TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Taking care of a child takes a lot of patience and time. At Tyndall’s Child Development Center, the caretakers are responsible for multiple children which requires more patience and more time. The one who ensures these caretakers are properly trained, is also the 325th Force Support Squadron’s Unsung Hero.
Mrs. Ashley Smith is a Child and Youth Programs Training and Curriculum Specialist for the CDC. She is responsible for providing training, feedback and resources to CDC staff.
She works to not only enhance the staff’s professional growth and development, but she also plans and implements weekly activities that are appropriate for supporting children’s growth and development.
“My job provides me the opportunity to not only put my Early Childhood Education Degree to use but also the opportunity to step temporarily into other Child and Youth Program roles furthering my knowledge of how they are connected and support our military children and families,” Smith said.
“What makes it all worthwhile,” she continued, “is overcoming daily challenges, no matter how big or small, and at the end of the day seeing a child’s smile and hearing about how much fun they have had at the CDC.”
Smith is married to retired Senior Master Sgt. John Smith III. She has two children, both of whom are in college.
“My daughter Caitlin is studying drafting at Gulf Coast University,” said Smith. “And my son Connor is studying political science at the University of Miami.”
Although she currently has a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Alabama, the Mobile, Ala., native plans to continue her education as long as she is working.
Once she retires with her husband, Smith plans to continue traveling.
“As a military spouse and spending over nine years overseas, I have traveled all through Europe exploring historical sites in Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Slovenia, Poland, France, England, Belgium, Switzerland and the Czech Republic,” said Smith. “It was exciting to actually see what I learned in history textbooks up close and personal.”
Over the nine years she spent stationed overseas with her husband, Smith worked for the Kaiserslautern Germany Army and Air Force Child and Youth Program where she earned an Army Civilian Achievement Medal for her service while working for the Unites States Army Garrison Kaiserslautern, Germany.
Her work ethic and “perfectionist” personality has made a good work/life balance a challenge.
“I am fortunate to have caring and supportive friends, colleagues and family reminding me that it is okay to take time for myself,” said Smith. “I have incorporated healthier eating habits and exercising at least three times a week while slowing down every now and then and enjoying my time with my family.”
Smith also likes to take time to hike and ride her Harley. She used her love for riding as a way to help give back to the community.
“I am involved as a social member for the Red Knights Motorcycle Club supporting the community through fundraisers for the Shiners Children Hospital and Camp Amigos,” she said.
Her leadership spoke of nothing but praise when referring to Smith.
“She is an amazing team player,” said Mr. Marcus Forte, 325th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Services flight chief. “She goes above and beyond on countless things and she is passionate. People who are dedicated give 110 percent from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. People who are passionate give 110 percent 24 hours a day.”