Ashley Birchard: A Heart for Children

Ashley Birchard: A Heart for Children

spotlightAshley Birchard is a junior in the Early Childhood Education program at BBC. Originally from Birchardville, PA, she currently resides in Carter Hall.

Ashley's great love for children led her to the education program at BBC. She teaches the three-year-old class at her church and has traveled to the Bethesda Orphanage in South Africa to work with the children there. She hopes to pursue a career that will allow her to work with young children or teenagers. She currently works as a telecounselor in the Admissions Department and loves talking to teens about BBC.

She was home schooled from sixth-grade and has three younger brothers who are also being home schooled. Looking back, she is very happy with her experience and wouldn't have done it any other way.

Read other In the Spotlights here.

Insight Questions

What was it like being home schooled?
I loved it. I struggled in regular school. I think the individual attention at home was good for me. I was able to go at my own speed and that helped a lot. I had a better understanding of my classes.

I started being home schooled when I was in sixth grade. My grandmother helped as well by teaching us art and piano and we went to a gym class for home-schooled kids through our church.

Was it difficult going from being home schooled to campus life?
I was a little worried about it and wondered how I would adjust. But I actually knew my roommate before I came.

I was always a little nervous to come to college, but when I got here I felt prepared. I felt ready for this stage of my life. I knew I wanted to be a teacher and I was so excited to start learning.

Where did your interest in early childhood education come from?
I have always had a passion for kids. I have always wanted to do something that would allow me to work with children. One of my brothers had some trouble learning to talk. I wanted to be able to helps kids like him. When I came to BBC, I chose the Early Childhood Education program.

What led you to BBC?
My pastor was taking a group to visit the school and even though I was a sophomore he invited me along and I loved it.

I wasn't sure if I would be able to come because of the money issue. But BBC kept calling me, and really felt like God was leading me here. So, I came not knowing how I was going to pay for it but every year God has provided. I got a scholarship from my father's job and I also got the Awana Citation Award. God has always provided me with a job and I have always had enough to pay my bill.

What do you appreciate the most about your BBC education?
I really appreciate the professors. They really care about the students. They are so willing to help you if you have any problem at all. They want to be part of your life and they make themselves available if you need someone to talk to.

Dr. Ritch Kelley is my favorite education teacher. He is down to earth and he relates to us so well. He's very real in the classroom and he makes things fun. He reaches out to his students and is willing to help in whatever way he can.

What do you enjoy most about college life at BBC?
I like the dorm and campus activities. You can just be crazy and fun and we're all doing it together. I also love how the dorms are set up in suites. I have formed some really good relationships with the girls in my suite.

Why did you become a telecounselor?
I love being able to talk to high school kids because I've been where they are. I remember it was difficult trying to decide where to go to college. I like being able to talk to them and a build relationship and share the things that I have been through and how God has provided.

I really enjoy doing it. I have a whole new awareness for high school students. I have always wanted to teach little kids and I didn't think I could handle high schoolers. Now I talk to them everyday. I think that's a ministry area that I've been opening up to more.

What other ministries have you been involved in?
I teach the three-year-old class at my church and am going on a missions trip in the summer. This year will be my second trip to South Africa.

I heard about the Bethesda Orphanage and I thought it would be a really good experience. The more I thought about it the more I wanted to go. I knew John Jackson took teams from the school. So last year I went. It was my first time out of the country. It was a little scary but I loved being there.

The teens there are awesome and I fell in love with the kids from the orphanage. I taught Bible classes in some of the churches. We did manual work at the orphanage planting trees and cleaning up. I was also able to spend time in the high school teaching classes and talking to the kids.

Contact information:

Learn more about the Early Childhood Education program at BBC here.

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Posted on: 4/23/2009 12:10:49 PM

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