Mountain Plains EPIC Scholarship Winner: Ashley

Ashley’s Story

At the young age of 16 and after months of struggling, Ashley was diagnosed with endometriosis by a local physician in her hometown of Kaysville, Utah. Although prescription medication helped Ashley manage the painful symptoms of the disorder, after just a couple years of treatment she had become addicted to her medication. Dependent on a daily high, her addiction rapidly grew and quickly spiraled out of control. Ashley then turned toward heroin and not surprisingly, her life took a turn for the worse.

Life only got harder for Ashley as the years passed. As she continued to struggle with her addiction, Ashley unexpectantly became pregnant and had a daughter. She shared raising her daughter with the baby’s father until he was killed by a drunk driver when their daughter was just two years old. The stress of being a single parent, topped with years of drug addiction, became Ashley’s rock bottom. She knew she needed help.

“My daughter helped me a lot … she already lost one parent and I didn’t want her to lose another,” Ashley said about her addiction problem.

Ashley checked herself into a detox and rehabilitation center. Rehab was excruciating, but after several months of hard work, lots of help, and self-determination she was able to get sober.

Mountain Plains EPIC Scholarship Winner: AshleyFor the last four years, Ashley has been living at Mercy Housing’s Francis Peak View Apartments in Kaysville and credits Mercy Housing for keeping her off the streets and allowing her to raise her daughter in a stable home.

“Mercy Housing has helped me get on my feet. I had to start over and lost everything and living where I live now has helped me to get to where I need to be. If it wasn’t for Mercy Housing, I would be a single mother out on the streets,” said Ashley.

Although her journey has not been easy and she still struggles with the daily demands of life, Ashley is excited about what she’s been able to accomplish so far. Her life is full with a busy schedule that juggles work, school, and family. For the last year, Ashley has been working full-time at Davis Behavioral Health where she helps adults struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues. She is also working toward a bachelor’s degree as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) at Weber State University. Ashley’s most important accomplishment, however, is her job as mommy to her now six-year-old daughter and being there as a role model for her.

Mountain Plains EPIC Scholarship Winner: AshleyAshley also credits Resident Services Coordinator, Hannah, for encouraging her to apply for the EPIC Educational Support Grant. This $3,000 grant is funded by the EPIC’s National Real Estate Practice and was awarded to 14 Mercy Housing residents; one of whom was Ashley!  The purpose of the grant is to help residents with obtaining post-secondary education.

EPIC’s National Real Estate Practice adopted Mercy Housing last year as its Charity of Choice. They’re supporting Mercy Housing’s mission through fundraising and other financial support.

Hannah wrote a letter of recommendation for Ashley as part of the EPIC application process. She is so proud of Ashley’s accomplishments and her ability to take the road less traveled to turn her life around.

Mountain Plains EPIC Scholarship Winner: Ashley“The fact that Ashley started working and going to school alone is such a feat. She lost all state benefits as soon as she started working and it drastically changes the lives of those who do. I think it’s amazing that she not only overcame that but is now working to better the lives of others and really help them on their journeys,” said Hannah.

After all the experiences Ashley has lived through and the amazing courage she has shown at every obstacle, there is no question that Ashley and her daughter’s futures are bright and full of promise.

“My life lessons have given me the strength to work with other people, and to let people know that no matter what happens in life, everyone and anyone is capable of accomplishing their dreams.”