Ms. Ashley Simpson is a single mom of 5 with amazing, gifted, smart, funny children who have had their share of struggles.

This mom lived right by the Dream Center.  At one point, her kids were placed in state custody because of bad decisions made as a young teen mom that didn’t know better.  Fortunately, the foster parents continued to stay involved in the kids’ lives for a long time with Christmas, Disney vacations, weekends, and continued love and support.

She wanted a better life for her children, so she moved them to the Broadmoor area. Moving to the new area caused some challenges getting kids to the Dream Center and it’s programs, but we all pitched in as a staff and extended family to make it work because they are worth it. Three of her children are now at Lee Magnet High School.

Q& A with Ms. Simpson

Q: Ashley, what has E225 meant for you and your family?
A: Home/Shelter – Since 2010 my young family have been received with open arms, smiling faces, and genuine support. Each member getting accepted for who they are. Including special needs advocates for my youngest son when I had no knowledge of how to find services or give him the best care he required.

Safety/Refuge –  I’ve been a victim and survivor of just about every category of abuse, so to gain my trust to let my children be around people is a silent and challenging task.  BUT to my children’s benefit, this house of staff, volunteers, and community partners has been the most trustworthy individuals a guardian could ask for. They have poured insight, shared pure compassionate affection, and one-on-one counsel without any inappropriate or unwelcome contact.

No membership required/ No strings attached– Why have we stayed connected to Empower 225 is a question I asked myself preparing to answer these. My answer is not clear cut but here is the sum of it. My children are recipients of unmeasurable resources shared through this organization and NOT one time have we been asked to join HPC, the parent of this life giving program. NOT one time have I been asked about my children’s absent fathers, or do you pay tithes when one of my kids needed monetary support for vital school fees, etc. Being unable to meet every need of your child is hard enough, BUT to have partners who are willing to put the child before politics is priceless.

Q: What are some of the ways we have helped your kids?
A: School fees, uniforms, school supplies, computer fees, books, clothes, youth jobs, senior fees, exposure to other places, people and colleges.  Keeping them out of trouble. Positive Role Models in their lives.

“What I love most about Ashley and her kids is watching them respond to the adversity that has come their way.  We all have troubles, but as they say, it is all about learning from it and developing your character and the character of your children.  She and her kids have done this. This is truly an example of “it takes a village” and a lot of you have been part of this village.  And we are not done yet!!”
– Susan Rogers, Empower 225 Executive Director