Ashley Berry is an inspiring student leader and activist from Littleton, Colorado who has proven her commitment to bullying response and prevention through many avenues. To get to know her a little better, we asked her the following questions about her perspectives, her impact, and her plans for the future in regard to bullying prevention and response.
What would you say, out of all the experiences you’ve had in leadership and advocacy throughout your high school years, will you most value taking with you to the next chapter of your life? Why do you believe it will be valuable?
“Out of all my leadership experiences in high school, the one that I will carry with me most as I begin my college journey is that of creating my own organization alongside my mom (H.O.P.E.) to send care packages to kids and teens struggling with mental illnesses. This role of authority and leadership has taught me how to be organized, timely and driven which are all qualities that I believe will benefit me not only in my college experience but in life after college as well.”
If you could give one piece of advice to other students trying to combat bullying in their schools, what would it be?
“My one piece of advice to students struggling with bullying would be to be persistent in keeping in contact with a trusted adult. No matter what the situation, having someone even to just talk to about how you feel will always be beneficial in the long run.”
What, if anything, do you believe teachers or administrators can do to better assist student-led anti-bullying initiatives in their schools?
“School faculty, in order to be most effective with their students anti-bullying initiatives, need to work alongside their students as the student sees fit. When you have someone of authority acting as a mentor in the process of trying to make a change in your school, you automatically are pushed harder to succeed in making an impact.”
What direction do you see the organizations you have founded, GIRLS and HOPE, going over the next few years? What legacy do you hope to leave within these organizations?
Within the next few years I am hoping to be able to adopt ambassadors for GIRLS and HOPE, allowing the programs to spread nationally and then eventually internationally by the works of other students with a passion for change. I am hoping to expand HOPE to serving young adults as well as kids and teens, as I have seen most recently the impact mental health can have on young adults as well. Overall though, I am hoping to simply reach people. One life impacted could be one life saved and for that I will continue to push GIRLS and HOPE in as many ways as possible.
What does receiving IBPA’s College Scholarship for outstanding work in bullying prevention and response mean to you?
“To me, receiving the IBPA’s College Scholarship means growth. This scholarship not only allows me to grow in my education but allows me to grow through my work as an advocate in a new part of the country. As I move to college from Colorado to Tennessee, my message of hope is only able to grow as I grow along side it.”
Ashley epitomizes the power of student advocacy in this field, and we couldn’t be prouder to have her as our 2018 IBPA College Scholarship winner.