Ashley Rhodes-Courter was born in North Carolina in 1985 and entered the Florida foster care system at the age tender age of three. Over the next nine years, she lived in 14 placements before being adopted at age 12 by Phil and Gay Courter of Crystal River, Florida.
Ashley graduated with honors from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she completed a double major in Communications and Theatre with a double minor in Political Science and Psychology.
At college, Ashley spent time in South Africa working with a children’s literacy project. She then went to China during the summer of 2009 to explore their culture and child welfare system. Nationally, she serves on several child welfare boards such as: Children Without a Voice USA (Atlanta, GA) and Family Focus Adoption Services (New York). In her local community she works with several organizations including the Heart Gallery of Pasco & Pinellas, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and Ashley is also a Guardian ad Litem Volunteer (or CASA).
Ashley was the Youth Advocate of the Year for the North American Council on Adoptable Children and won the Child Welfare League of America “Kids to Kids” National Service Grand Prize. In 2004, she and her family jointly won the Angels in Adoption Award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. Then, in 2008, she individually won the Coalition’s “National Angel” award along with the CBS Corporation.
In 2007 she was one of 20 college students selected for the USA Today All-USA Academic Team. Ashley also was one of the four GOLDEN BR!CK Award winners for outstanding advocacy by Do Something, and was named one of GLAMOUR Magazine’s Top Ten College Women.
In 2008, Simon and Schuster published her memoir, “Three Little Words” which quickly became a New York Times Bestseller. Her book has received many national and local awards, and is currently being used in classrooms all across the country (2010). Ashley 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. This segment won an Emmy in 2009.
Ashley has been featured on Montel Williams, The Today Show, Good Morning America, $.99 Cool Ranch Doritos bags, and many national and local television shows. She is currently maintaining a full calendar of speeches and workshops all across the country. She has a passion to tell her story and share hope with other foster children and encourage adoption and permanency.