“After my program, I was so on fire about wanting to travel, but to travel with a purpose and help change lives.”
Name: Ashley Flemings
Life-Changing Experience: Costa Rica: Beachside Service Adventure™ 2012
Where Is She Now: Interning for GLA with EduTerra Global Internship
Passions: Her non-profit organization, TrulyYours; working out; exploring Costa Rica
In 2012, Ashley Fleming took a leap of faith and signed up for GLA’s Costa Rica: Beachside Service Adventure as a high school senior. It was to be her first time outside of the country, and she wasn’t fully sure of what to expect. Turns out, her ten day period abroad was to be one of the defining experiences of her young life.
After high school, Ashley attended California Baptist University and graduated with a B.A of arts in Psychology. She grew her passion for outreach through volunteering with A21 Abolish Slavery. Along with some friends, she formed a non-profit geared toward raising awareness about and collecting donations for victims of human trafficking.
Flash forward to present day: Ashley has returned to Costa Rica–this time, as an intern with EduTerra, GLA’s parent company. Together, the group of a dozen recent college grads is learning the ins and outs of setting up an international volunteer program, from helping families to find the best fit to visiting service sites to meeting with local partners throughout Costa Rica.
Ashley, we’re so glad to have you back in the family! How does it feel to be in Costa Rica again?
It’s GREAT! GLA played a huge role in helping me find my path in life. I got to see the world from a different perspective and learn that there is people all over the world that needs to be reached. After my program, I was so on fire about wanting to travel, but to travel with a purpose and help change lives. I always knew my purpose was to help others, but I never knew how. After doing service in Costa Rica I instantly knew that I needed to go out of my comfort zone in Los Angeles and be a light to others around the world. On my program I was surround by teens that also had a passion make a global change.
What inspired you to go abroad in the first place?
My mom inspired me to sign up for GLA. She gave me the opportunity to see the world from a different angle. Where I am from not many people make it out and get to see what the world has to offer. Since I was a child I always was a helping hand, I always wanted to do service and I had a heart for helping others. My mom saw that in me and made it happen for me. I was blessed to be able to have that opportunity, because my mom was a single mother of three and made a way for me to be able to experience GLA. I believe that GLA was my kick start to thinking bigger and dreaming bigger so I can get out and change the world.
Favorite GLA moment?
It was really many moments–I loved winding down from the day, when all together we would reflect on the day and share our highs and lows. This was a time we all connected and shared stories with each other and really got to know one another. I loved that connection.
Are you still active with volunteer or non-profit work?
My freshman year of college we started YoursTruly. We would set up a booth at different school events where people could donate toiletries and clothes for victims of human trafficking. We also encouraged visitors to write a letter to these victims to offer them hope and encouragement as they recovered. I would then take the donations and letters to the rescue homes and hand everything out to the young women and men. I volunteer my time with this group of young people because so many people are unaware of how common human trafficking is, and the trauma victims have after being rescued. A21 Abolish Slavery is also a huge non-profit I have worked with. They host a walk in October to raise awareness all over the world.
What are your career plans and hopes/dreams for the future?
My future goals are to pick up where I left off with my non-profit and take it to the next level globally. I plan to continue my vision and connect with young adults all over the world.
To apply for our Costa Rica internship, check out our job postings and application instructions!