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Go Fish!

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October 25, 2020 | By Todd Ashmore

Blueprints Ashmore Family
Medium Charity Of Excellence Seal Png

"A family that works together to put other families first!"

Compassion for their community and a “just do it” spirit led the Ashmore family to Blueprints. Todd and Suzanne Ashmore, their children and extended family and friends have been volunteering and involved with Blueprints for almost 20 years. Their enthusiasm and generosity, combined with Blueprints’ willingness to try new approaches, has kept them involved. When asked, Todd was anxious to share the story of his family’s volunteer experience at Blueprints.

When asked why my family is so involved with Blueprints the answer is easy. They are a well-run organization with good people and, most importantly, an effective approach to helping their participants. What that means is we appreciate what they do, how they do it and how our involvement improves our lives.

Blueprints is an education-based agency that works to teach skills to their participants so that they learn the dynamics of their situation and how to deal with those now and in the future. The “teach a person to fish” approach is one that my family buys into because the educational investment is a lifelong skill. We know that any participant we choose to assist through Blueprints is engaged in at least one Blueprints’ program to improve their life and is not simply taking a handout. A participant willing to invest their time into their situation is worth an investment from our family as well.

Having been involved with many non-profits over the years, my wife and I have seen the full spectrum of innovation, and Blueprints is at the top. There is never a new idea that they are not willing to listen to and work with us to think through. From our idea of a Blueprints Christmas for Families that evolved into A Little LIFT, a unique crowd-funded barrier elimination project, to their ideas for combating transportation barriers, they are always looking for new ways to approach the issues that their participants are facing. As donors and volunteers, it is exciting to have that level of open collaboration, where our ideas are valued, and it encourages us to continue thinking things through with a different perspective.

It has always been important for my wife Suzanne and I to raise our children with an understanding of community and doing our part, no matter how small, to remove suffering when we can. Blueprints has always allowed us to be very hands-on and active with our kids as volunteers. From delivering Christmas gifts to preparing and serving meals or providing childcare during evening programs, we were able to instill the value of volunteerism through time and energy because philanthropy is not all about the money. There was a time when we did not have the money to share, but we always had the desire and the time. That time spent with our kids doing this work, like Blueprints’ time with its participants, was an investment in shaping the minds of our children to always save room to serve others. They are now 17 and 20 years old and are already off to a faster start than mom and dad at that age…THE FUTURE IS BRIGHT!