Since her first National Keynote at age 14, Ashley Rhodes-Courter has shared her story with thousands in the United States and in over 7 countries.
Ashley Rhodes-Courter, MSW, is the quintessential American success story. Born in 1985 to a single teen mother, by the age of 3 she was in Florida’s foster care system where she spent almost ten years being shuttled between 14 homes—some quite abusive—before being adopted from a Children’s Home at the age of twelve.
Despite her ordeal, she excelled in school because she believed that, “my education was the one thing nobody could take from me.” Early in her life she felt compelled to advocate for herself and the other children she lived with, particularly in the abusive foster homes.
Her efforts and academic achievements landed her Eckerd College’s Trustee Scholarship where she graduated with honors and ahead of schedule earning a double major in Communications and Theater and a double minor in Political Science and Psychology. Ashley Rhodes-Courter then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California.
During her undergraduate studies, she was one of 20 college students selected for the USA Today All-USA Academic Team and was named one of GLAMOUR Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. She was also selected as one of the four Golden BR!CK Award winners for outstanding advocacy for community change by DoSomething!. As part of their campaign, she was featured on 25 million bags of Cool Ranch Doritos.
By the age of 22, Ashley Rhodes-Courter had become a New York Times Bestselling Author. Her first book, “Three Little Words” is now an International Bestseller and has been published in at least 4 countries. Her second book, “Three More Words” debuted at #1 on Amazon Bestseller’s List. Both books are used in classrooms across the country in various community and First Year Experience Collegiate programs.
Ashley has received State, local, and National awards for her speaking, advocacy, and philanthropy. She has spoken on Capitol Hill and has been invited to the White House twice. “Three Little Words” is now being made into a major motion picture.
In the Media
Internationally recognized, Ashley has been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Nancy Grace, ABC Primetime, Montel Williams, and other national media outlets. She frequently appears in local television and newspaper markets when she travels for her speeches. Ashley Rhodes-Courter hosted a television program called “Explore Adoption” which was produced by the State of Florida to raise the public’s awareness of foster children in need of loving and permanent homes. This segment won an Emmy in 2009.
In 2010, Ashley was selected to represent and mentor as part of Levi’s Shape What’s To Come campaign, an online, global community for women that offers opportunities to exchange ideas, collaborate, and provide support to one another. Her work with Levi’s was featured at the TED Women’s Conference in Washington, D.C.
Ashley Rhodes-Courter has spent time in Europe, South Africa, and China studying and advocating. In her local community, she has served as a volunteer Guardian ad Litem (or CASA) and as a foster parent has cared for more than 25 children. Her eldest son is adopted from foster care. Ashley is tremendously passionate about her non-profit organization, The Foundation for Sustainable Families, which provides direct services to children and families in high-risk and high-conflict situations.
Her speaking career began at the age of fourteen as a child advocate. Since then, Ashley’s story has been shared with countless audiences. She has spoken on Capitol Hill, has been invited to the White House, and has taught at numerous colleges and conferences for businesses, health care professionals, educators, elected officials, judges, social workers, policy makers, teens, and families.
Ashley Rhodes-Courter has turned her pain into power and she has a passion to share her story with those who have experienced adversity. Ashley strives to encourage education, compassion, community involvement, and positive outcomes for individuals, youth, and families.
(Based on her award-winning International and New York Times Bestselling memoir, Three Little Words)
Born in 1985 to a single teen mother Ashley was placed in foster care at the age of 3. Most of her 14 placements were abusive and overcrowded. In one home, 16 people lived in a small trailer where the children were regularly beaten, neglected, verbally assaulted, and starved. Another foster parent became a convicted pedophile. At one point, she was also placed with an alcoholic relative that was shot twice in front of her.
After spending almost ten years in the system, Ashley was finally adopted from a group home when she was twelve. Instead of seeing herself as a victim, Ashley has used her experience to find the strength to accomplish incredible things.
She became a New York Times Bestselling author by age 22, holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work, ran for Florida State Senate at age 26, created and heads a non-profit organization, and she has been a foster parent to more than 20 children.
In this inspiring keynote, Ashley will show audiences how to overcome their own personal and professional challenges to accomplish more than they ever thought possible. She delivers her story with humor and grace, and attendees will leave energized and ready to take on the world!
List of Takeaways:
School as Sanctuary
Ashley talks about the importance of recognizing strengths, engaging students and youth, and reminds us that school may be the only sanctuary some students have.
Keynote, Commencement, and Workshop options are individualized for each group. Areas of expertise for Youth and Professionals can include information from the following topics:
Based on her life experiences and #1 Bestselling memoir, Three More Words, Ashley Rhodes-Courter, MSW, works with organizations to personalize presentations to meet their specific needs and objectives.
Ashley is a foster child who came full circle to become a social worker, volunteer, AND foster/adoptive parent. Ashley and her husband have cared for more than 25 children and their eldest of three children was adopted from foster care.
Her unparalleled, multi-faceted experiences give audiences a deeper understanding of the various traditionally underrepresented populations many non-profits serve.
Ashley leaves audiences having seen a true story of resiliency in the face of extreme adversity, and the healing power of service to others.
Power of One Person and Making a Difference: How One Person Can Change the Life of Another
It only takes one person to change the life of another and Ashley’s story serves as a passionate example of triumph and inspiration.
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