ASHLEY RHODES-COURTER is the quintessential American success story. Born in 1985 to a single teen mother, by the age of 3 she was in Florida’s foster care system where she spent almost ten years being shuttled between 14 homes – some quite abusive – before being adopted from a Children’s Home at the age of twelve. She would later chronicle her harrowing story in the New York Times Bestseller Three Little Words which is currently being adapted into a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon, Amanda Seyfried and directed by James Mangold.
Despite her ordeal, Ashley excelled in school because she believed that, “my education was the one thing nobody could take from me.” Early in her life she felt compelled to advocate for herself and the other children she lived with, particularly in the abusive foster homes.
Her efforts and academic achievements landed her Eckerd College’s Trustee Scholarship—the school’s most prestigious full-tuition award. She graduated with honors and ahead of schedule earning a double major in Communications and Theater and a double minor in Political Science and Psychology. Ashley then went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California.
During her undergraduate studies, she was one of 20 college students selected for the USA Today All-USA Academic Team and was named one of Glamour Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. She was also named one of the four Golden BR!CK Award winners for outstanding advocacy for community change by Do Something. As part of their campaign, she was featured on 25 million bags of Cool Ranch Doritos. She was the Youth Advocate of the Year for the North American Council on Adoptable Children, has received the Kids to Kids National Service Award from the Child Welfare League of America, and was the recipient of two Angels in Adoption Awards from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption.
Internationally recognized, Ashley has been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Nancy Grace, ABC Primetime, Montel Williams, and other national media outlets. She frequently appears in local television and newspaper markets when she travels for her speeches. She hosted a television program called “Explore Adoption” which was produced by the State of Florida to raise the public’s awareness of foster children in need of loving and permanent homes.
"Nine years in the foster care system could ruin a kid. But [Ashley] not only survived, she's thrived."- Teen People
"The author's ability to form intelligent, open-minded conclusions about her traumatic childhood demonstrates her remarkable control and insight, and although there are plenty of wrenching moments, she succeeds not in attracting pity but in her stated intention, of drawing attention to the children who currently share the plight that she herself overcame."- Publishers Weekly
"This gifted young writer's moving and eye-opening story will especially appeal to fans of Jeannette Walls's The Glass Castle and David Pelzer's autobiographical books."- School Library Journal
"Ashley Rhodes-Courter is triumphant in her quest to overcome insurmountable odds. I celebrate her courage to seek out the best in humanity in spite of its failings."- Victoria Rowell, New York Times bestselling author of The Women Who Raised Me: A Memoir