Faces of the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps: Ashley of Operation Fresh Start

Ashley of Operation Fresh StartThis summer we plan to highlight several of the participants in the 21st Century Conservation Service Corps. To view all Faces of the 21CSC stories, please click here. The following story was provided by Operation Fresh Start, a 21CSC program operator based in Madison, Wisconsin. It was written by Ashley.

Since I dropped out of high school, I’ve been to three different high schools. None of those high schools worked out for my needs. I had no support from anyone…The only thing I had was my animals. I thought I had friends. I found out they just brought me down more. Those friends had no goals or motivation. All they wanted to do was party.

One of my friends told me about a great program called Operation Fresh Start. I looked more into the program and thought it would be a great place to go. I went to the interview so nervous wondering if they would even let me into the program. A few weeks went on after the interview and I got a call saying that ‘ I’m in’ and needed to come in to have a meeting with my soon to be supervisor. At the meeting we talked about what we would be doing. I knew this was where I needed to be.

When I found out that I would be starting Operation Fresh Start, life changed right then. I had a chance; someone who cared. I knew then that I could make it out this alone and dark place I felt I was trapped in. I knew then if I can change, anyone could do it. You never change overnight. It takes time but now I was on the right path.

I worked as hard as I could. It helped me get things off my mind and I loved the way hard work made me feel when the job is over. It was the best thing I ever had the chance to be a part of.

Then our crew got to have the great opportunity to work at a great park called Silverwood County Park. This park is huge and we got to clear trails for skiing, hiking and equine uses.

I have learned a lot about giving back to the community.

Operation Fresh Start has gave me the power to do and be whatever I want. I know have dreams to become a large animal vet. I will be getting my high school diploma through Operation Fresh Start.

I now see myself as a strong young women that can overcome anything. Without Operation Fresh Start, I wouldn’t be going on the right path, or even looking at my true possible self. I would have no dreams or hopes.

So when I ask do you believe someone can change? My answer is yes, only if you try and never give up.

Don’t let anything stop you.