Ashley Gurvitz believes in the power of advocacy and its ability to affect long-lasting change. Motivated by Trayvon Martin’s senseless death, Gurvitz realized she wanted to – she needed to – do more to strengthen her community.
“Community is communicating together. It’s communicating plus unity. You could be a catalyst for change by starting something as simple as a conversation,” stated Gurvitz.
Gurvitz has quickly made a significant impact supporting residents of the Arlington Woods neighborhood. She is putting advocacy into action. Through the Renewing Our Community for the Kingdom (ROCK) Initiative led by Pastor Jeffrey A. Johnson Sr., senior pastor of Eastern Star Church, Gurvitz works to create a neighborhood association, encouraging the community to band together to enhance housing options and increase residents’ financial security.
Gurvitz credits her parents for instilling the importance of community and service in her from a young age. From the moment they adopted her, they have been setting an example of what it means to serve the community.
Gurvitz shared, “I always said I never wanted to be in the classroom. Now that I think about it, all the little things my mom did to role model teaching others and being a hard-working mom, all of it makes me realize I am a teacher. It’s just not a traditional classroom. My teaching, my role-modeling, is in the community.”
In her work with Eastern Star Church, she has a front row seat to connect with youth in her neighborhood and the greater Indianapolis community. When asked what motivates her to do this work, Gurvitz replied, “Youth are awesome in so many ways. As adults we have to let them know they too are role models. We have a responsibility to show them their future potential, to let them begin to lead. It’s so exciting!”
For those interested in becoming involved in the community, Gurvitz affirmed, “Don’t sit on the sidelines waiting for change to happen. First, take time to know yourself. Self-care is so important. Know what you’re willing to give and find ways to use that to help others.”