ROC Press Release
By Scott Jester
They say the eyes are the windows to the soul.
If those bright eyes are matched by an equally engaging smile? Certainly, you’ve met a good soul then in Ashley Lambert.
You need a good soul plus a lot of patience, skill, and dedication for the job which meets her each day.
Lambert, now a staple in ROC’s Making Rainbows Children’s Services component follows the long-term commitment set by her mom, Rebel, who has served as a cornerstone in the nursing wing of ROC for many years.
While the trail may have been originally blazed by Mom, Ashley is busy making her own mark with many local children from birth to five-years-old and their families. She, along with an incredible staff, keeps the overarching goal of prepping the children with the proper tools to compete on a level playing field when it comes to the big step up to kindergarten.
That can be quite a daunting responsibility. Today’s learning begins with early intervention. The earlier the better when it comes to children with disabilities.
While born in Hope, Lambert is quick to note that Emmett was her home growing up. Born in 1991, she is the daughter of Bobby and Rebel Lambert and a graduate of Emmet High School.
Not many may know, but Lambert, playing off her natural farming and agriculture experience after high school, also earned a degree in Agricultural Business from SAU.
Growing up with ROC in her background while following Rebel from early memories she would find herself involved in some way.
“Mom started horse therapy at ROC,” Lambert says recently. “We had a couple of nice horses and on weekends, she would bring clients out for rides on our horses.
“That’s how my brother and I would help since we were raised around horses. She would also take clients to Jackson, Mississippi for the big horse shows.”
So, that’s where some of the seed of early learning about ROC and serving others was planted.
“During the school year, we spent a lot of time with my grandma, but in the summer on the not-so-busy days, she would drag me and my brother with her. It turned out not to be such a “drag” to me because I enjoyed doing it.”
Lambert was also shaped lovingly by her grandmother, or “Meemaw” as she recalls, which is short for Mary Jane Lambert. “She was so sweet and a Godly woman as well. I still meet people who to this day remember her and have nice things to say about her,” Lambert says with a remembering smile.
All the while, the shaping and conditioning kernels were about to start popping and lead Lambert to a career of service at ROC.
“I had graduated college and Dad said, “It’s time to pay your own bills”,” she recalls. “So, I interviewed with Mrs. Dot Bradford in the Workshop at ROC. I was working part time because I was doing summer classes. That was to get some kind of work experience to start building a work history and resume.
While earnestly seeking an job that better fit her diploma, she realized the benefit of working, anywhere at ROC, to make ends meet, especially with a new truck loan payment waiting each month.
“I had pretty much worked in each area but the box room at the Workshop,” Lambert remarked. “I worked half a day at Rainbow Industries on Laurel Street and the other half a day was spent working in the Melon Patch Restaurant.
“They finally filled up the staff at Laurel Street and the restaurant picked up someone full time, so they didn’t need me, and I was sort of wondering now what?”
So Mom, being a good mom, advised the younger Lambert of openings in Making Rainbows’ Day Care.
And it’s there she has stayed and now flourishes.
For anyone who is now a parent can understand, if you don’t have a lot of 24-hour time with a baby or toddler, then spending a five-day work week with not just one, but many children, under your watch for the first time can be a difficult reality.
“At that time, I had very little experience with children,” Lambert recalls.
“I was more experienced with bottle-feeding a newborn calf in our laundry room,” she says with a laugh now.
So, what made her stay?
Lambert was first a “floater” in the childcare facility, meaning she would fill in where needed each day to relieve other staff, quickly learning the ropes from some well-trained veterans who came before her.
“I liked being a floater,” she recounts. “It was hard work, but I wasn’t in one room all day. I bounced around giving breaks and interacting with everybody which I really enjoyed.
“It’s been a long process. I was a floater for about a year but then they needed additional help the front (of the building) as an administrative assistant.
“Another year later the title was changed to Program Manager and last year, I was promoted to Site Services Supervisor for Making Rainbows here in Hope.”
A testament to sticking with something and making it second nature even if it wasn’t to begin with.
“I love it here,” Lambert says. “I come in, do what I do, and get it done,” in what any of her fellow staff and friends will easily translate.
“I know what needs to be done,” she continued. “I know what’s expected of me and to be organized and well-planned out.”
It's a team effort anywhere at ROC, but never more important than in Children’s Services where everyone works to fill gaps to make the environment safe and fun for the little ones.
“It’s so important to work together,” Lambert reflects. “I sort of started at the bottom level and know what it’s like to work in the classroom setting.
“I know it from the staff’s perspective and what they go through. So, when I hear of someone having difficulties with a child, Danielle or I can quickly assist in some way and help the situation improve for everyone.”
A good soul.
They are found in virtually every corner of the ROC facilities. They are caring, compassionate souls who meet the needs of the children or adults they serve in our community and surrounding area.
Indeed, we all need a village of friends and supporters, but many times the greater reward comes with giving a small or even large piece of yourself in some way.
Rainbow of Challenges, Inc. (ROC) is a private, non-profit, community-based provider of a vast array of supports and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Rainbow of Challenges is an equal opportunity provider and employer.