Hi, I'm Ash!
Ashley Thomas is the Executive Director of Hope Street, the Greenhouse for People on 26th and Capitol. Hope Street has served the community for nearly 25 years, and provides housing and community to men, women and children coming out of different forms of brokenness. Ashley attended UW-Madison on an athletic scholarship, where she received a BA in Sociology. In addition, Ashley has a Masters in Theological Studies from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Ashley is a passionate, thoughtful and engaging speaker, leader and friend. Ashley, and her husband Taylor have an 11 month old baby boy named Jedidiah, and a fur baby named Belle.
Hope Street, the Greenhouse for People on 26th and Capitol in Milwaukee, provides housing and community to broken men, women and children. Ashley started as the Director in 2016 and has continued to flourish alongside those who live and learn at Hope Street.
Click on the icon to learn more about Hope Street.
Seems odd to live in the tension of wasting away when not too long ago you closed the decade to your 20's. While I suspect I have a lot of life left to live, I can’t neglect the life I have lived thus far and all it has taught me about myself, my family and friends and the greater community. Nicknames are often given as terms of endearment by those who know us best. My nickname is Smash. I was given that nickname at a very young age. It quickly caught on as a name close loved ones used for me. Eventually others heard my family use it and chose to use it too. Eventually “Smash” represented the athlete.
The athlete who appeared to have it all together. The athlete who performed at a high level and wanted everyone to be enamored by her performance. If that sounds exhausting, trust me it was. Especially when I was unwilling to allow people into any other part of my life. My family endured challenges and setbacks while I made poor choices personally, academically, and relationally. I did it all with a smile, few words spoken and a knack towards storing everything internally. Life for me was a game that a few won, leaving most of us in the rut of continually training to do so. I was interested in winning and when it felt like all I was producing were losses - I didn’t find value in life. Although, I continued to play the game.
When my career ended there was a period of time where I would cringe every time someone called me Smash. I was not proud of who I had been and I was fearful people wouldn’t be interested in getting to know the real person behind “Smash” or the athlete that hid behind that name.
Before I sound like someone with a personality disorder, let me just say - the names we are given can and often influence our identity.
My hope is that this blog will help you remain rooted in the only nickname that matters...beloved. Together we will explore the power of being radically vulnerable and intentionally present in a community that longs to know and be known. I will share my own story as well as those near and dear to me: broken men, women and children. Some broken in familiar ways like prideful, selfish and vain and others in not so familiar..addiction, abuse and homelessness.
Together, we call out and call up one another to BE who God calls us to be.. BELOVED sons and daughters.