Sasha Bruce

#SBYSpotlight on Ashleigh Rose, D.C. Educator

We are eager to announce Ashleigh Rose as our September #SBYSpotlight of the Month. Ashleigh has worked as an educator for youth in Washington, D.C. for more than a decade. She is also the Lead Coordinator of the Community Impact Council (CIC), a young professionals volunteer group supporting Sasha Bruce.

Ashleigh has been an avid fundraiser and changemaker for the mission of Sasha Bruce for more than five years. We invite you along to hear about her passion for the D.C. community and the importance of volunteerism

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Greetings! My name is Ashleigh Rose. I’ve been living in DC for the last twelve years. Growing up I moved every few years as my father was in the military – so DC is where I’ve called home the longest. I started teaching after finishing graduate school in 2011. After eight years in DC middle schools, I got my Master’s degree in Library and Informational Science and am now in my third year as a DC Public School librarian. I just started year #11 in DC middle schools!

I love learning new things and going on adventures. I spend a lot of time outside – running, biking, and wandering around DC. I also work part time at a local woman-owned independent bookstore on Capitol Hill called East City Bookshop! And yes, I read lots of books.


How did you first hear about Sasha Bruce? 

I first heard about Sasha Bruce when one of my students was a client. Since then, I have known many students and families that have benefited from Sasha Bruce’s work. A friend then invited me to come hear about their new young professionals group. I signed on immediately and we worked to create what is now the Community Impact Council (CIC).

We aim to be a flexible and responsive group of young (ish) volunteers serving Sasha Bruce and their clients with any task – whether big or small! We’ve fundraised, hosted staff appreciation events, painted, gardened, and beautified houses, organized holiday drives, raised awareness, and used our Rapid Response fund to purchase critical items for youth where quick turnaround is needed.


Why is it important to give or volunteer with a nonprofit organization?

Our world becomes a better place when we acknowledge that if our community struggles, we all do. I believe in supporting local nonprofits through giving and volunteering because I feel solidarity with the community around me. I support Sasha Bruce, specifically, because every day they are doing the work that directly impacts our most vulnerable young people and their families here in the DC region.


Tell us about a meaningful experience you’ve had within Sasha Bruce.

I enjoy our staff appreciation events. At the end of May, our CIC was able to host a happy hour to provide refreshments and a space for staff members to mingle amongst each other and with CIC members – which had not happened often due to the pandemic. The energy and expertise that Sasha Bruce staff puts into serving young people in DC is immeasurable. These adults are here day in and day out supporting young people through moments in their lives that are intensely hard to navigate. I like supporting their work directly by recognizing and engaging with them. They’re the ones who show up for clients every day, and I hope that our events help them realize how important they are.

I, and other members of the CIC, are passionate about staff appreciation events because it’s a way to show our support without interrupting the flow of activities going on at Sasha Bruce facilities. While interacting with youth is GREAT, I suspect it’s jarring for youth, who are in the midst of homelessness and other life issues, to see a team of volunteers traipse through their shelter. So we, as the CIC, have always enjoyed being able to find ways to support and recognize the amazing staff who are responsible for their care.


What makes Washington, D.C. special to you?

DC is MOST special to me because of the student and family connections I’ve built as a middle school educator. On top of that, there is so much to explore! DC is a city steeped in history and culture. I love traveling my city by foot and bike as often as possible and following wherever new paths take me. Whether an evening stroll on the mall, an early morning bike ride on the Anacostia trail, or a day hopping in and out of a museum or restaurants – there’s always another adventure awaiting!


What are you most excited about with your volunteer work?

I am most excited about our responsiveness. The CIC tries to support the work in a way that does not cause disruptions or add more work to anyone else at Sasha Bruce! I love building relationships with programs and staff and showing up whenever we are needed. Whether it’s gardening, construction, furniture assembly, or fundraising for a new washer and dryer – it’s nice to know I’ve provided direct support to programs and clients rather than having to wonder about impact.

I’m also excited about growing our numbers in the CIC as we emerge from more than two years of virtual time.

We are currently looking for new members to join us and jump in! We’ll be having a gathering on Tuesday, September 13 at 6:00 pm at Busboys and Poets on 450 K Street NW. We welcome anyone who wants to join or learn more!