A True “School Rally”!

(Ashley at Beidler’s “Africa Day”)

As a 13 year old 8th grader at Beidler Elementary School, Ashley Allison is the youngest participant in the Africa Running Program, but as her principal Dr. Shirley Ewing puts it, “Ashley is one of a kind!”

Breakthrough has been blessed to have developed a great working relationship with Jacob Beidler Elementary School throughout the years. When Dr. Ewing heard that one of her top students was chosen for this trip, she and her school immediately sprung into action. As I told Dr. Ewing that we were having a difficult time securing all of Ashley’s trip costs I had no idea that the following day would officially become “Africa Day” at Beidler and that the whole school would rally to raise support for Ashley! The stories of teachers and students raising money and committing to continually raising it till Ashley’s departure floored me when I heard about them the next day.

I knew right then and there that Ashley was meant to go on this trip and I just had to sit down with both Ashley and Dr. Ewing to hear more…

Dr. Ewing, tell me  about Ashley and what makes her “one of a kind?”

– “Ashley is obviously one of our top students academically, but it’s her natural leadership qualities and that make her such a great role model. She is consistently involved in every type of extra curricular activity from athletics to dramas. ”

Awesome, so why did you so quickly decide to have the school help raise support for her?

– “Well that was easy,  Ashley and the whole Allison Family are consistently faithful and giving of themselves, so we had to jump at the chance to give back. Ashley has a pure and obvious desire for others and a natural servant’s attitude that has her always ready to help people. The least we could do was to make sure that she knew we as a school were proud of her and that we would do whatever we could to ensure her trip was possible!”

Ashley, how does this make you feel?

– “I feel so special because, really, how many schools and principals would do something like this for a program that is not a part of their own school? Thanks Dr. Ewing!”

*As an aside (not spoken in interview): EXACTLY!  Beidler is more than a public school, it is a Community school that cares about its kids and community outside of the classroom as well! Refreshing.

What are you looking forward to the most about the trip?

-“I am looking forward to meeting my sponsored kid (through World Vision) and hanging out with her. Her name is Bukhosi, and I cant wait to learn about her life and compare it to mine in Chicago.”

Yeah that will be amazing!  Is there anything else you want to say to the people out there following  you and this trip?

– “Yeah, THANK YOU! I am also feeling like this is such a great opportunity because many people my age do not go anywhere outside of their neighborhood. Africa is where my ancestors originated from and it will allow me to see how many people my age suffer and go through many challenges.”

– Ahsley

If you would like to join Dr. Ewing and Beidler Elementary School in making sure Ashley’s trip costs are covered please contact rfunk@breakthrough.org as we have a little ways to go.


28 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kimberly Allison on May 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    Me and your dad are so proud of you. I am looking forward to experiencing Africa with you.


  2. Posted by Pam Funk on May 10, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    Ashley, how exciting! I am at sitting here at work wiping tears from my eyes with how touched I am by you and your family and your school. I am so excited that you are going to be a part of this trip. I look forward to hearing more!

    Love, Pam (Rusty’s Mom)


  3. Posted by Amanda Hofbauer on May 10, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    How amazing! Every one of these posts makes me cry a little 🙂


  4. I would like take this opportunity to thank Mr. Rusty Funk and the entire Breakthrough staff for selecting one of Beidler Elementary School’s best students to go to Africa! This will be an experience that Ashley Allison will never forget. I believe that Ashley will be well received and have a lot to offer to the students in Africa! Keep up the good work!


  5. I am so excited for you to be able to take a trip to Africa; this is a trip of a life time that will set your course. You will connect with the ancestors just by touching the soil. So many African Americans have not afforded themselves the opportunity to travel aboard, and become a global learner. Please keep a travel journal and share you experiences with us while you are on your journey.


  6. Posted by Tiese Astin on May 16, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Good luck Ashley. I hope you have fun and learn something new. I hope to be like you one day and go somewhere out of the country. Hopefully Spain! Again good luck and have a blast!


  7. Hey Ashely I am so happy for you because I want to know what is like to be in a different country if this is a first time for you and I would like to know how they are different from us….. ENJOy your trip to Africa.


