ASHLEY STEVENS

Company: NC Depart. of Health & Human Services Mecklenburg County DSS
Position: Family Consultant & Social Worker
Age: 30

WHERE WERE YOU BORN?

Canton, Ohio.

HOW LONG HAVE YOU LIVED IN CHARLOTTE AREA?

8 years.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT YOU?

Originally born and raised in Canton, Ohio, upon graduation in 2009 from Bowling Green State University, I ventured south to pursue my Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Since my journey, I have grown very fond of the city of Charlotte and its vibrancy, energy, warmth, and beautiful scenery!

Professionally, I currently work as the South Central Regional Family Consultant for NC Project C.A.R.E. (Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty), providing support and education for family caregivers and professionals regarding Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Within my career span I have worked in long term care communities, hospital systems, and university settings. While working at the Alzheimer’s Association, I spearheaded program development for Early Stage initiatives entitled, Minds in Motion. This program is designed for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and their care partners.

Personally, I am a big believer in my faith and know that all things are possible through Christ. It would remiss of me if I did not mention how much my faith in Christ has guided me and lead me each step of the way.

DURING YOUR TIME VOLUNTEERING FOR A COMMUNITY ACTIVITY OR PROJECT, WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT?

Without a doubt my most honorable volunteer moment was when I traveled to Malawi, Africa. I was selected to participate in graduate-level service learning for social development in Malawi. Through this project a small group of 11 of us partnered with several Non-Governmental Organizations working with children and families impacted by HIV & researched social development efforts in Southern Malawi. We committed to raising over $2.5k and collected over 600lbs of special supplies for projects. I was blessed to collaborate with the Malawian community and learned so much about our history and the importance of meeting people right where they are. This experienced propelled me to serve within my own community here in Charlotte. My experiences in Africa motivated me further to serve populations in need and I led several outreach projects for homeless individuals and indigent communities.

IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DO YOU CONTRIBUTE TO THE COMMUNITY?

My personal mission in life is to serve. I know that I am placed on this earth to serve and to be a change agent within my community. I am truly an advocate at heart. Within my professional role, I work daily with caregivers impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, and have witnessed the devastating effects of this terminal disease within my own family. It is an honor to work alongside such a strong network of professionals, caregivers, and individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease in order to fight for a cure. I am comfortable saying I want to work myself out of a job one day - because that would mean we have succeeded in finding a cure - that would mean that future generations, including myself, could preserve precious memories even longer.

Beyond that, I also relish in spending my time volunteering with other organizations & service projects within the community. I currently serve on the service committee with the Urban League of Central Carolinas Young Professionals Auxiliary, helping to plan and coordinate local events. As a social worker, I believe in the value of service and the impact one small act of compassion and empathy can have on an individual.

WHAT ARE YOUR HOBBIES OR INTEREST?

When I have a moment to myself, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, staying active in the community, attending church, and taking care of my beloved puppy-child, Malawi.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE THAT YOU STAND BY?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou. This quote is applicable to my personal beliefs as well as working with individuals impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.

WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN 5 YEARS?

I am leaning into Christ’s path for my life and trusting the process. In 5 years I see myself continuing to do the good work within the great city of Charlotte and state of North Carolina as a Servant Leader. In 5 years I see myself working with older adults, families, and communities greatly impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It is my passion to continue to create new ways of spreading awareness, education, and support for those affected by the disease.

CAN YOUR SHARE ONE THING THAT IS ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

Learning more about my heritage and tracing family history through travel and visiting our homeland.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU USED YOUR PASSPORT?

When I traveled to Africa. I plan to use my passport again in the near future!

WHAT IS A FUN FACT ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NO ONE KNOWS?

Most people do not know that I can twirl a fire baton! For the majority of my childhood I twirled the baton and was the first Black feature majorette for my high school. I participated in a competitive dance & twirl team named the Jazz Dolls. We even traveled to Marseilles, France winning the World Championship.

WHO IS YOUR HERO?

I would have to say my parents are my heroes. It may sound cliché, but my parents have made so many sacrifices for me and our family. They are dedicated to their professions and serve their community with great capacity. They are a true exemplar of Christ’s love personified through marriage and family.

WHAT WAS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. What an incredible testament to the rich history of our Black culture and the impact a beautiful woman has had on science, technology, and generations to come.

WHAT WAS THE LAST MOVIE YOU SAW?

Beauty & the Beast. My all-time childhood favorite movie.

WHAT WAS THE LAST CONCERT YOU SAW?

Black Violin.