We had the good fortune of connecting with Ashley Durden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ashley, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
El Bosque Plus is a mentoring program that supports pre-teens and teens, ages twelve and up. I help them live their best life now and build themselves up for also preparing for adulthood. We talk about the things they are dealing with now as they start figuring out who they are. We discuss healthy sexuality, puberty, self-esteem/self-worth, DEI, organization skills, and much more. These discussions lay the foundation for them and their futures. My goal is to make sure every teen that speaks with me holds on to the bold decision to be themselves based on who they know themselves to be and not who others tell them they are. I believe this is the key and only way to have a word in which there are those who speak up for others, make bold choices in life, and change the world. It’s those who are unapologetically themselves, those who understand the world around them (good and bad) and still choose to fight to find the best in it that make humanity better.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
While I enjoy connecting and work with teens one on one currently I am connecting with local youth organizations, community centers, libraries, and schools to work together in focusing on our youths’ mental and emotional health. We all have been heavily impacted by this global pandemic and a lot of teens have been isolated, many are dealing with anxiety and there’s also a huge jump in the use of social media during this time and we are seeing that taking a toll on our teen’s self-esteem, understanding of relationships, and being aware of the present. I’m hoping that with these partnerships more teens will feel heard, have multiple safe spaces to grow, and support parents during this time.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When I have friends that come to visit I’d love to take them to Amor y Queso to pick up some delicious grazing boards. We would then have a late lunch and fun at the Cidarcade and then a late night at Te Deseo for some food and salsa lessons.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to thank all my teachers of life who educated, retaught me, and sometimes walked through the lessons with me. I wouldn’t have gotten to this point if it wasn’t for all of you.