In this episode of the She Finds Joy podcast, Kim has a conversation with Ashlee Bruggenschmidt, a former teacher turned principal. Ashlee also runs the Play for Kate Foundation in honor of her 11-year-old daughter who tragically passed away in July of 2015 from an ATV accident.
Ashlee and Kim talk in-depth about how we can all overcome hard things and still reach for joy in our lives. Ashlee’s actions show that she continues to choose hope every day, even as she navigated some of the darkest times of her life.
In this interview, Ashlee discusses firsthand what the days following the tragedy were like for her as a mother. She also describes the social support system made up of her family, friends, and community and how this helped her heal. This support was exactly what led her to her mission and the Play for Kate Foundation, which honors her daughter through numerous acts of service. Ashlee’s story is one of courage, faith, resilience, and taking darkness and turning it into passion and purpose. She chooses HOPE each and every day.
In this week's episode, Kim and Ashlee talk about…
- Grief—what it looks like, feels like, and how it continues to show up.
- Why you need a support system to help you navigate through difficult times.
- How to take trauma and turn it into a positive mission.
- Coping strategies Ashlee found helpful during her darkest days.
“…Once I got a purpose, I could start to see the light from the darkness…”
– Ashlee Bruggenschmidt
Check out Play for Kate. This is the foundation that was founded to honor Ashlee’s daughter Kate and all that she embodied. Kate made such a difference in the lives of those who knew her. She was selfless, caring, energetic, and driven. The foundation built a playground in Kate’s memory in Boonville, Indiana, as well as supports student scholarships. The foundation worked to pass HEA 1200—Kate’s softball number was 12—into law, which dictates that all ATV riders younger than 18 must wear a helmet, both on public and private land.
Ashlee is an elementary principal, President of the Play for Kate Foundation, and has received many recognitions including Indiana Elementary Principal of the Year and Healthcare Hero in Evansville, IN. She’s also an activist working to ensure children’s safety and is determined to use her tragedy as a way to celebrate the life of her daughter, Kate.
Kim Strobel is Chief Happiness Officer at Kim Strobel Live Events and Retreats. She is a teacher, consultant, motivational speaker, happiness coach, and a mission-minded person whose passion helps others overcome their fears and discover their joy!
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