My name is Ashley Rose Murphy and I am 17 years old. I come from a large family of ten kids and I am the second youngest. Eight out of the ten of us have disabilities of varying degrees. From the time we were little, my parents have impressed upon us the importance of giving back to our community. Over the years we’ve had organizations that have helped our family in various ways and because of this we have always been willing to go the extra mile to help out others who are in need. We have participated in fundraisers and PSA’s for organizations such as The Hospital for Sick Children, Variety Village, Easter Seals, Grandview Children’s Centre, The Jennifer Ashleigh Foundation, The Teresa Group and many more. Plus we have always helped out in schools and sports clubs.
As a family, we have always taken great pleasure in helping others, as we have seen first-hand the impact that a small act of kindness can make. My siblings and I all have different causes that we are deeply passionate about. For example, my brother Patrick – who is legally blind, and a quadriplegic, and my sister Tiffany – who is developmentally delayed have both volunteered for organizations that assist kids with physical disabilities. My sister Kathryn is studying law in university but finds the time to volunteer in the university Outreach Services Unit, helping students who are dealing with trauma, mental health issues or any kind of crisis. She took a course on top of her workload just so she could volunteer. And my parents have volunteered for countless charities, sports clubs, and community service organizations.
Simple things like sitting in the backseat time after time as mom pays for the person behind her and drives away without waiting for a honk or wave. We’ve said “wait for them to honk or wave.” And she says, “It’s not about them saying thank you, it feels better to give when you get nothing in return.”
Watching my siblings and my parents example makes a lasting impact, even on the youngest kids in the family. From an early age, our mom and dad have taught us that we are never too young to make a difference. A great example of this is my 6 year-old brother, Raven. He may be young and he may be the baby of our family, but he is certainly an up and coming world changer. He is very passionate about the environment, animals and protecting the Earth. I can recall times from when he was just a year old, my siblings and I would take him to the park and whenever he would find trash on the ground, he would always pick it up and throw it in the garbage can which is way better than his mouth (because you know with children at that age, they tend to put just about anything in their mouths). We call him “Eco Warrior” and the title is very suited to his personality and his Native heritage. It was amazing to see him so young and caring about the earth, seeing as many of us are guilty of littering and not giving it a second thought. What is truly remarkable is that he has kept this spirit alive to this day to care for the Earth, and this year he decided that for his 6th birthday, instead of having a party with all of his friends at Chuck E Cheese, he wanted to go have an “Eco Party”. He wanted to go to his school grounds and pick up litter.
My family was pretty shocked, but proud nonetheless because it was a selfless thing from a rambunctious little boy. He was very eager to do this. It was an Early Sunday morning on April 5th, rainy and freezing cold and all of our family set out to his schoolyard with a bunch of garbage bags and gloves. We had some family friends come help us as well which made the experience all the more enjoyable. By the end of our 3 hour litter pick up, we managed to fill 3 large garbage bags of recycling and one of garbage. You could just see the look on Raven’s face as he was picking up litter that he was having a blast and was so proud of himself. That is what it’s all about and was it so refreshing to see.
Just remember, no matter how old or young you are, whether you are helping others or protecting the earth, these are all small acts of kindness that can create a ripple effect to help change the world.
Ashley Rose Murphy is an AIDS Activist, an active volunteer and Motivational Speaker who has shared her inspirational message with the world at We Day and her Tedx talk “How to be extraordinary.”
You can follow Ashley on Twitter AshleyRose_FTC