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2020-01-02 06:00:00

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Coworker Corner: Ashley Monroe-Turner

Coworker Corner: Ashley Monroe-Turner

Mercy Home provides its coworkers with a unique perk—the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young people. And that’s an opportunity that Ashley Monroe-Turner was always interested in pursuing.

Ashley majored in political science/pre-law and social work in college, but it was really her upbringing that motivated her to pursue a career helping others.

I always was trying to give back to less fortunate kids,” she said. “Just coming from a family [that was] a two-parent household and seeing how my cousins grew up, how they didn’t have the support and the help that I did necessarily—[it made me] want to be an advocate for the kids that didn’t have it like I did.”

So when it came time for Ashley to look for a job after graduating college, Mercy Home was a natural fit. And she also knew about our mission because her sister, Couderc Home Program Manager Gewanda Monroe, already was working here.

She was hired when Bernardin Home, the program for our oldest girls, hired overnight staff members for the first time. Though she started as the first weekend overnight coworker in Bernardin, she has since become the senior youth care worker in the home.

Because Bernardin Home doesn’t have coworkers like a milieu supervisor or day coordinator, Ashley takes on much of the work those supervisory roles entail. Her job requires the ability to balance time with the girls with those duties.

A lot of times the girls are in the office and we’re just chatting in here while I’m doing paperwork so that everybody can have time with me,” she explained.

Ashley particularly enjoys working with the older girls because of the impact she can make on them before they enter the adult world.

Just the impact that you’re making on them [so they can] say, if I didn’t [live] in Bernardin Home and Ashley wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have been able to do this, or just the satisfaction of [being able] to help them with something in their lives that they can say, I know how to do this because,” she said.

And after six years with the girls in Bernardin Home, Ashley said that even though she sometimes finds it hard to leave work at work, she hasn’t burnt out for one simple reason.

“Just the impact that you’re making on them [so they can] say, if I didn’t [live] in Bernardin Home and Ashley wasn’t there, I wouldn’t have been able to do this.”

At the time when they transition … it may not seem like I did enough, but when they come back and they visit, when you talk to them after months or years, you know [that] I did impact their life and I did make a difference,” she said.

Ashley added that many girls do like to stay in touch because Mercy Home becomes the stable family support in many of the kids’ lives, particularly when it’s lacking outside of our Home.

We always try to make sure we connect with them,” she said. “[We] check in with AfterCare to see how they’re doing because [from] when they were in program that it was difficult for them. You’re still like the family. They can rely on you … sometimes they just need to talk to you, [to have] somebody to talk to, they may not have anybody else just to check in.”

Another part of the job that Ashley enjoys is working with Mercy Home coworkers and has made many strong relationships with everyone at the Walsh Campus.

It’s just really family-oriented and it’s so friendly and no matter what program you’re in, you know each other’s names,” she said. “You walk past, and you say hi.”

Celebrating big events together is another way that Ashely and her coworkers stay close—they mark birthdays and anniversaries and throw baby showers for each other. In fact, because there are so many mothers working at the Walsh Campus, they pass baby clothes around.

It’s like a home down here,” she said. “I know if I’m having a bad day or if one of my coworkers is having a bad day, it’s noticeable and [we support each other].”

“At the time when they transition … it may not seem like I did enough, but when they come back and they visit, when you talk to them after months or years, you know [that] I did impact their life and I did make a difference.”

Her favorite part of being at Mercy Home, however, is being excited to come to work every day.

Some people are dragging to go to work every day [because] they’re so unhappy,” she said. “But at Mercy Home … you might learn something new, you might do something new, you might experience something new.”

She said that the opportunity to do hands-on things with the girls, like teaching them how to cook, is especially meaningful to her.

That’s why I like coming to work every day,” she said. “That’s a good thing about working at Mercy Home and coming in every day, because I like to impact their lives.”

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