benefitted me greatly in adulthood and my career. In Keystone I had the opportunity to travel throughout the Northeast and as far as Anaheim, California and I had never traveled anywhere without my family before Keystone. Now 30% of my time is traveling; in the last 6 month’s I’ve traveled to 9 different countries.”
Ashley still stays in touch with club alumni through social networks. Two friends that she speaks with regularly are fellow Keystone members and alumni Sheebra Brannnon and Stephanie Ciliento. “Me and Sheebra have been friends since 2nd grade and actually joined the club together. Me and Stephanie met at the club and have become the best of friends, we talk daily.”
Ashley continues to stay engaged with the club, over the years she has been a Youth of the Year judge and mentor, sponsored youth for programs, served on work groups and supported special events. “I think it is very important to pay it forward, I was given some great opportunities and I would like to see youth get these same opportunities and more. We all as adults have to do our part to ensure youth can learn, grow and enjoy childhood whether that is through volunteering your time, lending financial support, advocating for youth or providing support on a work group or committee. The Club is a great resource for the community and I plan to stay involved no matter where my career takes me.”
Mia first attended the Boys & Girls Club at the age of 8 years old coming to the after-school program and summer camp. Mia attended the Club faithfully for 8 years until landing a part-time job in high school. Mia says it was staff like Mr. Rich, Mr. Carl, Ms. Liz and Ms. Carol that made the club a special place for her.
After high school, Mia began working part-time for the club as the front desk receptionist and eventually became the full-time Membership Director of the Club. Mia was employed at the Club for a total 15 years and earned her Associates Degree as well as her Bachelors of Science in Human Services Management during her time at the club. Continually working to achieve more, Mia is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree.
When asked what were some of her favorite moments at the club she says, “My Keystone experience definitely stands out, being able to travel and meet members from other clubs from all over the region as well as the leadership opportunities."
Mia is now employed by New Jersey Mentors where she supervises a group home and has a staff of 9 that directly report to her. When asked what keeps her coming back and staying involved with the club her answer is simple, “The club will always be my second home, the staff my family and Reggie Coleman my mentor." Mia is still in touch with many alumni who attended the club with her during her childhood years, “Social Networks have helped me stay connected with many of my childhood friends."
Mia now resides in Delanco, New Jersey with her 14-year-old Jai who is a freshman in high school and also grew up in the club attending since the age 5. Mia and her fiancée Karim welcomed baby Kari (future member of the Boys & Girls Club) on November 17th! Congratulations to everyone!