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Founder Ashley Given

Hello

Ashley Given (she/her) is the founder of Life Changer Trips. She was a youth director for four years and has five years of experience organizing service work trips for youth. Most recently Ashley was a keynote speaker for two youth weekend retreats. With a background in teaching and a degree in stage management, Ashley knows how to connect with youth and manage large groups. Her expertise of planning and executing service work trips, as well as her passion for inspiring young people, inspired her to start Life Changer Trips.

Our Story

Our founder, Ashley Given, grew up going to youth group at her church. Every summer her youth group would go on a mission trip to do service work. These trips gave her the opportunity to go to new places and meet new people. They were the highlight of her summer and she always looked forward to creating new inside jokes with her friends. And one of those trips was a life changer, this is her story:

My last mission trip was to San Francisco where my youth group volunteered at Grace Cathedral serving lunch and dinner to those facing food insecurity. That was the first time I had the chance to meet and listen to the people I was helping. I saw first hand that food insecurity affects people from all walks of life. I remembers seeing folks bring Tupperware with them and go through the food line multiple times so they would have food for later. I was busy worrying about if I'd like my college roommates and here were people who worried about where their next meal was coming from. For the first time I truly saw my privilege and luck I had in life. My perspective and life changed after that. One of the tasks I did at Grace was wiping down the tables and collecting trays/dishes when folks were finished. That was my favorite experience out of all the volunteer work I had done - because I was able to talk to people. I heard their stories, we had conversations, and my eyes were finally opened - these were people. Fellow human beings just trying to do their best. They weren't caricatures, they were people with stories and feelings and struggles - just like me. I learned that our circumstances don't define us or make us who we are - it's our actions and words that do.

On Sundays the church didn't serve hot meals but handed out sack lunches. One of our tasks was making the sandwiches and preparing the bags. As my table was chugging along with our assembly line sandwich making, I discovered that Rosie, the woman volunteering across from me, was a woman that relied on the meals that Grace served. This woman in front of me was facing food insecurity herself and yet she volunteered every week to make sandwiches. The kindness and generosity of that woman stuck with me. I cherish that trip so much because I met incredible people who showed me that my world is not the only world and I learned that I want to be a woman like Rosie. I realized I wanted to be the person that no matter her circumstances or what her world looked like, would do what she could to give back and do her part for humanity. Ten summers later and I'm launching a business that will give others the opportunity to experience what I did and to inspire others to do our part for humanity by giving a helping hand to communities that are underserved. 

I love my experiences both as a youth and adult leader on mission trips but I have vision for something bigger. I knew many people in high school who would have benefited from or wanted to go on a service work trip but wouldn't have wanted to be a part of the religious aspects of it. There are few if any opportunities for teens to go on service work trips that are not faith-based - especially trips that are not international. That's how Life Changer Trips was born! I wanted to create opportunities for high schoolers that aren't part of a faith community to be able to have the same life changing experiences I had on my trips. I also dreamed of creating inclusive Christian based mission trips with progressive theology - trips where it is clear that all genders and sexualities are welcome. Life Changer Trips is the best of both worlds: we offer nonreligious service work trips and we also offer progressive Christian-based trips. The center of both types of trips is the volunteer work and communities served. Unlike some of the trips I went on as a teenager, our service work helps meet the needs experienced from the community we're serving and we strive to work with the communities to build lasting relationships and impact. And our small group size ensures that no one is standing around without something to do while we are volunteering! Life Changer Trips has been a vision for 10 years and now I can proudly say this vision has become a reality! 

Get in Touch

Office Location: 

Denver, CO 

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