When Asia Ambler joined the Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Broome County’s Community Improvement Through Youth (CITY) Project at age 14, she was struggling to feel accepted in school. She grew and thrived in the program, learning how to communicate better and eventually lead community projects.
Now, Ambler works as a program educator for CCE Broome County, the same office that taught her how to succeed, and was recently selected for a prestigious national award – the Next Generation of Leaders in Afterschool for 2020 from the National Afterschool Association (NAA).
As part of the honor, Ambler was profiled in the NAA’s Afterschool Today magazine this winter. And she will be recognized at the 2020 NAA Convention in March in Washington D.C.
In her job today, Asia leads CCE Broome County’s CareerBound program, working with 18- to 24-year-olds who didn’t complete high school but want to find a path to a better life.
“Youth in this program are often struggling from day to day just to survive and Asia guides them with boundless compassion and kindness,” said June Mead, the project leader in the CCE Broome County office. “She supports them in every respect, from helping them prepare for interviews, getting them interview-appropriate clothes – all the while inspiring and encouraging their hopes, dreams and goals for careers, to continue their education, whatever! She consistently goes the extra mile. We couldn’t be more proud of Asia.”
In addition to her work with CareerBound, Ambler is a program assistant for the 4-H Urban Neighborhoods Improved Through Youth project at Union-Endicott High School and CITIZEN U at Binghamton High School.
Ambler is an active member of the Expanded Learning Network of Broome and Tioga, a regional New York State Network for Youth Success, one of the 50 state affiliates for the NAA.
“Thanks to CITY, I found I had a knack for public speaking,” Asia explained. “I was pretty young, but through CITY, I had opportunities to lead groups and instruct with the best presenters, my CITY Project mentors. These skills helped me to be accepted to every college I applied to, assisted me through difficult times in my personal life and resulted in my current job! I can now follow the powerful model of my mentors that I watched transform my life! The pride of being in the CITY Project formed the basis of my whole career and helped me discover my passion for youth development—the field I plan on staying in forever!”
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo nominated Ambler because of her passion, creativity and a commitment to youth.
“Asia Ambler embodies the powerful impact youth development programming has on a community,” she said. “Asia has gone from a high school student participating in afterschool programs to a young professional helping guide out-of-school youth in a workforce development program.”