By Ashleigh King, Blue Future Spring for Progress and Change organizer
During my time with Blue Future, I was encouraged and emboldened to become involved with local politics to advance progressive ideals. In addition to the support I received, Blue Future provided weekly trainings with thought provoking ideas, inspiring speakers, and professional development advice that will aid me for the rest of my career. The Blue Future team offered their advice and mentorship throughout the program while holding weekly trainings to help refine my skills as an organizer.
The program also provided access to first hand accounts of on going issues and incredible speakers to energize the speakers. My time at Blue Future has helped with career clarity, networking with young organizers across the country, and furthering my political contacts in my own community.
While I did not form a Youth Action Council, I decided to focus my time on working with local charities and nonprofits to continue volunteer work within my community. During college, I volunteered with the homeless community and I wanted to continue that work post graduation. I knew there were a myriad of organizations dedicated to the housing crisis in Rutherford County, but I had never worked with them personally.
My wonderful regional director, Rhett, encouraged me to reach out and see how I could help. Originally, I thought I could write a brief policy memo to provide more progressive solutions to aid the shelterless population in Murfreesboro.
After a few meetings, my expectations changed. Instead, I was able to become a member of the Housing, Health, and Human Services Alliance of Rutherford County. I was able to attend multiple meetings and start conversations between volunteer organizations and various schools to increase volunteer turnout. I was able to practice my organizing skills by advocating for younger volunteers to have more opportunities within over 60 nonprofits, government agencies, educational institutions, and faith-based organizations.
By improving the communication channels between schools and HARC, more young individuals will have the opportunity to be more involved in their community, increasing empathy and devotion to my beloved Rutherford County. As a proud Tennessean, I always look for possibilities to help improve the lives of my fellow Southerners. I am so grateful to Blue Future for teaching me more skills to help use my advocating and organizing skills to accomplish my lifelong goal.
About Ashleigh: Ashleigh King (she/her) is a recent graduate of Transylvania University and an aspiring political strategist. As a proud Southerner, Ashleigh is passionate about broadband access for rural communities, funding arts in education, and fighting voter suppression. During her free time, she enjoys reading and trying out new recipes.