We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Caballero and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ashley, what do you attribute your success to?
Community is everything – especially within a non profit organization. There are some hard seasons when you pray to just sell enough t-shirts at your event that 10 people come to and those 10 people are all just your close friends. There are other seasons where you host 250 people at a Benefit Concert and you don’t know 75% of them. In each scenario you rely on, you pray for, you hope your community shows up and you hope they believe in what you are saying. When you take non profit work and you match it with mental health awareness, you create this realm of safety and boldness. Often times that boldness of taking this stigmatized conversation, it can be overwhelming to people and scare them away. When we create a community conversation around it – that conversation is turned into this inclusive topic that every single one of us walks through and are now encouraged to speak on. Community is and will always be the key to behind not only my success as an individual but also the success behind Sparkle Mental Health Connection. Be kind to every one you meet, that is your community.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
There are so many things I am proud of – so many accomplishments and so many moments that have truly moved me. Last summer my face was featured on a Lay’s Potato Chip Bag for the ‘Smile with Lays’ Campaign, Sparkle Mental Health Connection was referenced about it’s community work on the back of that bag! It’s one thing to have your friends and family support you, it’s another thing when a massive company recognizes that the work your organization does is very important. I can assure you, it wasn’t easy. As far as getting to where I am today, 5 years ago I didn’t see a world where I lived past 25. I sit here nearing 27 and I can’t believe I made it to where I am today personally and professionally. I work as a personal assistant, a job I love for a family I adore. That job allows me to also run a non profit organization which is where my heart is. I have learned a lot in the last 4 years, the main thing being that nothing worth having comes easy. Being mentally and emotionally stable isn’t always easy but it’s absolutely worth it. Sparking a conversation that matters with your community isn’t always easy but again, so worth it! Growing up I could have been in a room full of people I loved and adored and still could have felt completely alone. I grew up feeling by myself, awkward, and afraid. I didn’t tell anyone because I didn’t know I was the only one who felt that way. Now as a healthy adult who has walked through every stage of grief multiple times and who has seen the inside of hundreds of therapy sessions, I can confidently say that I am healthy and normal and loved. My story isn’t special, it’s more common than you realize. I am one of many who decided to say something to the world to break that stigma around mental health. I created a safe space for my family and friends with the support of my family and friends. You can do that too, it doesn’t have to be a non profit organization or a self help book. It can be as simple as texting your pal and telling them you love them and that you are there for them. Individually I have overcome A LOT which launched me to where I am professionally. Let me say this, If I can do it – so can you.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Fort Worth is home and DFW is massive with so many different things that I love and adore! I really stress my love for local businesses whether it may be coffee shops, bars, or restaurants. Live music is a huge part of the DFW scene and my favorite place to catch local artists is at FireHouse Gastro Park on Main Street Grand Prairie – they have AMAZING food and phenomenal staff! If you’re visiting Fort Worth or if you are from Fort Worth – embrace Sundance Square and the surrounding area. You could spend weeks exploring Fort Worth but if you only have a few days I highly encourage starting in the morning at Fort Worth Zoo and letting the day take you to Velvet Taco for a late lunch near the Montgomery Plaza area and ending the night with a double feature at the Coyote Drive In at Panther Island! Take that second day and have some brunch at HG Sply Co. and spend the rest of your afternoon either at the Botanical Gardens or Rahr + Sons Brewery! If you have time end your evening at Pete’s Piano Bar, it is loud and it is fun. If more dancing is your style check out Studio Eighty! I love catching a classic movie as often as I can and there is no place I would rather watch one at than at the Palace Theatre in Downtown Classic Grapevine. If you enjoy old arcade games and cider like I do, please check out Bishop Cidercade!! Bishop Cidercade is an Adult Arcade in Dallas’ Design District that has 180 + arcade games and 30 ciders and wines on tap! 10/10 and 5 stars on all of these spots for sure

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to give a massive shoutout to my Mom who not only tolerates my daily antics but also has been on the sidelines cheering me on for as long as I can remember. From soccer games to cheerleading competitions all the way through a very long road of recovery to having my face on a potato chip bag. Thank you for showing up for me and being the most consistent thing in my life. I adore your resilience and your zest for the bigger things in life. Thanks for climbing all the metaphorical and literal mountains with me. Love you big Rose!

Website: www.sparkaconversation.org
Instagram: @sparklemhc and @theadventureofash
Facebook: facebook.com/notafraidtoshine
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa8walmhduXBnnkNDbCGZHg

Image Credits
Images by : Stella Images Photography Sparks Fly Photography Frito Lay