Ashley Jaramillo: Helping Foster Youth Go F.A.R.
Ashley Jaramillo decided to complete her B.A. in Business Administration at FPU’s Visalia Campus to grow professionally while honing her management skills—and she got so much more. When a professor encouraged her to turn a class project into a nonprofit organization that would transform the lives of local foster youth, there was a personal connection.
“My first professor at FPU, Raquel Garcia, incorporated a community service proposal as a major project for the class,” Ashley says. “After completing the class assignment, the only thing left to do was put it into action—so I did.”
The nonprofit, F.A.R. (Formal Attire Ready) provides foster youth with attire appropriate for special events such as prom, graduation and other occasions they might not otherwise be able to enjoy. Ashley understands the challenges these teens face because she was a foster youth herself.
“The idea is that with assistance from the F.A.R. project, foster youth will have a higher rate of participation in these events, allowing them to go further in life,” Ashley says. “I had the privilege of helping a teen who had never attended a dance before...and through the donations from the community, I was able to provide her with a gift card to offset the cost for graduation as well. It was great to see her so confident.”
Ashley’s idea is getting noticed. In the spring of 2018, F.A.R. received $1,000 at the Visalia Chamber of Commerce’s crowdsourcing SOUP event.
While Ashley, who also works full-time as a clerical assistant at College of the Sequoias, isn’t sure what the future has in store, her goal is to take the leadership skills she gained at FPU and continue to make a positive impact on students. “FPU has definitely taught me that business and leadership are not about how well we are doing as individuals, but more importantly, they are about how we are serving those around us,” she says.