PLANT CITY — Ashley Prescott joined the Plant City Family YMCA two years ago because she wanted to get physically fit.
The 33-year-old mother of two said she was made to feel so welcome that she immediately felt the urge to lend a hand wherever she was needed. She soon found herself devoting many hours to the Y — and enjoying every minute of it.
“I just love how they all give of their time. It’s just like a family,” the Plant City native said. “I wanted to help out, too.”
Her tireless efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the local YMCA leadership. She was recently selected as the Plant City Family YMCA’s volunteer of the year.
“She’s the kind of a person who just gives and gives and gives,” Executive Director Rick Gould said. “We are very blessed to have volunteers like Ashley.”
Among other areas, Prescott helps organize the Y’s sports teams, coordinates fundraisers such as a recent 5K race and heads up food and school supply drives, he said. She also worked many hours helping park cars at a Florida Strawberry Festival parking lot, where half the $10 fee went to the YMCA, he said.
Pilar Collao, who volunteers with Prescott and others serving monthly meals for the elderly, said she’s not surprised Prescott was selected for the top honors.
“She’s a very helpful and caring person. She’s always caring and sharing,” she said.
Ruth Coleman, who also helps with the meals for the elderly, said Prescott is the kind of a person who takes the initiative. “You never need to ask. She just does it.”
Prescott said she was drawn the Y because it offers activities for all ages. Her husband, Kevin, plays basketball there, and their 3-year-old son Maddox and 7-year-old daughter Rylan participate in such sports as T-ball.
Prescott said her family has been in the Plant City area for six decades and she likes giving back to the community.
The award caught the 2000 Plant City High graduate by surprise, as she’s never tried to seek attention through her good works. She’s quick to give credit to others.
“It takes a whole lot of people, not just me, to help out. It could have been any one of us. So many people volunteer at the Y and I wasn’t expecting to be singled out. I don’t like the limelight,” she said.
Gould said she was an easy choice for the annual award bestowed by the Y’s leadership.
“There’s no single thing that she does; she just does it all,” he said. “If we need her, she’s always there and always ready to help.”
She received a glass plaque engraved with her name and her photograph is used on a poster promoting the Y’s current fundraising drive.
Prescott has made such an impression that she’s soon to join the Y’s paid staff as a part-time childcare worker. Gould said she earned the job offer with her hard work.
Prescott said she she’ll continue to volunteer, even after she starts drawing a paycheck. There’s a reward in helping that goes beyond money, she said.
“If I can make somebody smile, that’s a good thing to me,” she said.