  8. i am so proud of you Ashley.I hope you have fun and more i never thought your leave to africa but i hope you make the best of it come back with alot of stories to tell…when you come back be ready for all our trips n GRADUATION!!!! I LOVE YOU LITTLE ASHLEY LOL


  9. Posted by Monique Galloway on May 16, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I’m so proud of you bestfriend/sister. Hope you have fun. I wish I could have the experience you’re about to have in Africa. Have fun for me to.


  10. Posted by racquel on May 16, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    I am so happy for you Ashley. I hope you have a wonderful time in Africa!


  11. Posted by JOHNELL HARRIS on May 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    My Name is Johnell Harris, I’m a student at Beidler Elem. I’m so happy for you Ashley about your journey to Africa. I hope you have an amazing time!! See you when you get back!


  12. I am so proud of you Ashley. I hope you have fun.I never thought that a student from Beidler would go to africa but I hope you make the best of it. Come back with a lot of stories to tell. When you come back be ready for all our trips and GRADUATION!!!! I LOVE YOU LITTLE ASHLEY LOL


  13. I am so excited for you Ashley. I hope you have fun on your trip and make the best of this. I’m so happy for one of my best friends but all I want to really say is keep up the good work!

    Your best friend,Jalissa


  14. Posted by Terika boyd on May 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Hey Ashley! You did it!! I’m so proud of you!! You’re on your way to Africa!! Make sure you tell all the kids that your best friend says hello!! Remember to tell them about our school and about your friends! P.S. Teach them volleyball, and have fun!


  15. Posted by Areania Johnson on May 16, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I am so excited that you will be a student from Jacob Beidler going to Africa. Im glad that you’ll be someone experiencing something new. Hope you have fun, and I will love to know more about Africa when you come back!


  16. Posted by Tyshawn Hollins on May 16, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Ashley,I am so happy for you. I hope you have fun and be safe! P.S. watch out for those wild animals!!


  17. Posted by Sean Thomas on May 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    Congrats Ashley!! We(students at Beidler) will miss you, and we hope that you have a fun/safe trip.


  18. Posted by raven on May 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I’m so proud of you Ashley. I hope you have fun:)


  19. Posted by Carl Garner on May 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Ashley, on to Africa!! Leaving your school and country behind to run with the lions!?! Please do not get lost. Have fun and good luck! Can’t wait until you return, I just know you’ll have plenty of good stories to share.


  20. Posted by daeshawn ellis on May 16, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Ashley, I’m very very happy for you. I hope you have a lot of fun. Enjoy yourself and return safely.


  21. Posted by domonique jones on May 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    GOOD LUCK! I’m so proud of you. Ps: be safe & have fun!!!


  22. Posted by LELA BOLDEN on May 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Ashley I am so proud of you and I wish you and the rest of the runners the best. I hope you have a great time and teach me something new when you return. This is a once in a lifetime expirence so take in every moment of it!!!


  23. Posted by jasminegrisby on May 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Im so proud of you. Good luck and I hope you have fun.


  24. Posted by Ezra Harris on May 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Ashley I’m so glad that you are going to Africa to see amazing new things, run a 10k, and most of all experience alot of things that other people can’t. I’m hoping that you have fun and win. I Can’t wait until you get back and tell me about everything that happened. We will miss you when you’re gone. See you when you get back.

    PS. Don’t get eaten by a lion:)


  25. Posted by Imari Young on May 16, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Ashley, you are a very lucky girl to be going all the way to Africa. I will miss you but I am sooooo happy for you. You should think about all your friends back home when you arive. I bet that’ll put a smile on your face. I WILL miss you and all your jokes, especially the way you did random things to make me laugh. These nine days you are gone might be the hardest days I’ll have to face without you.Anyways I love you and I will miss you.GOODBYE.


  26. Posted by ashley on May 16, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Thank you all so much. You all are going to make me cry because i know that i have a whole crew behind me supporting me while i go on this adventure.I love you all so much and to my class of 2011 thanks. I will have fun and i will try to bring back some surveniors i can’t promise that but i will try. I will take alot of pics for everyone to see so i can show you all how Africa really looks. 🙂 but 😦 that i am leaving for A while.


  27. Posted by Mo on May 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm



  28. Posted by Dara McKaig on May 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I don’t know you, you don’t know me. I am Rusty’s Aunt. I am so excited that you get to go on this trip. I hope you keep a journal that you can share with all of your schoolmates and with us. I would like to watch you as you grow. I am excited to see who you become. Much Love, Honey! Aunt Dara


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