Cultivating Healthy Relationships, Personal Leadership, and Ending Abuse
- Health & Wellness
- Professional Development
- Youth Development
- Middle & High School
- Parents & Teachers
Fee Range: $1K-5KInvite Ashley
Ashley Bendiksen is an award-winning activist, dating violence prevention educator, and top motivational speaker for students and educators. She combines heartfelt storytelling, education and practical strategies for change.
1 in 3 teens. 1 in 4 women. 1 in 7 men.
Our children, family, friends, and neighbors are all impacted by domestic abuse. As bystanders, so are we. Left unaddressed, this damages self-esteem and creates barriers to success.
Ashley Bendiksen is a National Speaker, Award-Winning Activist, and Prevention Expert specializing in domestic violence and sexual assault prevention, social justice, women’s empowerment, and leadership development. She is sought after as a top speaker for youth and schools, as well as women’s conferences and leadership conferences.
From Homeless to Valedictorian and Award-Winning Activist
Ashley graduated as Class Valedictorian of Salve Regina University – remarkably, seven years after dropping out due to abuse and homelessness. With a B.A. in Administration of Justice, she built an accomplished career in crime and victim services, advocacy, and prevention. Further, her unique public relations background placed her in key communications roles in the justice field, and other business and nonprofit sectors.
Known for her activism, Ashley has held leadership positions within dozens of major nonprofits, in addition to founding her own social change initiatives. She currently serves on two nonprofit boards and is the Founder of the Blue Hearts Project, a global storytelling platform for survivors, and the SouthCoast Women’s Network.
ASHLEY’S EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:
• B.A. in Administration of Justice, Class Valedictorian, Salve Regina University
• Massachusetts Victim Assistance Academy, Certified Advocate
• Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance, Extensive Continuing Education
• Trained DV/Rape Crises Counselor, The Women’s Center New Bedford
Ashley will host a custom and engaging virtual presentation for your school or organization. Here’s a preview 👇
At 14, Ashley was excited about her first dating relationship. Unfortunately, it became abusive, starting a cycle of unhealthy relationships that would negatively impact Ashley during her entire adolescence – personally, socially, emotionally, and academically. Sadly, Ashley’s story is not unique. In the U.S., 1 in 3 teens will experience dating violence, while 1 in 5 high school students know someone being abused. This can be physical, sexual, or more commonly, emotional. These behaviors impact student mental health, safety, social-emotional well-being, and academic achievement.
As a survivor turned subject matter expert, Ashley teaches teens what a healthy relationship looks like, what to watch out for, and what to do when abuse occurs.
- Awareness of dating abuse and top red flags
- Qualities of a healthy relationship
- How to set boundaries and priorities
- Seeking help and how to help a friend
- *Variation: sexual assault awareness, prevention, and consent
From homeless and a college dropout to Valedictorian, award-winning activist, nonprofit founder, and social entrepreneur, Ashley is living proof that “anything is achievable.” Her story motivates students of all backgrounds to aim high and believe in themselves – from struggling at-risk students to motivated student leaders. This presentation helps students stay focused, motivated, and positive – no matter what challenges they face. It also inspires students to discover who they are, define what they want, set big goals, and become leaders – personally, in their communities, and even globally.
- Discovering YOU and YOUR biggest vision
- Reframing challenges to see possibilities
- Daily practices for self-leadership
- Active participation and experiential learning
- Overcoming adversity, succeeding in a non-traditional path
- *Variation: Idea to Impact, Launching a Social Change/Advocacy Project
As bystanders, every student has the power to be a leader, helper, and change-maker in social settings. Bystanders play a key role in preventing harm. Unfortunately, research shows that most bystanders don’t act because they’re just not sure what to do or how to help. This dynamic and interactive presentation helps turn ‘passive bystanders’ into ‘active bystanders’ through education, simple intervention strategies, role-playing, and scenario-based activities.
A proven violence prevention tool, students will learn to spot risks and harm (from assault to bullying and hate speech) and learn easy but effective techniques to intervene.
- Leadership as a bystander
- Increased sense of responsibility to help
- How to spot red flags and safely offer help
- Finding your unique intervention “style”
- Enhanced school culture, attitudes, safety and wellness
It’s critical for youth-serving adults to stay informed on the issues today’s youth face, plus know how to effectively respond or refer help for a student who’s been harmed. This presentation helps adults understand the prevalence and secondary impact of teen dating violence on students, and their role to help a student in need. Attendees will hear Ashley’s story, coupled with valuable education and skills training. Depending on the audience, Ashley can also address how to role model healthy relationship skills across all ages. For direct service providers (those working with abused or at-risk youth), Ashley offers professional development for improved and effective response and support.
- Teen dating violence awareness + common red flags
- Secondary impact on SEL, academic, and student well-being
- Simple intervention and referral techniques
- Increased overall school wellness
- *PD Variation: Trauma-informed and empowerment-based support
“I have never heard a speaker's name mentioned so many times! We wanted our keynote speaker to start off the conference weekend strong and Ashley exceeded all of our expectations! Over the weekend, I heard her name mentioned over and over again.”Nicole K, Massstar Youth Leadership Conference
“No one could believe that a woman so young, beautiful, and full of life had been through such a traumatic experience, and then gone on to find so much success. Our participants were so moved and touched by her story that they have asked her to come back and speak again.”Gail F, Executive Director of YWCA
“Ashley has my highest endorsement! She has the ability to read audiences, create a safe environment for sharing ideas, and possesses the necessary personal skills, empathy and passion to engage any type of audience – even the most seasoned professionals.”Eric B, Founder of Difference Makers
“From delivering the keynote address at our biggest event of the year, to running an effective workshop session for our students - I have seen firsthand why Ashley is a leading speaker for youth. She delivers a powerful message that engages students, is relevant and memorable, and just as important, compels them to take action afterwards.”Jeffrey P, President Junior Achievement of Southeastern Massachusetts
“Ashley was a dynamite speaker and presenter whose passion for helping others is clearly evident. Our members were enlightened and motivated to continue their work across the state to assist and advocate on behalf of victims of domestic violence.”Donna S, General Federation of Women's Clubs