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Troubled background leads Freedom graduate to help others
Kitchens-grad pic
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Most teens who experience a rough childhood have trouble turning their experience into a positive outlook, but Freedom Alternative High School senior Ashley Kitchens has used it as fuel to drive her future career.

She wants to be a counselor for troubled teens and hopefully one day open up her own summer camp where teens can go to have fun, be in a safe environment and take part in counseling sessions.

“I know how hard it is for teens to talk to someone,” Kitchens said.

Kitchens decided her freshman year of high school that she wants to help others. She has moved a lot during school — attending four schools during her high school career. This inspired her to be there for others, especially teens who have experienced a less than fortunate childhood.

Kitchens will be graduating from Freedom Alternative High School on May 26 and will then start pursuing her future career goals.

Due to the down economy, Kitchens has decided to start her career path in the nursing field.

“I want to be a counselor, but the economy is bad so nursing is the way to go and I can still help people,” she said. “I still want to pursue being a counselor, but nursing is first priority.”

She will be starting Modesto Junior College in the fall and hopes to be a traveling nurse. Even with the decrease in job demand, Kitchens said there is always a need for nurses.

“No matter what, there will always be sick people,” she said. “There will always be a need for nurses.”

Kitchens just recently decided to go to school for nursing and feels that Freedom Alternative High School led her in that direction to continue her education. She said she also feels like Freedom has taught her to be more independent and organized.

After she uses her organization skills as an independent traveling nurse, Kitchens plans to open up her summer camp for troubled teens.

She wants to grow up a little more and put some money aside to make sure she can provide the best safe environment she can for teens to help counsel them.

In the meantime, she has been exercising her listening skills with her friends and has even become that friend that people go to for helpful advice, she said.

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.