Most Beautiful Woman Selected to Represent Florida
Founder and Director, Ashley Le Grange was so honored to receive the news of being nominated and then selected to represent the 50 Most Beautiful Women. Board member and local (phenomenal) photographer, Claire Anderson from Clara Bella Photography, nominated her and asked to share her story. Read on and you will quickly understand why... Ashley is truly beauty revived.
Meet Ashley. She is Beauty Revived.
From the moment I met Ashley I immediately felt like I had known her my entire life. She is one of those women who lights up any room she walks into, and you instantly feed off of her electric and genuine spirit. After years of working as a counselor, Ashley recognized a void in support and guidance for “high achieving” teens. This realization led to the formation of a non-profit organization, The Stand Up Foundation, and a gender specific program, Women Making Waves, which focuses on empowering young women to become fearless, confident leaders. Ashley selflessly devotes her time and knowledge to countless teens in our community, and has truly become a second mom/confidant/friend to them. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to photograph Ashley back at her high school, which she feels attributed to much of who she is today.
Ashley’s story in her own words..
My ideas and dreams began in 2007 while in graduate school studying mental health and school counseling. I took a particular interest in researching teenage girls with all that they face in the world today. I know from my own personal obstacles navigating as a teen was confusing, fun, scary, and full of experimentation on the mission to find myself—whatever that meant.
Reflecting back, I struggled in many different arenas, but believe many of them came from lack of confidence, security and anxiety. I was an anxious, perfectionistic child from the beginning. My family was wonderful and supportive, which made things even more confusing; how could a child with so much love, guidance, open-mindedness and support feel empty, scared, and lost? I set out on my own journey to find answers to helping teens navigate through this very turbulent time, while helping parents understand what their children were facing and how to best encourage and communicate with them.
After graduating from the University of Tampa, I moved to Vail, CO where I went on to teach high school for two years before becoming a school counselor at an all girls’ school in Miami, FL. I felt as though I had arrived. Here I was able to study and really learn about teenage girls, their world, issues, and how to not only solve these, but going a bit deeper, how to prevent some of these “catastrophes”. My experience in the education setting and then mental health, has made me a very a unique therapist, with teaching and prevention as my primary modality.
While working as a school counselor, my principal role was to assist students in furthering their educational, physical, psychosocial, and emotional growth. I wanted to help each student learn how to advocate for themselves, whether it was related to education and learning, friendship struggles, communicating with parents, or learning coping skills to prevent unsafe experimentation. Through my experiences, I saw many similarities that brought all of our teens together; coping strategies. Regardless of gender, socio-economic upbringing, intelligence, or the people we were friends with; we all struggle with stress, anxiety, peer pressure, the pressure to be a part of/accepted, and/or concerns about grades/school. We all are concerned about judgment, how people feel about us and tend to make decisions based on our perceptions of this; even those perceptions are false.
I believe in prevention and education. By teaching the truth about drugs, alcohol, stress reduction, anxiety coping skills, just to name a few, everyone is given the opportunity to make better choices and hopefully have a better perception of what is going on around them (instead of believing everything they hear from friends and media as fact).
My approach is to promote wellness, and work with adolescents that already are making healthy decisions. My goal is to encourage more of these choices and be a safe adult for them to share and learn with. Side by side, teens and I work together to explore early warning signs, such as high anxiety, stress, and pressure, to gain healthy coping tools to bypass addiction, eating disorders, or other mental health concerns. I don’t believe people choose to have these serious mental health illnesses and therefore working together we can hopefully make a difference in preventing them, as well as encouraging early interventions and recovery.
Ashley is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor, and Licensed/Certified School Counselor. She founded The Stand UP Foundation and Women Making Waves Program as an outlet for all girls to gain leadership skills encouraging confidence, well-being, and health among our teenage population. The program covers a variety of topics covering everything from body image, media literacy, self-esteem, bullying, friendships, conflict resolution, communication styles, drugs and alcohol education, learning and studying strategies, stress reduction, and safety with technology/social media. To learn more about the Stand UP Foundation and Women Making Waves please visit www.standupfoundationfl.org.