Empowering Mission Leads Ashley Galston to Join Erie House Board of Directors

April 29, 2015 | Chicago, IL

Ashley Galston

K&L Gates associate Ashley Galston joined the Erie House Board of Directors in April 2015.

When newly elected Erie Neighborhood House board member Ashley Galston attended the 2014 Future of Promise awards dinner last spring at invitation of a friend, she did a bit of research to learn more about the organization and what to expect at the annual fundraiser event.

But it wasn’t until the evening of the gala that she began to fully grasp the Erie House mission and how it impacts the community it serves.

Joanna Hernandez, then a high school senior and a recent beneficiary of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, served as the evening’s featured speaker as Erie House highlighted its Citizenship and Immigration program.

Ashley was impacted by Hernandez’s story, but she felt even more affinity for the confidence with which the eighteen-year-old spoke to a ballroom of 400 attendees. If Erie House was equipping this young woman with a voice, she reasoned, the organization was likely doing the same for other participants in its various programs for children, adults and families.

“It was at the dinner that I felt a strong connection [with Erie House] and all the organization is doing to empower the immigrant community,” she says.

A year later, Ashley is a member of the Erie House Board of Directors. For the K&L Gates marketing and business development professional, giving back to the community comes naturally. “I grew up in a family where volunteering was important,” she explains. “It’s always been part of my life.”

Ashley describes volunteering as a win-win scenario and a worthwhile investment of time and resources. “There are only so many hours in the day,” she says. “You get so much out of volunteering, and you can really make a difference.” She says she looks forward to contributing the skill set she has developed in her professional life in her new role on the Board of Directors.

An Erie House program of particular interest to Ashley is early childhood education. Mother to a two-year-old, she explains that she and her husband became all too familiar with the challenges families face in finding quality childcare. “Children should have equal access to quality education from day one,” she says. “Unfortunately that’s not always the case.”

When not engaged in work or volunteer activities, Ashley enjoys exploring new places. “I love to travel,” she says. “It’s important to see different cultures and get outside of your comfort zone. The more you understand other people, the greater impact you can have on the world around you.”

 

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